How many of you are reading this blog on a mobile device? Did this post come through your inbox on your iPhone? Your tablet? Even a laptop? Some of you might be reading this on a desktop computer (shout out to 1998!) but most of us today rely heavily on our always-carry-with-us communication devices.
As much as we rely on our devices, their value goes up or down depending on their ability to connect. Your smartphone has some value without a connection, but not nearly as much as when it is easily communicating with a reliable wifi network. Isn’t it interesting how we can get so frustrated with poor wifi service when just 15 years ago, many of us—perhaps most—did not even have a wireless network in our home or office. Today, however, we are accustomed to our connections.
The connection is key and the ease of connection makes a big difference. Do you ever experience that frustrating in-between time when your phone is connected to one network, but you wish it would connect to another? There are times when a group of us will leave the office to grab lunch or attend a meeting offsite and my iPhone will be connected to the church wifi network. As we drive further from the campus, the strength of the signal diminishes to the point of being useless. As I’m riding along in the passenger seat, I’m normally in the middle of something really important, like watching last night’s Jimmy Fallon highlights or browsing the clearance items at j.crew.com. The browser, however, just spins and spins. The iPhone has not yet disconnected from the wifi network in my office and connected to my carrier’s LTE network so I get frustrated. Eventually I get tired of trying and just say, “forget it,” putting the phone back in my pocket. Jimmy Fallon and J.Crew both lose.
The ease and speed of connection is very important in our connected culture today. For those of us in the people business called church, we must consider our priority of and process for making connection. There are people who come through our doors for the first time every week. The quicker and easier we connect them to new community, relationships, or opportunities to serve, the more likely they will experience the life change they are looking for.
There was a time when we in the church could take connection for granted. People would connect themselves. It seems to me that those days are gone. More and more I see that the duty of connecting is now on those of us who are already connected.
Call it whatever you want—connection, guest services, hospitality. The bottom line is evangelism. Do we believe in what we’re selling? Do we believe in the message of God’s love and a need to turn from whatever is keeping us from experiencing the life He desires for us? Do we passionately want people to disconnect from whatever may be hindering their relationship with God and to connect to a community that will come alongside them on their way to the abundant life?
I don’t want people to get frustrated and say, “just forget it.” People will walk away, but I don’t want it to be because the priority and process of connection are inadequate.
For those of you who are a part of a faith community, how did you become connected?
How can the church do a better job of connecting?