Monday, June 8, 2009

Online religion

I spent a lot of my weekend continuing work on Abiding Ways-my personal online ministry for Bible study and fellowship. Sorta like a small group or church but "always open".

It is a LOT of work which is likely why I took so long to get back to it, after having been invaded well over a year ago. This blog was the beginning. The last few days have been spent setting up a few things, primarily getting Moodle set up. This was especially fun (yes, I'm being facetious) because I had never used it before and like most everything I do, I was learning while doing. So far, it has been a good experience and I hope readers will visit the site and let me know what they think. Everything is, of course, free. I have subscribed to Google's AdSense both here on the blog as well as on the site itself. Does anyone have any experience with it? I don't want to make a million-but perhaps to just defray some of the costs inherent in any personal website that has the space for the ministry. In time, I hope to also have Amazon and CBD links but this is, after all, just the re-birth.

At the time this ministry was first conceived( Feb 2002) there wasn't a lot of online fellowship, resources etc. I was in the throes of post 9/11 depression, having just been laid off, at my Wall Street job. I felt the call to minister, to teach, and to have a place where agorophobic folks like me could meet to study, pray and fellowship from their computers. I also don't drive, and am blessed with a wonderful husband who happens to be an atheist so there is/was a lot of different motivations for me. The Lord had provided the opportunity and the time so I got to work! Quickly I became discouraged as I realized how little I really knew about web dev and what it really took to get a ministry going. Anyway, here it is over 7 years later and I'm getting back to where I belong.

In that time, I realized that there are a lot of web places now, for study and worship and fellowship. The "stall" in my ministry came as I battled with pride and discouragement. After all, what is my measily site? THEN the Lord spoke to me in a big way-sorta like "If you build it, they will come" only my field is a lot bigger than a baseball diamond. Ultimately, in that respect, I've come to understand that even if no one ever comes, well, its ok because I'm being obedient to God and perhaps, according to His will, someone, someday will show up and meet Jesus! In the meantime, it is my job to trust and obey.

OK-so where am I going with all this? To the ministry of

Two years ago, while I was again wandering in the wilderness of 'purpose" I picked up a book called "Chazown" by Pastor Craig Groeschel. This led me to investigate LifeChurch and "try it on for size". I had been looking for a church home for years and never found a peace about it. Initially it was kind of awkward for me as there wasn't the same connection as I had always previously experienced in worship but the teaching message was right on so I continued to drop in. In recent months I have started participating (sporadically) in a LifeGroup that meets on Friday nights online at 9P EDT and serving on the LivePrayer team on Sundays--ALL Online!

To get to the point, my church home is online! Available 7 days a week. While I sit in front of my computer, I can serve God as a member of the prayer team, worship and rock out with LifeChurch via video, fellowship with others right there in the Experience Chatroom, and listen to inspired messages delivered by Pastor Craig and others that really apply to 21st century believers. I also get to rejoice with those who receive Christ as Savior!

The best part is that this is an INTERNATIONAL ministry. During one Experience of ChurchOnline, there were folks from 40 countries!

Also, on a personal level, I can get to church EVERY Sunday( or most any other day of the week), be of service, study and discuss the Word, and also maintain peace in my home. Being a part of LifeChurch and ChurchOnline has provided and I am sure, will continue to provide the way to be an active part of a body of believers and, at the same time do it in such a way that it doesn't take time away from my relationships and responsibilities.

That this is possible and beneficial has re-ignited my own passion to serve Christ through Abiding Ways. Yes, it's a lot of work, and yes, I may be un/under-qualified. Lord knows my insecurities and faults and challenges. That being said, I will continue to trust and obey.

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