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READ: MeetnGreet Chat Sun 12 Apr via BBM & WhatsApp – Practical ways of building love in an #online #Christian community

Introduction: Practical ways of showing love, the Galatians 6:2 love / the Acts 2:42-47 kinda love, in an online community. The topic had me looking into what is fellowship because that is the emphasis here. And how can this be done authentically and sincerely in a virtual community.

Gal 6:2 – says we must bear each other’s burdens. In Acts 2 they had a community that:
Had shared spiritual experiences. They had a history of seeing signs and wonders together
They shared possessions. Not just within their own church but as a community ie donations to Jerusalem church coming from believers all over
They worshiped together – communed, prayed, ate together.
All of that builds trust and awareness of each one in the body of Christ.

How can we transfer these same principles online?

Both groups discussed practical ways to build this virtually, and also the challenges.

@Buqolar: I think the first and most important thing here is Unity of purpose.
Also for a virtual community, I think it takes a conscious effort. And members going a step further in their dealings with others

@seunafuwape: I think we need to identify people of like minds in the online community and develop a deeper relationship with them. We all have issues, strength and weaknesses. When we identify people of like minds we must get better in our relationships with them. Move beyond the superficiality of the virtual community and get to know them better. What they do? Their families? Challenges?
Even in the community of faith, God has not sent one man to everybody. Identify your company and serve them rightly.

@Ayanfeoluwa: To me creating online community relationship(love) is more demanding and requires our total commitment. Because you are not seeing face to face the people you are relating to unlike a face to face meeting. Meaning that we must try to use all the forms of online forms of communication (calling, sms, whatsap, bbm etc). I realise that people respond when you truly show that you sincerely care about them.

@Whyte_kel: Agree with Ayanfe. The sms, calls creates the feeling of care. The sincerity of purpose can be felt in the voice.

@ikeamadi: Many times we see such burden bearing as ‘giving’ and not so much as sincerely identifying with someone’s needs. As an online community I think it is important to build trust first. Let people see that someone is genuinely interested.
We ought to have one or two persons whose welfare we take personally.
And when it demands our finances, we bless God and share. But emotional welfare first. So for me, a practical step would be building trust.

@suruaboaba: It is better to see face to face in most circumstances
Cos some people prefer opening to up to someone they can’t see because they feel “safer”, I mean, they can share lots of things without being “looked” at.
They feel safe to let out “secrets” because they know they may (never) get to see this person and get all their needs satisfied. If it’s someone they ‘see’ they won’t be free cod hey feel the person might judge them or start looking at them in a funny way afterwards

Orode: So another way of looking at it then is also for us to not feel judged. Fellowship cannot abide if we are afraid of being vulnerable

Ike Amadi: Okay for me. I first become vulnerable. I tell you about me. I make you comfortable. You know me. If you like, you may let me know you. Observe the ‘may’. We should never put pressure on people especially if of the opposite sex. It could be misinterpreted.
But gently checking up on the person. Within the limits of reason. Not too sweet, not too sour. So that’s one. I think with time, once God blesses your efforts, you’ve gotten someone to trust you.

@yinkaakinwale: I’ve personally always believed in growing into relationships…
For trust yes, but as well for a consolidation of identities… I think that relationship is much more than confiding in one another. Especially relationship in the context of church community. I think that relationships empower, enrich, and inspire, in addition to its traditional benefits.
So, @nnamdijuugo, I actually just mean that what has worked for me is actually just being alongside folks, and not necessarily going out of my way to reach out, until it happens naturally. The love in our hearts comes right through, and in no time, the right/compatible relationships begin to bud.
I think there should be a place for reaching out though. But again, I think once the heart is right, … the intent lubricates the process.

@NnamdiJuugo highlighted Gal 6:6 as a guide to building love in an online Christian community. We found The Message translation perfectly expressed our intent…

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.” Gal. 6:6 Msg

Orode: It’s the giving back principle. We are to be a community so being accountable in some shape or form for another is a must

Even if someone is on SM, there are things/issues they might not let on unless they are sure you care.
Virtual community demands commitment and patience. Never be quick to judge anyone.
Be careful on how we compose some of our words online, some people can be put off with some of our opinions and they withdraw. We might not mean it that way but with online/instant chats, sometimes there’s no time to explain to them and we might not even no how they feel about us.

1) Let us use kind words always (courteous): ” I am so sorry, Thanks so much, forgive me, Please” also helps.
2) Chatting is not enough, calling (hearing people’s voice) also helps. Sometimes it brings joy to the hearer. “I just want to hear your voice” goes a long way.
3) Put a smile on people’s face also helps. just make that person smile. “A smile” heals.
4) Think about your self last, think about the other person first “selfless”. They will surely come around to think about you first.
5) Having a listening ear, be able to close ones mouth when you are entrusted with personal information.
6) Earning other’s trust helps a great deal. Be a true sincere friend.
7) Just be there… (show it however one can manage – an occasional greeting, interaction, act of kindness)
8) Promote each other (speak well of, and support each other’s interests)
9) Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Be sensitive in spirit.
10) Be instant in prayer for each other…

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Please add any further practical tips and leave a comment.

God bless you!

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