They were spending so much energy on keeping the warmth inside and the weather outside, I guess—to use a Biblical expression—I got a little concerned about all the time and expense that went into continuous building maintenance, and I wondered what it would look like for those resources to be redirected into relationships with lost people in Smyrna Creek and around the world.”
After three years of intensive vision casting, corporate prayer, and basic instruction on the use of computers and the Internet, Pastor Don and the Smyrna Creek church board handed over the building keys to a speechless district superintendent and reinvented their ministry as ‘The Church at Smyrna’ (TCaS) on Facebook and Twitter. Pastor Jackson recalls an almost immediate change, “It was like the scales fell from our eyes, like our chains fell off. Instead of the board talking about getting the furnace fixed or the leak in the roof of the fellowship hall, we were batting around ideas of how to broadcast the love of Jesus in 140 characters at a time on Twitter or how to increase our Facebook friends (responsibility list) from 1,500 to 5,000.”
Like any new ministry, TCaS has attracted both fans and critics. Kyle Devlin, occasional employee at the the local ‘Tastee Freeze’ commented on his blog that he ‘is totally stoked’ to finally find a church that he can connect with during his most productive time frame of Tuesdays between 10:51 and 11:09 in the morning. A deacon from a nearby church, who asked to remain anonymous ‘for security reasons,’ sent a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, The Smyrna Creek Times, noting that this (TCaS) is surely just one more step toward watering down the truth and bowing down to the false prophets of technology.
Only time will tell whether a church can truly function without a physical location. For now, it seems as though social media through the web are a natural fit for a church pursuing relational community. For its part, The Church at Smyrna seems well-suited to be a church without walls.
Always put church first,
Dr. Wiley F. Church, B.D., M.Div., M.F.A., D.R.E., S.T.D., Th.D., Ph.D., D.C., D.V.M., D.M.V., D.D.