Did you know Facebook has 2 BILLION users?   Zuckerberg is turning his attention to the next frontier – building online communities.   In Zuckerberg’s mind, the days of institutions like “churches and Little Leagues” are over. Using Facebook’s new artificial intelligence software, the social media giant can organize its users into groups that will serve the same purpose.

While Zuckerberg missed some important purposes a church community serves, he was right about one thing: Christians are leaving their traditional, brick-and-mortar churches — in droves.

The problem is the “dones” aren’t coming back, and their numbers are only increasing. (There are about 7 million “almost dones” right behind them.) And, if the church doesn’t figure out how to create community they are seeking, someone or something else, like Facebook, will do it for them.

That’s what the “dones” are looking for. They want church-that’s-not-really-church. They are seeking a place where they don’t have to dress up, where they can ask questions, where people know who they truly are.  They want a place to grapple with the hard stuff, out loud, with others. Face time, not necessarily Facebook. Depth of relationships, depth of study, depth of service. They don’t want to “bowl alone” or stay in “the shallows.” Zuckerberg is right — we are turning to bars, bookstores or Facebook to find it.

Some time ago, the primary focus of many leaders was to take their churches to the “next level.” In their minds, to be truly successful, they needed bigger facilities, more activities and programs and more cars in the parking lot. Everything needed to be slick and produced.

Unfortunately, to reach more people, we took Christian community and turned it into a Christian country club. In this modern age, where authenticity is one of the most valued character traits, our churches just aren’t working anymore. We have lost track of being pro-Jesus.

It’s time for a church wide “yard sale.”  Leaders must take the possessions, procedures and attitudes that no longer work, box them up and throw them out. Throw away the clutter that is holding us back: the unnecessary, the unjoyful, the under-functioning, the no-longer-functioning at all… Toss! Toss! Toss! Get rid of the extras and put our focus back on what matters most — Jesus and relationships.

Mark Zuckerberg recognizes something that so few Christian leaders have. There is an enormous void among believers and a desperate yearning for community. Will we step up and build communities that meet their needs, or will we let Facebook fill that void for us?

·      PTL – Karen Tompkins is praising God for the medical report she received Monday – and we rejoice with her

·      PTL – Courtney Baker’s procedure was successful and she came home yesterday evening – and we rejoice with her

·      July 29 – our One Day VBS — please pray God will use the VBS to create relationships – give many children hope and faith – and God will be glorified in all ways

·      God will use our Blessing Box to His glory – and it will meet the needs of several neighbors who take advantage of it

·      Some of our youth are at camp this week – as camp winds down – pray that their faith deepened – relationships were built – and they return with a desire to be missionary at school this upcoming year

·      As you have read today’s cover story in E-News – please convert that into a prayer that you could offer to God throughout the week – and that several of our people who we haven’t seen for a while will develop a deep personal relationship with Jesus and His Bride

·      As we begin the study of the Book of James – we will pray that our heart/spirit becomes a sponge to absorb all the information God has packed in those 5 chapters – transforming us into Christ’s image – better equipped to serve our community.

 Most of us have wonderful memories of our childhood V.B.S.  I certainly looked forward to the 2 weeks being together with children of all ages —-games – music – crafts – mission talk – I also believe God used it to help build me into the adult I became…..

            The last Saturday of July will be our VBS….Jackie is preparing for a great school – she has all the piece parts in place…..One way you could be a blessing is to PRAY DAILY that God will use this day to His glory and the building of His Kingdom. 

 Big – Big thank you goes out to Bro Ross Duff……Ross preached while our family enjoy vacation.  Ross does the Lord’s Supper thought each Sunday morning……and last Sunday night – he lead our July Prayer Time…..There were 10 present — he had a sheet of paper for us – it was 60 minutes of absolute silence….the information prepared our hearts for prayer – then he had 20+ requests to lift before the Lord….It was precious – Spirit-filled – and Christ-honoring.  Thanks a TON, Ross 

  How can I get more involved in my Church?  Maybe the 1st thought you should have is this — what are my spiritual gifts –and what is my skill set.  Am I an encourager?  Do I enjoy interacting with people of all ages?  Do I enjoy organizing and leading? 

1.      Be Present

Maybe the most important part of being involved in your church is simply being present.  By doing this simple act, you are not only bringing worship, praise, and honor to your Heavenly Father but HEBREWS 10;25 tells us that you are encouraging and building up your brothers and sisters

2.     Be Aware and Available

Be aware by simply watching for and listen to the needs of those around you.  That might mean holding babies in the nursery or helping out with the children’s ministry.  This could mean spotting a young mother with her hands full and offering to carry something.

3.      Be Hospitable

We live in a time where social media keeps people content with socializing from afar rather than actually engaging in personal relationships.  Socialize with members outside the church building.  It might surprise you how much some would enjoy a home cooked meal in your home accompanied by friendly conversation.

4.      Help with VBS

5.      Funeral Meals – arranging to bring food to the family’s home –

6.     Send notes of encouragement

7.      Pray

James 2:1-13  My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[b] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well,4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? 5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name[c] you bear? 8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”[e] So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. 12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.