Everyone was astonished in 2020.  Life was normal until Covid 19.  I was watching the growth of the pandemic on charts published on the web.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that ⅓ of the population of the entire globe was locked down.  Astounding. 

What can we learn? Growth is about our social circles.  Scripture says that Jesus will return when the Good News of the Kingdom is preached to everyone.  

Too many Christians believe that the modern world of internet connection is making that happen.

No.  Nope. Nada.  You may not know this unless you are a business person who does internet advertising.   Both Gxxgle and Fxcebxxk are locking down Christian communication.  Our company used to do Gxxgle advertising for specific Christian products.  Now, Gxxgle will not even take ads that reference many Christian phrases, like ‘Christian TShirt’.  We used to run Fxcebxxk ads to Christian audiences.  Those audience selections are gone.  Folks, big tech is demonstrating increasing opposition to efforts that advance narratives different from their far left ideology. 

Lets LEARN from the pandemic.  To stop the pandemic, it was all about creating barriers between people:  social distance, stay home, don’t interact.  

For a better purpose, let’s be the Kingdom pandemic.  We need to reverse the barriers.  Cut down the social distance, get out of the house, interact in our social circles.  

Johnny and I assessed our social circle in Sanford, FL.   It wasn’t very big since we are newcomers.  Actually, the only circle we have is our physical neighborhood.   So.. we got out and began intersecting with our neighbors.  The first two years, we handed out Christmas cards.  If you read Johnny and my history from 2018-2022, you will know that is about all we could do.  Then, 2023, it was ‘go time’.   

Let’s look at a technical model to help you understand some of the things we realized we needed to do. 

We wanted to reach our natural community, in this case our neighborhood.

We MISTAKENLY thought that the Christian community, the local church we attended would be delighted.  As we can see in the diagram, not everything ‘Christian’ is Kingdom focused.  More about that in a later update. 

As we began to reach out to the connected community, our neighborhood, we realized that the unity part of comUNITY among our neighbors was limited to the commonality of proximity. 

Covid 19 cannot be passed by just knowing one another.  So that was our first focus:  to facilitate connection and interaction. 

Now, since I am gifted and beloved for my exhortation insights.. well, maybe not so much ‘beloved’, LOL, I will take a moment to point out why most ‘outreach’ efforts produce little fruit. Let’s learn from Covid 19.

1. Covid 19 traveled through connections.   

Learning:  Many outreach efforts focus on the natural community but don’t consider connections. Proximity alone, I.e. my town, my city, my neighborhood, is not a very strong connection.   

Take-away:  Personal connection is the best bridge.

2. Covid 19 was not a respecter of persons; in Johnny and my approach everyone was considered.  More on this in the next update. 

Learning:  Too many efforts are so narrowly focused that it makes them ineffective.  Plus, a lot of efforts don’t consider the interests of others.  You know that scripture, don’t focus on your own interests, instead focus on the interests of others.  

Johnny and my first community effort - decades ago, was to an apartment complex.  Dave and Faye Walz were discipling us.  We decided to try to reach our neighborhood for Christ.  Dave and Johnny personally visited about 100 housing units to invite people to a Bible Study.  The designated meeting time came.  NO ONE came.  

Learning: inviting natural community people to come to ‘my religious activity’ is not likely to be fruitful.

We have got to consider the interests of others.  Hmmm, now that we think about it, considering the interest of others is loving them.   Now, there is a novel thought! Connect to and love our neighbor.   Somehow that sounds familiar and you may have heard about this idea somewhere.

Oh, yes!  Jesus said it.  “Love your neighbor.”   

Whereas Covid 19 was out to kill each neighbor…

Understanding our connected communities…

Strengthening our connections…

Touching others through our connections…

Considering their interests and needs…

Loving our neighbor…

It is the KEY.  

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