The atmosphere and environment that happens during the playoffs of any sport is amazing. The fans of the home team is loud and they cheer passionately. The environment you are in matters. An environment full of energy, encouragement and excitement is so much better than that of disappointment and despair, Whether it is an in-person or online environment and community, creating a positive, uplifting, Christ-centered community is important and matters.
This is particularly important in today's world. Today's online world can often seem full of negativity and discouragement. As an online ministry community leader, you have the power to cultivate an encouraging environment that inspires people and promotes positivity that can be a welcome refuge. Here are some ways you can create a positive, encouraging online community for your Church or ministry.
Set the Tone
First and foremost, you lead by example. Your posts and comments should be positive and encouraging. Avoid sarcasm or criticism. Celebrate victories and compliment what others share. Show generosity by assuming the best in people. 1 Peter 5:2-3 - "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."
Your online group can attract a wide variety of people. It can be very diverse. That is why it is important to encourage members to support one another. Make sure your moderators are equipped to diffuse tense exchanges. Include in your rules and remind your community to be respectful of others and that there’s a real person behind each post. Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
There are a variety of ways you can affirm and support others in your Group. For instance, you can spotlight members, send new community members welcome messages affirming and encouraging them, share uplifting stories of others, and recognize others for their accomplishments and encourage them. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 -"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
Because you group will likely have many people in it from different backgrounds, it can be easy for people to be disrespectful to each other. That is why it is important for you to ban profanity, create an atmosphere of civil discourse, delete comments that attack members’ character. Mediate disputes through respectful discussion. Never shame or talk down to members. Be thoughtful with humor since tones get lost online. Limit venting and cynical takes that spread negativity. Titus 2:2-3 - "Show proper respect to young and old alike. Share your life with those who need help. Do not slander others."
Share Godly Inspiration
As an online ministry community, it is important to feature motivational stories, quotes, Bible verses and tips that lift people up and encourage them to follow Christ. The more you can spread a Godly message that encourages hope, it will empower and inspire people. Ephesians 3:16-19 - "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Creating a group that encourages and creates real, positive community takes constant effort. It means promoting a Christ-like atmosphere. By doing this, it pays off in the end. People feel encouraged, uplifted, inspired and part of a tight-knit community. Love and treat others as Christ would treat them and your group can be a shinning example to others.
What do you think? What other ways you can create and foster an uplifting online community in your Church? Share your ideas below or on social media.
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