As many of you know, Jeff Zaugg and his wife Michelle (on our elder-board) have been hanging out at Substance for quite some time. And like everyone who’s been with us since the beginning, he’s heard me endlessly rant about the power of Christian friendships. After all, (here I go again) the single greatest statistical predictor of church health & church growth boils down to how much a church prioritizes small groups. It’s a fact that is repeated in almost all of the major church health studies. Thus, almost every other Sunday we say: “Church is what happens inbetween church services.” But Jeff took this expression to a whole new level!
Of course, Jeff happens to be a brilliant R & D guy over at a local non-profit (Youth-works/Youth Specialties) designing ministries that serve the local church. So along with his talented team, they developed an online web-program that was basically custom designed for churches like Substance.
The moment he mentioned the idea, I was like: “Jeff, you HAVE TO let Substance be your guinea pig!” And church, I cannot hype this enough. I really think this software can change the way we do church. So, here’s the idea.
Every time I walk through the foyer of our church on Sunday morning, I’m overwhelmed with love. There are hundreds of encouraging people who are just waiting to talk, to pray, and to love. The foyer is also a place where we can let people know about all of the brilliant ministries we have. So, no matter who you are, you’re bound to run into something (or someone) who will help you go to new places in Christ. So, in a nutshell, that’s what the Table is! It’s a virtual Substance Church foyer at the center of your online life.
At first we thought: Is this just a “Christian facebook?” (After all, I’m already busy enough trying to keep up with all of my web-accounts). But no. It’s way sweeter. So let me put it this way: Rather than re-invent Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, why not design a program that pulls all of these things into one location… & more specifically, a Substance-oriented location! So, imagine a customized Substance webpage that features your favorite small groups, your social networking, and a host of online goodies into one location. I.e., Whenever you go on the web, you walk through our “virtual church foyer.”
But there’s more: It’s also a church directory. You can meet other church members with common interests. You can surf through customized web-pages for many of our small groups here at Substance (& see pictures of the people who attend). You can even browse a map that locates all of the Substance groups in your part of the city. Also, the staff and I will be posting discussion threads regarding sermons, etc. So it’s a great place to share your voice.
However, my favorite part is this: The Table is like a 24-7 prayer chain. We’ve already had thousands of prayers within the first few days. Recently, I saw a Substance member post a prayer request. Within hours, 36 people started praying for her. (I.e., You can see how many people pray… including, who’s doing the praying!) In fact, when she was healed, she turned her “prayer request” into a “praise request.” How cool is that? And this is just the beginning of this experiment called the Table.
So, Step One: Sign Up! [Click here]
Step Two: Take the 2 minute “site tour”
Step Three: Take 2 minutes to fill out your profile… upload a pic & link to facebook/twitter.
Step Four: Join the groups you’re already a part of & start “friending” your friends!
In the meantime: be praying for this. And get signed up ASAP [click here]. Besides, I LOVE to snoop through our directory and get to know all of you. (A lot of our ministry leaders have been using it to memorize names : ) Besides it’s fun for me to get to know many of your passions.
P.s. it’s free for our church members. So now you have no excuse… [take me to the Table!]