You are reading this because you value small group community and relational ministry…me too.
A big part of small group ministry is trying to figure out the best way to train and to model relational ministry to emerging group leaders who will then do the same for others in their future small groups. (Sounds a lot like 2 Tim. 2:2!) That makes the connection between you (as a church leader) and your small group leaders critical. It is worth thinking about and using methods, technologies and tools to get that job done well.
As soon as I say the word technology, some will say that relational ministry cannot be effectively done in the high-tech, low-touch cyber world of email and the Internet! Some have argued that online interaction is a cheap substitute for "real" community. It is virtual at best, some would say. When it comes to helping small group leaders in your own church, while I would be the first person to tell you relational ministry still revolves around face-to-face, soul-to-soul interaction, the reality is that online community and training methods hold a great deal of power as well.
An eLearning Story
A ministry friend of mine named Spencer Burke tells the story of a member of the community at theooze.com—an online community with participants from all over the world who share with one another about faith issues. One particular member of this online community was a staff member at a fairly large church. During one of his church staff meetings, which was his primary small group, he shared that his wife had just suffered a miscarriage. As expected, there was concern and prayers offered during that staff group time. He also posted his loss on theooze.com's discussion board online.
While the staff small group ...