Church of God News
Online Church, Technology to Advance the Kingdom
CONTINENTAL NEWS – In Cleveland, Georgia, The Bridge Church of God and Mission Georgia Master’s Commission are exploring innovative ways to do ministry and to equip emerging leaders to engage and fulfill the Great Commission.
Mission Georgia Master’s Commission is a residential discipleship, ministry, and leadership program for young adults ages 18-25 who have a commitment to Christ and a strong desire to impact their world for His cause. These full-time college students and ministry interns are being trained and equipped, through college education and hands-on ministry and leadership experiences, to become the future culture shapers and present community and church leaders. They are enrolled as full-time students in a local, fully accredited Christian college where they receive a substantial scholarship (nearly 70% off the cost of tuition) for their continued community leadership and ministry involvement.
This year Mission Georgia Master’s Commission is working to align with the Church of God Division of Education and Ministerial Development on the international level, as well as at state and local levels. It is working with top leaders to build new models of ministry and leadership development for the Church of God.
“Mission Georgia aspires to become THE place for emerging leaders ages 18-25 to get the greatest amount of exposure to, training for, and experience in innovative ways to do ministry and be the Church,” stated Patrick Ballington, lead pastor of The Bridge Church in Cleveland, Georgia. “This includes on-site visits to innovative and effective churches and ministries of all shapes, sizes, and styles. It involves interviews and instruction from the most effective leaders in church, para-church, and Christian non-profit organizations, as well as interaction with community leaders in all areas of culture (education, business, arts & entertainment, government, and social services), and—most importantly—extensive hands-on training and experience in a variety of technology fields, such as the use of internet social media, video, and graphics for ministry application.”
The Bridge Church is exploring a variety of ways to leverage Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other internet social media for the purpose of evangelism, discipleship, networking of community service and outreach, building of faith communities, and expressions of worship. The church recently added an Online Pastor to its pastoral team and will be launching a full Online Church by Easter 2011, with Mission Georgia Master’s Commission students serving as the staff and group leaders for the online church and community. The staff refers to the effort as “planting a new church,” and the existing church body is excited and has already started inviting guests, who are eagerly waiting for the online church to go live.
Under the direction of the Online Pastor, Mission Georgia students will provide live interaction with online attendees, including instant response to prayer requests through live chat rooms designated as prayer rooms, growth groups (Bible study), and support groups; personal blogs will share the faith journey of staff, students, and attendees. The students will also help organize community service projects throughout the state, around the world, and on mission trips that welcome participants from the online church community and elsewhere across the internet. They are even looking to host live gatherings at The Bridge and in other locations in the U.S. specifically to bring members of the online church and community together for face-to-face encounters and opportunities for worship, discipleship, and ministry. The Bridge has already seen some substantial attendance growth through its use of Facebook. Nearly every month new attendees will report that their first introduction to The Bridge was through Facebook, Twitter, or the weekly podcasts and videocasts.
Mission Georgia Master’s Commission is currently accepting applications for the upcoming 2011-12 program. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information, call 706-219-2957 or go to www.MissionGeorgiaMC.com (where you’ll also find an online application). You can also visit The Bridge Church online at www.TheBridgeOnline.cc.