Happy Birthday, 2×2
Groundhog’s Day may not be a liturgical holiday for most churches, but it holds special significance for 2×2 Virtual Church.
That’s the day, the remnant of Redeemer Lutheran Church, locked out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, started its online ministry.
We are still finding our way in the fast-paced world of modern ministry. We’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
4 Years of Achievement
2×2 is entirely volunteer. Here’s where the last four years have led us!
ONLINE MINISTRY: Our posts include detailed primers on how congregations can approach an effective online ministry.
The biggest thing we learned is that as much as we strategize and plan, the web points us in directions we would never have considered without a broader platform.
INTERACTIVE TEACHING SERMONS: We’ve presented more than 100 ideas for interactive sermons—teaching sermons—team-building sermons—sermons that draw people together in ministry. These grew from our congregation’s teaching tradition. They are not word for word sermons but outlines of ideas for making theological points of the liturgical calendar memorable and creating an expressive, involved worship experience for all ages.
SLIDE PRESENTATIONS: We’ve published a couple of dozen slide presentations that can be used in the worship setting as bulletin images or blog posts or projected during worship.
WORLD REACH: We’ve reached out and parts of the world have reached back. We’ve made ministry friends in Kenya, Pakistan, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and all over the United States. We now have as many readers in California, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia as we have in our home state of Pennsylvania. These are ministry friendships are not based on monetary support or any kind of oversight. They are ministries of correspondence, prayerful support, and sharing.
Readers of 2×2 have twice organized clothing drives and shipped seven huge boxes of clothing to a Christian mission church in Pakistan. This began with the news of the bombing of a Christian Church in Pakistan to which there was very little response. We had already been corresponding with Pakistani Christians, so we did what we could. We wrote about it—and our readers took it from there!
COMMENTARY: 2×2 comments on church and faith issues from the lay perspective—a viewpoint that is largely missing in both traditional publishing and on the web. Is it any wonder that an organization that relies on volunteer support but which continues to make decisions with almost no input from its constituency is struggling today?
VISITING: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA confiscated our property in 2009. They declared us closed but we kept our ministry going. Our mantra: We are not closed; we are locked out. We worshiped locally and visited other churches—80 congregations in two years!
We saw many common problems from a perspective rarely discussed in church circles—that of the members.
Church leaders often think that ministry problems are solved when a pastor is in place. Often pastors of small churches (and most churches are small) are already retired and assigned part time and short term. This is weight for the laity to carry. The vision and energy of one minister satisfies the denomination, but it actually stifles ministry. Members can go only so far without upsetting the fish cart. This resulted in our first book: Undercover Bishop. It is a look at small church ministry from the lay point of view.
Again, 2×2 is entirely volunteer.
2×2 will continue our online ministry with what we have.
We will develop more resources and find better ways of presenting them.
We encourage all small churches to start an active and giving online presence. We found that an online ministry, one based on sharing the Word of God, provides a compass. Guaranteed—it won’t take you where you think it will! But it is likely to be refreshing and exciting.
If we can help, contact us!