How to connect in community
In 2019, the world is more connected than it has ever been. Our smartphones and apps have us always a few thumb taps away from interacting with people and content from all around the world at all times of day. Yet studies show that people today feel more lonely and isolated than at any time in history.
Loneliness is defined as “the absence of meaningful connection,” according to FaithTech founder James Kelly. “You see, loneliness is different than being alone. For many of us, we need to be alone at times. Resting. Taking time to just listen to see what the Lord has for us to be and do. However, all of humanity feels loneliness at one time or another,” he says.
According to James, the loneliness most people feel is due to a lack of community, with community being the presence of that meaningful connection. “That meaningful connection, as followers of Jesus, is rooted in Jesus Christ first and foremost and secondly in one another,” James says.
During his recent talk on community for Indigitous STEPS, James discussed the importance of Christian community, how to cultivate community, and how FaithTech has been planting Christ-centered communities across the globe.
I can’t find my place in the church
While starting FaithTech in Waterloo, Canada three years ago and meeting a lot of people in the technology sector, James noticed that he kept hearing people say that they didn’t know their place in the church. He talked to a man named Chris who helped create BlackBerry Messenger but for his church, all he did was run the PowerPoint slides. When James asked why he didn’t do anything that put his skills to use, the response was typical. “No one ever asked me to,” Chris said. “When I go to church, no one understands my work,” said Chris, “And when I go to work, one one understands my faith.”
Sensing that the need was great, James started FaithTech, fostering communites of Christians in tech by gathering regularly together, building technology for the Kingdom together, and thinking through the big issues of faith and tech together.
Over the years, James learned the following principles about fostering community:
- Foster community by building together. People feel a sense of community when they are working together to solve a problem.
- The technology industry is preaching a false narrative that their products will bring you fulfillment.
- Technology can be looked at as idolatry or opportunity, depending on how we use it.
- We need to find our identity not in the successes of the tech sector but in Christ.
- Technology can foster and support community but meeting in person is necessary for deep relationships.
- Community doesn’t just happen; it takes intentional work.
- Community is not the end goal. Community will come through serving Christ and serving others.
Watch the video for the full talk and all of James Kelly’s insights. You can find out more about FaithTech at FaithTech.com.