By Lead Pastor Michael Powell of Southpoint Fellowship in Downtown Locust Grove
Growing up, I didn’t have the internet on my phone. In fact, I didn’t have a phone in my pocket at all. Our family had a phone hanging on the wall in our living room that had amazing new technology called “touch tone”, which replaced the rotary. You can tell I’m dating myself, but I was born in 1984, not the 50’s! It’s been a relatively short time since all the information in the world can be accessed in seconds, no matter where you are in the world. We are more connected now than we ever have been in human history. When I was in elementary school, we wrote to pen pals in other states, and they sent us letters about their lives. Today, everything from major world events to makeup tutorials are streamed live and accessible with a few clicks. We’re connected to literally billions of people on every continent via social media, yet new platforms are popping up every day to fill a void left by the last. According to a recent study published in Fortune magazine, over half of Americans feel lonely most of the time, with the younger generations claiming the largest percentages. For all of our connectedness, we still need more community.
My brother recently asked me, “if you don’t post it, did it really happen?” Maybe your existence can only be verified by your followers. Or maybe you’re a little more like me (you know, older and wiser), constantly perusing pictures and videos while judging their authenticity. Whether you live for likes or prefer to watch from a distance, one thing is certain- for all of our connectedness, neither is real community.
Our culture thrives on differences- age, income, skin color, voting patterns, and even sports teams. Just observe your feed or any trending topic. But the one need that we all have in common must be anchored and answered by our similarities, not our differences. Our neighborhoods, schools, churches, and families operate best when people from every walk of life are committed to each other in a real, tangible way- with time and conversation.
I’m not opposed to social media (in fact, I’d love to be friends!), but I would encourage you to move beyond simply being connected and learn to better engage your community- that’s how our society will thrive for the good of everyone.
Ways to engage:
Walk across the street and plan a neighborhood cookout with some folks you live beside.
Check out the Locust Grove city events schedule or like them on Facebook.
Come to Southpoint on a Sunday (right behind French Market)- we start at 10:30 AM and would love to meet you and your family!
Find more info at southpoint.org.