For the Christian, the internet provides a myriad of benefits: free ebooks, access to all kinds of Bible study resources, a huge conduit for proclaiming the gospel, advertising for local churches, and the ability to communicate regularly with other Christians. In view of this last benefit, I think it is true that the internet has both helped and hindered our relationships within our gospel communities. Certainly, the internet has increased the quantity of our communication with the other believers in our churches, but it can be argued that it has served to shallow the quality of that communication. In other cases, the internet has, perhaps, served to prevent relationships within the church that may, otherwise, be established.
One way in which I think this is true comes to us via the vast number of instructional videos and trouble-shooting information available on the internet. Like me, you’ve probably discovered that there is a youtube video out there for how to fix or replace just about anything. From re-tiling your bathroom to fixing your garbage disposal, because of the internet we can tackle a lot more home improvement projects all by ourselves.
Without these internet helps, what are the young husbands and fathers like myself left to do? Many of us can’t afford to hire someone to come out and fix whatever it is that’s broken, but we can ask for help inside the body of Christ. Most likely, in your church there are some older men who learned how to use tools before everyone started paying to have someone else fix things for them. No doubt, many of them would appreciate the opportunity to use these skills to help a young buck like yourself. Such a invitation would turn a Saturday afternoon into an occasion for home improvement and relationship building with another man of God from across generational boundaries.
Young men, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take advantage of the convenience of the internet’s resources here, but I am saying that picking up the phone and the church directory before you boot up your computer will create or establish a relationship with a man who, otherwise, you might not know aside from Sunday morning small-talk. And not only will you get the blessing of having your house back in working order, but he will get the blessing of using his abilities to serve Christ’s bride. Some of the most spiritually-enriching conversations I’ve had took place while I was doing manual labor with another brother. On many of these occasions, you’ll probably walk away having learned much more than the best way to unclog your sink or replace a fence post.