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Josh has an incredible heart for God and is passionate about helping create environments that lead people to experience God.  He has tremendous gifts that enable him to help churches advance the Kingdom of God.

Posts Tagged ‘community’

4 Things The Gospel Teaches Us About Social Media

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Church, Community

Since 2013 I’ve seen a growth of just over 2000% on Twitter alone. On other social media channels I’ve experienced similar results as well. Having seen these results, I could probably easily jump in the murky waters of digital marketers, attempting to sell you on a 5 step process to achieve the same results.

But as much as this post is about social media, it’s really more about the gospel than social media.

Photo Credit: Kalexanderson via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Kalexanderson via Compfight cc

(By the way, I have no clue what this photo has to do with social media. All I know is it’s awesome and my boys are currently obsessed with Lego Star Wars, so there you go.)

The other day my friend Stephen and I had this little exchange on Twitter:

This little idea got me thinking about Twitter and the people I follow. You see, I maintain a private list of just over 130 people that I follow. I don’t publish this list, but I allow these people to influence me in some way shape or form. While many of them I often do agree with, there is easily about 1/3 of them I don’t.

Tim Keller speaks to this when he says:

“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.”

Several times over the course of this past year I’ve intentionally withdrawn from social media seeking a better perspective. Because it’s my first calling to experience the gospel for myself, before attempting to lead others in doing the same, I’ve used that distance to develop a healthier gospel perspective about social media.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Everyone says they are an expert. I’m sure you’ve heard others mention this, but I tend to see this more as everyone wants to be a somebody, wants to be perceived as important, special, significant in some way. It’s what drives the “look at me” frenzy, endless self promoting, platform building culture we have now settled into. The gospel cures this (Matt. 16:25, Matt 20:16). John Piper beautifully communicates a better perspective when he says:

“We weren’t meant to be somebody–we were meant to know Somebody”

2. It’s not about connection as much as people say. Simply put, if this were true, then we’d be the most connected people group of all people groups in the history of people groups. And while we certainly are more connected than ever, rather have more access than ever, paradoxically it’s true we are also a more disconnected culture.

Jon Acuff presents the healthiest perspective here. Social Media is really more about collecting ideas, sharing those ideas, and spreading those ideas. The very best interactions I have on Twitter or Facebook or any other platform have always left me encouraged, and inspired. Not to mention, I’d still rather have an exchange over a warm beverage than an exchange of 140 characters.

3. Social Media creates an unhealthy attachment to identity. Just about everyone I’ve spoken to over the past several years have admitted to struggling with this issue. Because in many ways, social media provides instant gratification, propping up and inflating a false sense of self, it’s easy to allow your identity to be informed by things like number of followers and retweets.

“Our need for worth is so powerful that whatever we base our identity and value on we essentially ‘deify.’ We will look to it with all the passion and intensity of worship and devotion, even if we think ourselves as highly irreligious. ” ― Tim Keller

I’ve learned two things by gaining some distance:

    • I’m just fine without social media. The world keeps on spinning without any complications.
    • I’m confident what I won’t hear when I die are the words, “You didn’t have enough Twitter followers.”

4. The impact of Social Media can never be truly quantified. There are those out there with far more experience than I when speaking to this but as a father, my thoughts turn my family and my kids. Just the other day I had a conversation with Molly, my soon to be 9 yr old, about why she cannot have a Facebook account. I couldn’t believe she brought that up! Teaching them a new decorum for how to communicate and be responsible online is a challenge I never expected.

A line has been crossed for sure, we’ve reached a point of no return. Because of digital accountability, careers are now threatened. I have a feeling that for generations to come, we’ll be dealing with the ramifications of our actions online today.

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” — John Piper

Experiencing the gospel creates a new filter by which you view the world. Suddenly things that used to matter, appropriately no longer have Kingdom value. And because of this re-prioritization, I’ve found that new freedom, new joy, new mercies, new grace, and new life can be discovered.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I love interacting and encouraging folks that I meet online. But the pseudo relationships built there will never, nor can they ever, replace your core need for true authentic community.

What does the gospel teach you about social media? What would you add to this list above?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted on: January 22, 2014

Giving Thanks Starts With A Choice

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community

One of the biggest reasons why I’m such a strong advocate for gospel-centered biblical community is because of the reminders they provide that we are not alone. Many times in the midst of the dark night of the soul, its relationship and community that give us hope, helping us find the perspective to be grateful even in the storm.

Giving Thanks Starts With A Choice

Photo Credit: Mlwells13 via Compfight cc

Tomorrow, most of us will sit down with our friends, neighbors, family members, and even possibly a stranger or two and we’ll gather around a table for a meal. For some it will be a joyous occasion filled with laughter and light-hearted celebration. For others, it’ll be much harder.

But no matter where you fall in that continuum, giving thanks will always start with a choice.

I use a gratitude list to help me make that choice, especially when I find that it’s not as easy as I’d like it to be.

Here’s a list of some things I’m grateful for today.

  1. I’m grateful for the stewardship I’ve been entrusted with to be a father to 3 amazing little joy factories.
  2. I’m grateful for grace. Without it, I would not be alive.
  3. I’m grateful for laughter but also grateful for stillness and solitude.
  4. I’m grateful for 10 years of marriage and the man I’m becoming because of it.
  5. I’m grateful for redemption and that all things are BEING made new.
  6. I’m grateful for the gospel that tells me I’m could never be loved any more nor any less.
  7. I’m grateful for things like my daughter Molly’s smile when she comes home proud of a good grade.
  8. I’m grateful for my son Riley’s kind, tender heart, which constantly shows me The Father’s heart.
  9. I’m grateful for Jonas’ curly hair and hilarious laugh. What joy he brings to our family!
  10. I’m grateful for being able to sit and read by a fire.
  11. I’m grateful to be home with my family. There have been years where I’ve been on the road far more than I’ve been home.
  12. I’m grateful for God’s generous and abundant provision.
  13. I’m grateful for friends and community that constantly remind me of the gospel.
  14. I’m grateful for this season of thanksgiving that naturally turns my heart towards the things that matter most, like friends and family.
  15. I’m grateful that things like fame, power, prestige, and notoriety aren’t the currency of The Kingdom of God.

It’s amazing to see what happens in our hearts when we allow them to give thanks. The power of gratitude is an awesome thing.

Want to know how to dig yourself out of a dark hole, where nothing seems to going right, and there is little hope in sight?

Write a gratitude list.

Want to change how others experience you in relationship?

Begin to write gratitude lists.

Want to impact the outlook you have on life and others?

Sit down and write a gratitude list. 

It’s easier than you think and will carry more weight than you realize.

Question for you: What things are you grateful for today? How will you give thanks this holiday?

Share in the comments below!

Posted on: November 27, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Going Through The Motions

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community, Worship Wednesday

As a kid growing up in a mega church, I participated in everything. Every time the church doors were open, I was there. Youth choir was a favorite of mine, and believe it or not, a pretty exciting event, jazz hands and all!

We would put on drama’s and musical’s and go on small little tours across the south, performing at various churches, theaters, and parks.

And lets face it, you can’t have a good musical without good choreography. (permission to laugh at me)

Jazz Hands

Image courtesy of LitzaBixler.com

One of the things I remember most about those days was being taught in rehearsals that we couldn’t just go through the motions. We had to feel it!

I learned then and have continued to see throughout my career, that in any performance art, communication doesn’t just happen via the words spoken or sung.

In other words, when we just go through the motions, our audiences know it. They feel it and it radically alters their experience. (you can tweet that if you like)

Worship, however is not a performance

Now before I am misunderstood or taken out of context, let me be clear.

Our worship, either corporate or individual, are not performances.

God does not sit up in Heaven grading you and I, rewarding us on some kind of scale, based on the excellence of our performance.

Can you imagine? What an awful picture of love that would be!

Recently I received a message from someone I didn’t know, and was told they have stopped praying and worshipping because they believe God hates them. They felt like everything just keeps going from bad to worse.

This broke my heart, but made me think about my own life.

I too have felt that way.

I too know that place and know the despair that’s enveloped in those words.

What I learned is that sometimes going through the motions is enough.

It’s certainly no way to live, and almost impossible to sustain, but if that’s all I have to give, then it’s enough.

And that’s all worship is; our authentic response, whatever that response may be.

That response may not look like someone else’s or sound like someone else’s, but if it authentic then that’s all that matters.

Perhaps you’re in a similar place and experiencing life as just going through the motions.

That’s ok, I believe you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

Often times, we have to get to this place before we can move on to the next place.

I will say this though, should you need help, get it.

That’s what community is meant for, and there is not a person is reading this, that doesn’t need it.

Where is your heart today?

Are you just going through the motions?

Do you feel isolated and alone?

The good news is, you’re not alone!

I’d love to hear your answers and know where you are!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!



Posted on: July 10, 2013

The Top 6 Reasons Why There Should Be One Other Person Who Knows Everything About You

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Community

As a communicator, I have spent my entire life believing and living the importance of community. Even before I had the proper language or knew how to appropriately name what this groaning was in my inner-most being, I knew that life somehow was better when spent in the crucible of community.


Photo Credit: Ferran. via Compfight cc

What the story of my life, thus far, has given me, as it pertains to community, are some pretty clear distinctions as to why it is so important. So I’ve put together the top 6 reasons why there should be at least one other person who knows everything about you.

1. We were created to be in relationship. This should be obvious but what’s surprising is the simple fact that our actions will always speak louder than our words. And our actions tell one another that we would often times rather be left alone, leaving each other alone, in order to not be bothered, or bother, as well as not be disturbed in our own way of thinking. It’s clear though, through the creation story that even God noticed and declared it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).What the story of my life, thus far, has given me, as it pertains to community, are some pretty clear distinctions as to why it is so important. So I’ve put together the top 6 reasons why there should be at least one other person who knows everything about you.

2. Community provides us with the evidence that we are not alone. I don’t think I can quite describe the first “Aha” moment I had, when I realized I wasn’t the only one who struggled with one thing or another. Having the rush of peace sweep over me, forever convincing me that I’m no longer alone, is something everyone deserves to experience. C.S. Lewis describes this well in his work, The Four Loves.

“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
… It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.”

3. Being known helps us stay grounded and avoid entitlements. This proves true over and over again. Even last night having a conversation with a friend, I was describing a situation and how I was feeling and he quickly replied that how I was reacting sounded like an old tape I was telling myself. When we expose ourselves and invite others to speak into our lives, we provide the right conditions for growth.

4. Corrects our vision, reframing our perspective to know we are not at the center of the universe. Perspective is such a powerful tool. Have you ever heard the phrase change the story, change your world? What and how we think absolutely shapes how we react to the world around us. And when we open ourselves up to community and invite relationship, we actually create the mechanisms that can help us change the stories we tell ourselves.

5. Because it heals and gives us peace. If you have ever participated in any kind of counseling or therapy you know this to be true. There is a direct correlation between vulnerability and the amount of healing and peace we experience. The beauty of what happens when we unburden ourselves with our secrets is we allow room for the peace and healing to take their place.

6. Life is most abundant and fulfilling when enjoyed through the context of community. Consider for a moment the opposite, if we held on tight to our secret selves, not trusting another human being, not loving another human being, what a sad place that would create. Once again we gain some tremendous wisdom from C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves.

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Here’s a question for you today.

Is there at least one other person who knows everything about you, every secret, every dream, every passion? If not perhaps it’s time there was.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted on: April 22, 2013

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