The Spirit often does his faith-shaping work through other believers. Luther called the mutual conversation and encouragement of others a basic means of grace. Key, of course, is the spoken Word. The Spirit’s workplace is believers gathered around God’s Word and sharing their experiences and insights.

For the Apostle Paul, the key to a distinctive and attractive church life was the special fellowship God created through the work of the Holy Spirit. The historic redemptive work of the Son of God was central to his message. But the Spirit’s current work of shaping the fellowship of church life was basic to his ministry. There is clear precedent in Paul’s writings to describe this third Person of the Trinity as Christ’s Spirit.

Paul understood Christ’s Spirit as God’s presence that empowered fellowship sharing. He believed this was supernatural power, and I, too, have come to believe so. Christ’s Spirit influences and changes the human spirit. The Spirit shapes a believer’s inward motivation and yields highly desirable fruit, like love, joy, peace, trust and hope. The Spirit also gives motivation and energy to do the various ministries of a healthy congregation. This is special supernatural energy not available to other kinds of social groupings.

The online discussion moderator is the link who keeps conversations productive. Comments are forwarded to the moderator, who posts those that meet the criteria for church conversation and encouragement. He/she notifies the online community when comments have been posted.

The role of moderator can be shared among two or three leaders who coordinate their efforts. Ideally the pastor would a key member of this coordinating group.

This site is not meant to be a church itself. It is a virtual dimension added to the existing church life of a specific congregation. This virtual encouragement is an add-on to the ongoing interpersonal encouragement among members of that congregation. To become a participating congregation, contact dsluecke@aol.com.