personal boundariesToday marks the 1-year anniversary of this blog. Thank you, dear readers, for joining me on the journey this past year, and I look forward to the holy journey yet to come.

For today’s post I would like to focus on another new reality of communications from Pastor Matt Peeples that we need to be aware of in the church:

Personalized Boundaries

Even though we have more ways to interact with each other than ever before, we also all have an abundance of options to control at what level we wish to interact with one another. We can set up controls to limit the amount of information shared on any given platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and we can choose to block people or hide posts.

In general, we have much more control over the timing of our communication as well. We can delay our response or choose not to respond. That is seen as our right and an acceptable personal preference. We don’t want to be pressured or bothered to get back to people immediately.

All of this comes into play in the church in the ways in which we interact with our members and the ways in which we reach out to prospective members or anyone who communicates with us on our various sites and platforms.

An awareness of people’s personalized communication boundaries is key to understanding how to approach members to serve in various capacities in the church. The old ways of phone trees and mass emails to elicit responses are almost gone. Instead, it is reaching out in simple noninvasive ways to individuals in the ways that they prefer that will bring a more positive reaction toward your call to action and your congregation in general.

Jesus knew about personal boundaries as well, and was sensitive to them when he encountered them. Think about Zacchaeus. Jesus spoke to him while he was still sitting in a tree. Think about Nicodemus. Jesus made himself available to speak to him at night. And he spoke to the woman at the well at what were essentially the “off hours” of gathering water.

But Jesus was also not afraid to cross boundaries either. He ate in plain sight with “tax collectors and sinners” when no one else would. He touched the eyes of a blind man to heal him. He put his hands on unclean lepers to cleanse their disease.

Jesus, therefore, gives us a good model of when and how to address boundaries. Abide by them when it behooves you to build a positive personal relationship with others. But be willing to walk across boundaries when necessary to bring hope and healing and love to people who are being bound by their boundaries.

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