I’ve been trying to connect with Christians in my local area. It’s always a tiresome process, when you move to a new town, and a lot of people do not manage to make the transfer.
Traditionally you made the rounds of the local churches, in a series of Sunday services; the good, the bad, the mad and the embarrassing. If you were lucky, you found someone who you could relate to, and settled in that church. If you weren’t — and a lot of people weren’t — you got more and more embarrassed, and gave up after church number four-to-eight (depending on your persistence level).
But the web has made quite a difference, I find. People are setting up sites to network people. In my own town, for instance, a search on “<town name> Christians” brings up some dubious sites and then a site which contains a calendar of events, lists of projects, and so forth. It’s not perfect, and there are dreck “events” in there, but it gives you a bit more than you might otherwise get. The newcomer can at least go along to some of the evidently larger events and see a cross-section of people from the area.
Facebook is also coming into its own. You get things in Derby like the Derby Community Church on FB here, with a link to its own website; and the Derby City Mission here. In some ways these are more useful than the standalone websites, since they get updates and can be watched for news.
It’s really hard for Christians who move town to integrate into the new community, whether they are single or married. There seems to be practically no horizontal communication. I wonder how many of those people who leave Christian Unions when they leave college every summer, most of whom go to new towns, actually make it through and get hooked up to the Christian community in their new town. Few, I would guess.
Surely something could be done?