Where Two or Three are Connected
By J.J. Warren
After surviving a global pandemic, church leaders have had to ask themselves this age-old question with renewed relevancy: What does it mean to gather in Jesus' name during and after a global pandemic? In this book, Rev. J.J. Warren seeks to respond to this question by sharing first-hand interviews conducted with United Methodist leaders in Denmark, Kenya, the Philippines, Singapore, and the U.S. Through these interviews and by dipping into the well of United Methodist/Wesleyan tradition, this book explores what Jesus' claim might mean for those who gather in his name on and offline after the global pandemic. Some questions the book explores are:
- What makes an online community a "real" community?
- What makes a church a church?
- What makes a church meeting online an authentic community for its members?
- What principles might guide these churches, and what platforms are most effective?
While grounded in the lived experiences of these United Methodist leaders, the book is structured around the four traditional marks of the church (one, holy, catholic, apostolic) in order to provide insights into how these marks have evolved:
- How has the very nature of the church changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the radical communication shift that followed?
- How can churches foster a sense of "oneness" while worshipping together from different countries?
- How can Christians pursue holiness both on and offline?
- What is catholic or universal about the church, and how are these qualities manifest online from around the globe?
- How does the use of virtual meeting platforms and social media broaden the apostolic calling of all Christians?
The book concludes by claiming that the pandemic experience has expanded the nature of the church in each of its marks, calling us deeper, further, and more justly into the world than ever before. Whether you're a worship leader or dedicated pew-sitter, a seminary student or an ordained elder, a Gen. Z-er or a Baby Boomer, this book offers necessary tools for all who seek to understand and cultivate authentic, inclusive communities on- and offline in a (post)pandemic world.