First Fruits

Back in April, a church friend of mine offered for me to join a new Bible Study group that he was calling First Fruits. The meaning was tied to the idea that we would be meeting at 6:30am every single day to give the first of our day to God in studying the Bible, worshiping, and praying.

And we’ve kept it up! It’s been really amazing.. There are four of us that manage to meet daily (DAILY) for this exercise, and one other individual that will join in but as he’s a commercial driver, doesn’t join in on the conversation, and instead uses it as a sort of live podcast to listen. Plus a few other people have popped in periodically, most of whom attend Rez.Church, my church. We started by meeting in a WhatsApp call every morning, which was rough at first, but quickly smoothed out into a nice routine.

Around the end of May we were inspired to try capturing and uploading our daily conversations to YouTube. Again, this was a bit of a rough start just because me getting the tech worked out on my end (I was as far as I know the only one in the group who knew how to live-stream at that point). But we got that worked out and like the morning meeting itself, I found a nice rhythm and routine.

Then, just recently Damian got the inspiration to try and expand, to reach more people. This involves a lot more than just our morning Bible Study. So he came up with the Remain Community, built out of a social media engine he found called Mighty Networks. So far we’ve been meeting there for about a week, and have transitioned our video calls from WhatsApp to Zoom. Not my first pick, but Mighty Networks DOES have options for offering other video conferencing platforms as well. We were excited to find that a WhatsApp call could be linked to ahead of time. However we decided that a few weeks to burn-in Zoom would be prudent, just so we wouldn’t jerk our 5-6 regulars around too much too fast.

I guess what’s been a little confusing to me and something I need to codify in my own space is – Remain.Community encapsulates a group of small groups. The idea being any large number of people could join this community and subsequently join their own space which would serve to facilitate online meetings with others of similar bents. Essentially, it would do what Rez’s Church Center subscription does, but also offer everything that something like Facebook would have – walls, chatrooms, event calendars.. And it is FAIRLY clean and customizable.

Granted, I find it a little redundant at this point, but since we’ve shifted away from WhatsApp to Mighty Networks, it’s not been too big of a leap in my thinking. Yeah, it requires its members sign up with a site they know nothing about, but since we can gate keep who comes in and what they can access, it is reminiscent of something like Discord. I initially would have preferred a platform like Discord, but I also know Discord has a directory of ‘other popular groups you can join’ and most of those do not foster a clean, Godlike community and would be completely available and advertised without restriction to our membership. NOT something I want to ignore.

Additionally, yesterday and today we live-streamed to YouTube rather than just recording and posting later as we’ve been doing since May! Saves on the processing time and lets us work on the nicer details. Plus Damian, being a complete API programming nerd, decided to start writing automated scripts on Heroku to set up future livestreams combined with his current, favorite obsession, ChatGPT, to generate summaries and things for said livestreams. Combining all these resources has the potential of being (and is proving itself to be) a giant time-saver overall. I just have to learn to let go a little, since I’m a bit resistant to offloading work that would give me a sense of worth.

Anyway, writing all this out has been nice. Kinda just had to get it down into text form.


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