Please read and agree to the following notes on the purpose and etiquette of the Church and Change listserv
The Church and Change listserv is a discussion list for members of Church and Change, a voluntary association of pastors, teachers, and laypersons of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod who are committed to developing new approaches to ministry while holding to Biblical truth.
Listserv Etiquette: Communication on the Church and Change listserv
The Church and Change listserv exists to provide WELS Christians a place where they can talk about any issue in a safe and caring environment. Achieving that goal via email, however, is daunting because of reduced communication cues (no facial expressions, no tone of voice, no discernable body language, etc.).That's a key reason listserv discussions easily degenerate into flaming* (even on WELS listservs).
Since we all want to work to keep our listserv a place where we Christians will say only what is helpful for building each other up, I have several reminders about our communication.
- Remember your emails are going to souls your Savior died to forgive. Love them. Trust them. Respect them. (Emailing is notorious for giving writers the impression that there is not a real, living, breathing person on the receiving end of that note. Consequently, we can be tempted to a lower standard of personal behavior than we would exhibit in person).
- Refrain from cyber finger-wagging, tongue-clucking, and any other put-downs. This would include over-the-top punctuation (is there ever a need for more than one exclamation point?) and CAPITALIZATION for emphasis.
- Remember the 8th Commandment. Put the best construction on what people say or what they have done. Shun gossip, including spreading rumors heard from "reliable sources" (if you haven't seen it/heard it/experienced it yourself, should you be sharing it?). Understand that the 8th Commandment applies to people beyond the WELS as much as it does to those within.
- Do not send an email without editing it (take the time to print it and read it in that medium). If you are writing when emotions are running high, do not send that email without running it past someone who will give you godly feedback. Ask yourself: How will my brothers and sisters in Jesus understand this email?
- Point out mistakes politely, preferably by private email rather than in public. Be generous with the benefit of the doubt. Frame your corrections tentatively ("I'm not sure I understand, but...).
- "Do unto to others...." Treat the others as you would want to be treated.
- It is helpful to ask yourself if you would "say" to a person what youÕre tempted to write in an email if you and this person were sitting across the table from each other.
- When in doubt, take several deep breaths, walk away from your proposed email,and then come back to it, reading it as though you were the person you were writing to. Disclaimers to take what is written in a positive way may be helpful, but it's better to write clearly enough (and lovingly enough) so such disclaimers are not necessary.
The Church and Change listserv insists on being a place where every WELS brother or sister in Jesus feels safe and loved enough to care-filled-ly [I don't think that is a word the last time I checked] offer their opinions, observations, and concerns. That requires respectful listening,patient questioning, and gentle responding from the rest of us. If you are not certain that your email fulfills those requirements, please don't press the "Send" button.
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that youmay know how to answer everyone" Colossians 4:6.
Press "I Accept" to acknowledge that you understand the purpose of the Church and Change listserv and will abide by the desired rules of etiquette listed in this document.
GJ - Membership in this list-serve is secret and they kick off anyone suspected of thought crimes against their precious movement.
Remember, these rules came from the men who called Corky "brain-damaged" for criticizing Church Growth and the amalgamation of NWC and DMLC. They called the former seminary president "senile" for opposing the amalgamation. So yeah, listen to them about being polite and observing the 8th Commandment.
The Glory Has Departed