About The City
The City is our online home for church community. But rather than promoting virtual relationships, it enhances our real, face-to-face relationships. We use it to share prayer requests, needs, and goods and services with one another, our LIFE Groups use it for sharing prayer requests, and the church leadership uses it to keep you better informed with what is happening.
The City helps us care for one another through sharing prayer requests and needs, ministry service opportunities, dialogue, and meeting practical needs. Pastors, elders, and LIFE Group leaders use it to better communicate and lead their groups. Ministries within our church and even missionary partners in the field use The City.
According to Scripture all of God’s people fill a unique role within the Body of Christ, the Church (1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4). This means that each and every one of us is a minister, not just those who are paid. So we want all of our congregants to be better equipped to minister as God has called them. The City is a tool that will help all of us.
But The City is also designed so that each individual is in control of his personal information. Each individual on The City is in control of who can contact them and how frequently. This approach to communication helps us to avoid sending spam to one another and protects against information overload.
We have seen our congregation use The City to minister to one another in amazing ways. It is incredibly encouraging to see prayer requests go up and then to see the chain of responses of prayer and encouragement and support. We’ve seen LIFE Groups use The City to organize meals for families that have just had babies or surgeries or challenges in life. We’ve seen the Deacons use it to connect volunteers with service opportunities. We’ve seen teachers continue the discussion from Sunday classes through the week. And many have used the Marketplace (online private classifieds) to share or sell stuff.
God blesses us through one another and The City has been a great tool to help us to do that.
Our vision for The City
We see The City as a communications and connections tool for building community within our church so that we can accomplish our mission. We see every individual using The City as a tool that will significantly empower greater connection and ministry in real, face-to-face ways.
Pastor Jack on The City and Blue Ridge Bible Church
The City in Two Minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called The City?
The name, The City, comes from the passage where Jesus tells his followers, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). So, it’s not just a catchy name; it’s a reminder of who God’s people are and what we are to do.
Why join The City?
The people and groups in The City are the people and groups who make up our church. Every part of The City is designed to lead our church into deeper community with tools that build connection and encourage growth as we share the light of Jesus with each other and the world. There are lots of practical reasons to join.
Who will be on The City? Will it be safe?
You’ll need to join The City via invitation and our version of The City is just for Blue Ridge Bible Church regulars and members. The content you share isn’t mass broadcast but is directed to those whom you have chosen to be connected to on The City. The City is moderated and will remain a space for community and our church’s values. This makes The City a safe place to do things like share a prayer request with your friends, dialogue about theology or practice, and more. Don’t worry! We won’t spam you, and YOU have full control over the amount of email you receive and when you receive it. (Hint: you’ll probably want to select “Daily Digest” for most, if not all of your communication settings). Also, see the question below about minors on The City.
How do I join?
The City is for Blue Ridge Bible Church regulars and members. You can also receive an invitation from a LIFE Group leader or a staff member. Once you receive your invitation, follow the directions to sign up and fill out your profile. In no time you’ll be exploring what’s been going on inside The City and Blue Ridge Bible Church.
How is The City organized?
The City is made up of the groups that are representative of our face-to-face relationships. In particular you will find LIFE Groups, Regions, and ministry groups. People who serve and learn and grow together will now be able to easily connect throughout the week. And as a church, this tool will not only allow our people to take better care of one another, but will be the communication and information hub for all things at Blue Ridge Bible Church. And it functions like a pictorial directory so you can put a name to that familiar face!
Is The City just another social network like Facebook?
The City isn’t Facebook. Facebook is designed for individual expression (“I just had pancakes for breakfast!”), The City is designed to facilitate community. It’s a communication tool to help members of a group connect throughout the week. While there are some areas of overlap between The City and Facebook (the ability to designate someone as a “friend,” for example), Facebook and The City were designed for two completely different purposes. Facebook is for “me” and The City is for “us.”
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” -Matthew 18:15
The City is designed to facilitate community, but if you have something against your brother or sister, The City is not the place to express it (nor is email, for that matter). Online communication like The City simply cannot bear the weight of emotionally charged topics. If you feel the need to communicate something that is emotionally charged, The City is not the place to express it. Remember that God’s standard for anything we communicate is that it should always bring grace to the hearer.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29, ESV).
The City is designed to be a secure and trusted place where participants can communicate with other members of their group. By default, any content you post in a group is restricted to members of that group. Others cannot access content created within a group without joining the group. However, because some content is sent to group members via email, it would be possible for a member of a group to forward an email message to someone outside of the group. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep in mind when posting that, although what you post isn’t public, it could become public. The City is private, but only as private as email. If you would trust the recipient via email then you can trust that same recipient via The City.
When it comes to posting prayer requests on The City, it’s important to be mindful of the wishes of the person who has requested the prayer. Some are eager to receive prayer but would like to keep a “low profile.” If this is the case, post something like the following: “Bobby is going in for knee surgery. He asked that we pray for a swift recovery. He doesn’t want to be inundated with phone calls, so he asks that we please not share this information with others” Other situations call for more delicacy. If someone requests prayer for a situation that would be embarrassing if made public, the prayer should be posted anonymously: “please pray for my friends who are going through a difficult time in their marriage.” Just use common sense and apply the biblical principles of love and respect for one another.
Only staff and elders can start posts on the main all church group. Everyone else can start posts in the other groups that they are in (Region, LIFE Group, etc.).
Minors on the City
You must be thirteen years old to have an account on The City. Minors (those under the age of 18) can only send and receive Messages with people listed as City Friends. This way, minors can still communicate with trusted people in the church but cannot be contacted by someone they don’t know, and parents can always view their children’s profiles, see their Friends, and have some idea of who they might be privately conversing with. Everyone on The City is a part of our church.
What is the difference between The City and the church’s website?
Our website, which you are on right now, is publicly available for anyone on the Internet. The City is a password protected area that is only available to members and regular attenders of Blue Ridge Bible Church. The City does work well with and complement our website. See the next question.
Can I just use the church’s website if I’m only interested in the major announcements and events?
Yes! Some of the content that the staff will post on The City will also be available on the website for those that do not have an account on The City. For example, the weekly bulletin email of the past will now be posted on The City and automatically added to the website as Ridge Notes. You can always find the latest Ridge Notes on brbible.org.
Will The City overload my email inbox with unnecessary information?
It can. But you are in complete control. You decide. Avoid information overload. Get only the information you need… when you want it. NOTE: Set your communication for DAILY DIGEST (the default for all groups). That will give you only one daily email only on those days when something is happening in your City groups. Setting your email setting to “nothing” out of frustration doesn’t help because now you are totally out of the loop.
Can I Share an Email Address with My Spouse?
No. Unfortunately each user account on The City must be tied to a unique email address, and The City simply won’t allow two accounts to share a duplicate email address. Note: The only way The City can provide users with a personalized experience is by having a unique email address based on the individual groups that the person is in. If a couple shares an email address, it is recommended that one of the parties use the current email address and the other person create a separate email account so he/she can maximize their experience in The City. Several good, free email options are available (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.), and we will be glad to assist you in setting up a new account, if desired.
Note that some content is posted by leaders and is only viewable by one gender. For example, the women’s ministry often posts content that is only viewable by women. So if you are relying on your spouses account to keep up you might actually be missing some posts.
Will my data be secure?
Yes. You can read more about data security and The City here. Additionally, as said above, you will have the ability with The City to hide your personal contact information which would make it only available to church staff.
Am I being forced into a social network that will take a lot of my time?
No, not at all! You can set up your account with The City and just use it for informational purposes. You do not need to comment or respond to friend requests. In fact, you can turn off many of those features and simply use The City to receive church-wide information or to look up individuals. So go as “social network” or not as you would like.
Is there an app?
How can I learn more about The City and its features?
There are a number of great resources on this page that will help you to better understand how things work.
Where do I go to log in?
Anytime you get an email from The City it will include a link back to the particular content that was emailed to you. But if you forget the URL (brbible.onthecity.org) you can always find it in the home page of our website at brbible.org.