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First, let me give a big THANK YOU to Dave Teitsma who returned to his guide role to fill in for me on The Network. Excellent job, as always!

Some years ago I read Jane Goodall's book Reason for Hope. In it she writes about her life and spiritual journey, where she saw many heartreading changes and events, yet she continues to find reason for hope. One thing that gives her hope is the indomitable human spirit. I often remember the story she told of a man who, in a war-torn area, risked his life to bring milk each morning to the mother of a newborn baby, even though that mother and her family were one of the "enemy" side. In the midst of so much evil, good acts still happened.

Those of you who follow the network may have seen the forum discussion led by Tim Postuma regarding Google’s decision to no longer give Google Apps free to religious organizations. It’s really too bad, isn’t it? A good thing is that Google continues to support many nonprofits doing good works in the world. But I’ve been a fan of Google’s for a long time and this decision was a big disappointment.

The trend toward charitable giving by corporations and wealthy people is a reason for hope. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and others giving large portions of their wealth to charity, companies contributing their products and services to non-profits -- it’s wonderful. No one can judge what their motives truly are, but, regardless, God can and will use their efforts for good.

I wrote some articles about and Google Apps for churches. Now Google Apps is no longer free for churches (but still a great tool - so don't rule it out just because it isn't free), but I’m hoping that they’ll find a way to change their minds. And who knows, maybe the CRC network can help to change their minds. As Tim said in the forum discussion, it’s pretty cool that he was asked to contribute in the media (although he declined) because of his posting in our own CRC Network.

The Network's growth, and the fact that it was noticed in a larger sphere, is a testimony to the fact that our network is growing. Your church’s participation in social media might lead (or perhaps has already led) to your church becoming an influence for good in the world.

I’m happy that our network is growing and I hope that The Network, your churches and others in the family of God can continue to be a reason for hope in the world. Do you have some examples where your church made a difference through social media?

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