Recently, I had the chance to interview Pastor Jose Fernandez Jr., lead pastor of Christ Church of the Valley Español in San Dimas, California. He and his wife Caroline coauthored the book Alone with God—A Devotional, and started the Faithlife Group called “Friends of Pastor Joe.”
Jose and Caroline synced their Faithlife Group to the “read the Bible in a year” reading plan, so their group receives updates and reminders of how much they need to read each day to complete the Bible in a year. Together, they share updates, encouragement, and devotional thoughts with their group.
I asked Pastor Joe about his experience using Faithlife Groups to interact with his church.
What inspired you to create this group? What appealed to you about a Faithlife Group?
My commitment to devotional spirituality inspired me to start “Friends of Pastor Joe.” Caroline and I developed a devotional journal that’s available in print, and we saw Faithlife Groups as an opportunity to have an interactive online devotional.
How did you initially propose using Faithlife Groups to your congregation?
My congregation is Spanish speaking, so I recommended our Faithlife Group to a close group of friends who were either bilingual or English speaking.
As a pastor, has this group taken up much of your personal time? Have others jumped in to help you lead this group?
Caroline has jumped in to help me lead the group. She encourages others to join regularly. It doesn’t take time from my busy schedule, since reading and meditation on the Word is my daily routine as the first part of my morning.
How has this online community affected your “real life” relationships? How has it helped you grow personally?
“Friends of Pastor Joe” has had a positive effect on my wife and I as we encourage one another in our daily meditation and send each other “amens” or “likes” on each other’s posts. When others have posted, I’ve really enjoyed the interaction.
This Faithlife Group has helped me grow spiritually, but like I said, Bible reading was already part of my devotional life. I read four chapters from my Bible daily (five on Sundays) to get through the Bible in one year. I’ve been doing this since 1984. Sometimes I’ve read through it twice a year.