Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Social Media and the Church Part 7

7.  It's All About Connecting

In the last thirty years, staying connected to others has taken a giant leap forward.  Think about it for a moment, do you remember in the early 1980's and making a long distance phone call was a big deal?  Or those new car phones that were outrageously expensive and rarely worked.  Then pagers for people other than doctors.  Cell phones came along in the mid 1990's for some of us, but reception was still spotty.  Personal computers and email hit in the 1990's big as well.  Google came around in the late 1990's as well, but didn't start really being used by the masses until 2001 and thereafter.  Yahoo was a big deal, not so much anymore.  Aol was a big deal, not so much anymore.  And the now ultimate way to connect is facebook.  800 million users, with a limit of 5000 friends per user (who really has 5000 friends).
The church has many roles in the world today.  One of the most important roles is helping people stay connected to God.  Out of that relationship, we are called to love God, neighbor and enemy.  We are also called to serve God and neighbor.
We have never in the history of the world had as much information as we do now available to us.
We have never in the history of the world been better connected to our neighbors as well.
But there is something missing.  Information alone cannot convert.  Information and argument alone cannot change people.
If you watch politics these days you see an inherent belief in all sides.  If they can just get enough people to agree with them (because they are right), then they will feel justified in their behavior and beliefs.
And that somehow, someway, that winning arguments rules the day.
The church sadly has adopted a few of those principles.  They sound like this-
We are in and you are out.
We are going to heaven, and if you believe what we believe, you can too.  Just don't pay attention to how we treat others though, our message might not match our behavior.
There is an inherent arrogance there as well.
Life is not about information and arguments.
Life is about loving God and neighbor.  If every church in the world would drop the "we are right, and you are not" mentality, and start focusing on connecting people to God, the world would be a much different and better place.
Back to this again, the role of the church is to connect people to God and neighbor.   Jesus says that "we are a light in the darkness".  Are you the light?
Using social media to bring people closer to God meets that goal.
Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we find communion and connection to God.  Jesus Christ bridges the gap and offers salvation to anyone.
Connecting and communicating that message to the lives of every soul on earth is our chief priority.
Using social media to that end is just another way to convey the timeless, life changing message of Jesus Christ.
Check your social media in your church to see if it:
Shares the message of Jesus Christ in a way that not only informs, but transforms.
Brings people closer to God.
Offers a way to connect to God and neighbor.
Helps others find a way to serve.
As many churches seek to enhance the way they communicate the message of Jesus Christ, please pray for all of us as we succeed and fail in following Jesus.
Be holy.  Stay connected to God.
Go in peace and go with God.