Social Networking!

The year was 1492.  Christopher Columbus was preparing to set sail to open new trade routes and share Jesus with the new world.  On August 3rd, 1492, headed westward landing at the Bahama island of Guanahani on October 12th.  For those of you keeping track, it took him more than two months to make the trip.Facebook

In other words, our world is much smaller than it used to be.  The internet has brought the entire world right into our living rooms and computer screens.  In a split second I can be
connected to someone across the ocean and talk world economics with them if I wanted to.  Online social networking sites have done nothing to slow that down.  If anything, social networking has only served to speed our world up and shrink it down some more.

I share my thoughts on a blog.

Post pictures on flickr or photobucket.

I friends on facebook.

And in 140 characters, I can tell you exactly what I’m doing, right now, on twitter.

It seems that social networking has capitalized on an idea that the church has also been trying to capitalize on; connection.  Social media allows us to connect with people all over the world and right in our back yard.  We can talk, chat or have a video conversation with them instantly.  We get updates on their family pictures.  We read about their lives.  We make more connections with more people today than at any other time in history (no statistics, just my opinion from observation).

Our church has a facebook and twitter page that we use to keep people who follow or befriend us up-to-date on what we’re doing.  But I wonder if the church is doing all it can toTwitter
capitalize on this social phenomenon.  How is the church really using social networking sites to make an impact in the world for Jesus Christ?  How is your church or ministry using social networking to advance the Gospel of Jesus?  What are some creative ways the church can use these sites more effectively to reach the culture?  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and hopefully some of your ideas.

For bonus points- push further than current social networking sites have.  Tell me what you see in the future for social networking.  Is there an end in sight?  Will the fad come to an end and the church will find itself back at square one?  Can the church push the envelope further and possibly lead the way in some form of social networking?

About Stan Rodda

Follower. Husband. Father. Shepherd. Apostle. Husker.

Posted on 07/21/2009, in church, discipleship, internet, social media, the basics, the culture, the nation, the world. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. It’s amazing how the internet has evolved in the last few years. Twitter was started in Mar 2006 and has now changed the way people connect and communicate. Unfortunately not many churches have capitalize on such technology to spread the gospel and reach out to a new generation of “social networkers”. Perhaps it is the leadership that needs to reinvent themselves if the church wants to stay relevant. Sidenote: I found your site through you following me on YouVersion.

    • culturalawakening

      Very cool Henry. Welcome to my blog. Come back any time. I guess I’ll probably see you around on YouVersion as well. I agree with you about the leadership element. Sometimes leaders can become entrenched in a certain way that ministry is done to the exclusion of all other options. I’m still curious as to how the church and its’ leaders can leverage and capitalize on the social networking phenomenon. Thanks for checking out the site Henry.

  2. …I don’t think Columbus had any intention of sharing Jesus with anyone… I think he was a power hungry European who went looking for fame and money and didn’t share anything with the new world except cholera, typhoid, scarlet fever and small pox… but that’s just me.

    • culturalawakening

      So I take it you have a high opinion of Columbus. ha ha No problem man, feel free to disagree with me anytime. I’ll forgive you eventually. ha ha

  3. ..back on the topic: i was once told by a preacher that a certain church I was working for at the time didn’t need to waste any money on a website because the church shouldn’t run out and jump on every fad that comes along… Seriously, everyone knows the internet is just a fad…

  4. refinersfire2

    Stan; I must say that I’ve heard some of the same remarks as Ryan has in my previous ministries, but in our current ministry we are utilizing the social networking to a certain degree, and are increasing that use as time moves along. Two years ago I launched our church’s first website, and it’s been a great tool in connecting with people, both church people and new prospects, and at last count had received almost 23,000 hits. Here after I return from vacation I’ll get our facebook page up and going. Technology is here to stay whether we like it or not… If it’s something that connects people… lets utilize it for the Gospel…. that’s my thought. Also Ryan my friend I have to also disagree with you on your statements about Columbus.

  5. The views of Columbus as primarily a missionary are pretty common, although completely untrue. “spreading the gospel” was sort of a tagged onto the the end of the plan so that Queen Isabella could get the Churches approval to send out the ships (since everything had to be approved by the Church at this point). After “discovering” the new world Columbus was made governor of the first colony and was soon after arrested and returned to Spain because he was too cruel to the colonists and the natives, doing such things as cutting off peoples ears, noses and tongues for minor offenses like disagreeing with him. Years later he made it back to the new world only to be shipwrecked and then abandoned by the other europeans because they all hated him for his dishonesty and cruelty. A ship did come to the island he was stuck on but they didn’t anchor; they instead sent ashore a canoe with a bottle of wine and a slab of pork with a note that said “enjoy your last meal”. For his last trip across the atlantic, before his death, he had to buy a ticket to ride in the cargo hold of an English ship. Crusade for Jesus? I don’t think so.

  6. The more I think about it, yes, “social networking” like facebook and twitter can be used to connect people and spread the gospel but only to a certain extent… I think technology like this is more dangerous to society than helpful because it legitimizes our total reclusiveness. We can claim to be connected, we can look at a list of networks we “belong” to and tell ourselves that we are actually participating in social behavior when, in doing so, we are actually securely locked away behind closed doors, in our pjs with a pint of Ben & Jerrys, having no actual interpersonal relation to anyone except the Dominos delivery guy.
    Instead of discussing views with others and working out natural conflict we just cry about it and write a blog. We hide behind words and photoshopped profile pictures instead of letting people get to know the real ‘us’.
    In addition it’s becoming very easy for Satan to get around within these “social networks”‘… folks can gossip and lie, spreading any kind of rumor they can imagine with absolutely no consequences. Facebook, for example, is little more than a gossip database, who is “in a relationship” with whom, what gender you currently prefer, even what music u are listening to or what you ate for breakfast.
    I work for a multi-campus church and so many of our staff meetings take place through ichat so that we dont even have to make the effort of being in the same room with the people we work with…
    I see the benefit of “staying connected” but what does it cost? and is it really a connection worth having?

  7. Though we may disagree to a certian extent about some of the reasons as to “why” Ole’ Chris came to the New World… all I can say to this last post is Amen…Amen…Amen!

  8. I like this post. The internet has allowed a great deal of networking to happen. On one hand it may “legitimize our total reclusiveness” but on the other it is the best way to communicate with people consistently over distance. Our church is poor at college ministry, but the one thing we do have is Accountability and prayer groups over face book. No matter the distance people can keep close enough to pray for each other and keep up to date in people’s lives. I find that people open up more and are more eager to write their thoughts and problems than speak them openly.

    Our minister has a blog, I am active in debate forums, our small group material is on the internet for easy access, out sermons are all recorded and put on the internet each sunday. You can video cast a meeting with the missionaries that you support. There are a million ways that this social networking can enhance ministry.

    It is interesting that people fear internet because of the harm it can do. I have always thought that any given thing or person has a set amount of effectiveness and weather that is used for good or evil is decided by the user. The internet could bring the Word to the world, but users define it’s use for killing time and watching porn. (yes I do mean Christians)

  9. …whatever dude, christians don’t struggle with porn.

  10. billyjohnsonlive

    You totally need to read “flickering pixels”, dude. seriously, like buy it RIGHT NOW.

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