What Jesus Christ Tells Us About Social Networking

March 11, 2009
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Evangelizing the Gospel as the communications director for a Chicago church, Tim Schraeder guest posts today at Church Marketing Sucks about the importance to bridge the gap between the pulpit and the congregation–through text messaging.
As texting transforms the relational landscape of our culture, we’re beginning to see how it’s influencing the way the church communicates.
While […]


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DevotionEvangelizing the Gospel as the communications director for a Chicago church, Tim Schraeder guest posts today at Church Marketing Sucks about the importance to bridge the gap between the pulpit and the congregation–through text messaging.

As texting transforms the relational landscape of our culture, we’re beginning to see how it’s influencing the way the church communicates.

While many churches have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, others are taking it to the next level, incorporating texting polls and Q&A sessions into their weekly services as well as using text messages as a vehicle to communicate announcements and church news throughout the week.

This reminds me of a blog post I wrote last year about Ray Matthews and his concept of the Good News Network.

Utah State Library’s government information coordinator wrote a blog post in November 2004 about the connection between Jesus Christ and social networking.

To Jesus, the church was the community of believers. It wasn’t a building, it wasn’t an organization, it wasn’t a corporation. The church was not a place nor did it own any property. It’s unfortunate, but institutions calling themselves churches have embellished to the point of distraction those simple teachings of Jesus to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. The true church remains the community of believers.

Is it any surprise that blogs and social networking sites have sprung in recent years with names like ChurchCrunch, LinkedIn Jesus, LDS Media Talk, and the Christian Social Network?

Echoing my blog post last summer about why you are an ambassador of social networking, here are some more tenets from Ray Matthews in 2004:

Social networking facilitates real-world and online conversations. Each of these technologies helps us bridge the six degrees of separation in finding others with similar goals and interests. We just need to apply this knowledge to loftier purposes. It’s high time we used what we know for a higher purpose than dating, deal making, and job hunting. How about world peace? Maybe that generation of Miss America contestants had it right after all.

I’ll call this repurposing of social networking the ‘Good News Network.’ The Good News Network needs no place, no domain, no trademark, no sponsors. It needs only open access and to be built on standards — standards to converse one language with another and standards to programmatically exchange information. It consists of you and I, our friends, friends of friends, and those yet to be brought into our circle of friendship.

The Good News Network has two functions: to promote conversation and action. We converse by sharing the good news, our faith, and our belief in the goodness of humanity. And we act. We act in small ways, in big ways, but always in individual and personal ways, to share the good news of universality and peace and to promote well-being.

We speak multitudes of languages, we live in diverse regions of the globe, and we comprise all races and nationalities. In this day and age that is unique in history, we can all converse, we can join a global conversation, and we can meet in the virtual living room or the virtual temple of our choice.

So back to the age old question, how do you change the world?

Start by entering the conversation. In your blogs, in your chat rooms, in your networks, in your music, in your poems, in your art, in your families, and in your communities — tell your story. Let your voice be heard. Sign on in whatever way makes sense to you in order to make a difference. As the marketers say, create a buzz. In the sense of paying it forward, start something in your own way and in your own voice. Start a conversation that will spread, that will continue, that will penetrate the hearts and minds of the power brokers.

Those in high places will join us. They will, as Saul of old, see the vision and join the conversation. Perhaps in fulfillment of ancient prophecy, those with ears to hear will find each other, and they who are confused will recognize the voice.

Shower of lightTim Schraeder is spot-on that Twitter is one way for church communities–communities of believers–to connect with each other, but it’s not the only way. Text messaging is an easy alternative, especially if people have cell phones. Congregants can silence their ringers and turn off their vibrators and still share in the joy of prayer on an additional, electronic level.

The next time you attend church, synagogue, or mosque services and spy your son texting with his friend 10 pews back, how about you give him the benefit of the doubt? Your son may be doing what Tim suggests… and it may be something you should do, too.

When I randomly noticed Ray was on Twitter, I sent him a message last month, pointing him to the July 2008 blog post I wrote about him. Yesterday, Ray replied with kindness.

Welcome to the Good News Network.

Photo credits: bogenfreund, David Paul Ohmer


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