It all depends on what church means to you as an individual? If people primarily attend church to satisfy their social needs, and because social media partially answers that need they may find themselves attending church less? On the other hand if your church attendance is meeting a vital spiritual and social need, maybe social media won’t effect your Church life quite so much.
On the positive side, people with a ‘be the change’ attitude will start to use social media more and more to influence those around them.
My conclusion is this, whether we like it or not social media is having both positive and negative effects on the way we do church and it is important that the church is ready for these changes. Here are some of the reasons why.
Access to the internet has placed a world of information at our fingertips giving us more choice in the what, where and when of how we live our lives. As a consumer generation we can read reviews on just about anything, but is this shaping our attitude towards how we do church? I already know people who use social media to decide which church services they want to attend? In response the church needs to teach people that commitment to a church family is a calling (Jas 4:15) rather than a consumer experience.
Internet gurus say that mobile social media is integrating into society so much so that soon the very term ‘social media’ will fall into disuse. More and more people are using mobile devices to access social media like facebook and twitter and with the emergence of apps like ‘foursquare,’ the difference between virtual and ‘in the flesh’ relationships is blurring as technology draws people into face to face meetings.
In coming years will mobile technology enable more spontaneous micro church encounters? Will our social influencers take advantage of social media’s ability to connect people for breaking bread in the park, or prayer in the coffee shop?
For me the key differentiator for Christians in society is the life of the Holy Spirit. I believe that we will increasingly witness the church using social media to connect people with the life of the Holy Spirit and this will set us apart in a crowded virtual world.
As one of my friends put it, ‘social media means church beyond Sunday, and church beyond four walls. Churches should be encouraging a continuing sense of purpose and mission through the embracing of social media.’
My challenge is this ‘are you someone who is letting change happen to you, or are you going to ‘be the change?’
If you are interested in reading more on this subject you may also be interested in an article that I wrote for Taberstruths ‘How will Social Media Reshape the Way we do Church?’
This subject belongs to all of us and needs to be explored as an ongoing discourse; therefore I would love to know your views? How is social media effecting you and how are you using it in a church context?
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