Mark Zuckerberg and Jesus may have more in common than you think. Both are masters at making disciples – it’s just that Mark may not know it yet.
On Easter Sunday, I issued a challenge to those attending our church – many of whom don’t have much church experience, and some of whom hadn’t been in a church service before. The challenge was to do a bite-size daily Bible reading over the next 21 days, in order to explore faith in God more deeply and build a core habit to accelerate spiritual growth. In a pleasant surprise, 212 adults took me up on the challenge (over 10% of our attendance that day). With that kind of response, we knew we needed to do a good job delivering a tool that could actually help. Thankfully for us, it already existed. It’s called Facebook. We created a private Facebook Group, sent an email invite to the 212 on Easter Sunday afternoon, and waited. By Monday morning, nearly 100 of them were already in the group. Shortly after, another 50 jumped in. We ended up with 154 people out of the 212 actively participating in their new Daily Bible Reading habit in the group. The joy of it is that we were posting our journal entries through the Gospel of John, chapter by chapter. So not only were we being encouraged, but we were learning from one another how to interact with Scripture.
A lot of churches have been experimenting like this, and the evidence is mounting that social media is seriously underutilized for the sake of the Gospel.
Here are a few reasons why:
- It’s fast. Video, information, updates, and connections can happen so much faster here than anywhere. If we’re going to strike while the iron is hot, we’d better move at a faster pace.
- The world is already there. With nearly 2 billion users, Facebook is unquestionably the largest platform in the world. If you add all the other social media platforms, there are very few people we can’t reach out to with a little effort and a very little money.
- It’s safe for those exploring. Social media puts the user in control of how much they share and absorb. People can take steps at their own pace. That’s very appealing. And with the visibility it offers, the next step is always in view.
How can you get started use this tool?
I recently heard about a church who is inviting new believers into cohort groups on Facebook to be discipled as a group. Another church is using social media to connect new members to other new members. You could also use it to deliver follow-up on specific next steps. What ideas do you have? I’d love to hear your feedback on this issue. What questions, concerns, or ideas do you have?