February, Facebook, and the Future of the Church

Facebook just celebrated its 6th birthday last week. At that time, it announced it had 400 million users. It doubled its user base in the last year. In terms of sheer magntitude, this kind of change in social practice is unprecedented in human history. Facebook  is currently is growing at 21 million new users a month.

During the month of February (or what is left of it), I want to explore the impact Facebook has on the future of the church. I will be posting ideas and hosting discussions related to Facebook and its impact on day-to-day church practice. Some of the questions I would like to explore: ought churches to ignore, engage, or celebrate Facebook? Do you think faith communities need to have a presence on Facebook, why or why not?

I will look at examples of churches that engage Facebook, either by having a wonderful page, or… (not). I will also be examining both individual congregations and denominational Facebook pages as well. If you would like me to evaluate your church’s Facebook page, in light of our discussions, I would be happy to analyze it and feature it on this site.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am currently on sabbatical. During the sabbatical, one of my research projects involves looking at faith communities and their interaction with social media. I would like to share some of my findings with you as they arise — to think out loud through this website — hopefully to stimulate  conversation about the church and social media. My hope, through this February discussion, is that our mutual understanding of the church’s mission in a Facebook world grows deeper.

So, in this first post  — what are your initial thoughts about Facebook and churches? Concerns? Passions? What ideas ought we to explore here for the month?

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