From Facebook to Faithbook
- Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Do you have a Facebook page? It’s a well-known website that allows people to upload photos, biography and contact information to network with other people. Mark Zuckerberg founded this social utility site while attending Harvard in 2004. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but continued to expand to other colleges. Now students and non-students around the world connect to each other daily. Facebook had over 70 million visits to its site in April of 2008.
I couldn’t help but notice how friendships are rekindled and created on social networking sites and wondered if Christ followers might not learn something from this. Technology relies on the same old human behaviors to succeed. But having faith requires divine intervention for us to understand our need for God, and being faithful isn't always easy in the offline world. Our faith spreads the old-fashioned way, one person reaching out to one person at a time.
There are similarities between our online lives and our "real" ones. To make friends online, we have to reach out. It's as simple as clicking a button and requesting that someone be our “friend.” When we make new friends online, we get exposed to their ideas about life, their likes and dislikes; we get to know them. What’s really amazing is that we get to view their other friends who are listed there.
The real question is who is on our “Friends” list? Does it include all kinds of people or just folks who look, act and talk like us? I've been wondering lately what Jesus' Facebook page would look like. We read about how He talked to women in a culture where open social contact with the opposite sex wasn't allowed. He hung out with leaders who became His followers. He called common people to greatness. There was diversity in His crowd of followers and then unity in mission.
Today is a great day to look down the street and reconnect with some local friends and neighbors. It may also be the time to search out a forgotten friend. There's a whole world out there waiting to be invited as a friend.
Perhaps consider doing an inventory of your friends. Are there some friends you need to reconnect with? Are there some new people you'd like to have over for dinner or talk to over a cup of coffee?
Instead of feeling anxiety or guilt about evangelism, is there a simple way you could reach out to someone and then see where God takes it from there?
Dan Johnson is the Lead Pastor of Next Church in Tacoma, Washington and CEO of the Next Leadership Association.
***Facebook users: Be sure to check out the Christianity.com Devotionals application! Get access to all of the devotionals you enjoy on Crosswalk.com and Christianity.com right on your profile page. Just type "Christianity.com Devotionals" into the Search function on Facebook to get started. Let your friends know!
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