Why did you join Facebook?
I’ll be that it was one of two reasons.
Perhaps you heard about how great Facebook was, and that it had an ease of use that would help you connect with friends from the past, present, and future. You joined Facebook because of its REPUTATION.
Or maybe you joined because someone you trusted invited you. A friend, a relative, a co-worker – someone close to you invited you to join Facebook. Once you joined, you realized there were a lot of others that you could continue to connect with. You joined because of RELATIONSHIPS.
In the church, we call the process of inviting someone into Christian faith “evangelism”. If we follow Facebook’s lead, reputation and relationships should be at the forefront of building a solid church community through evangelism*.
What’s your churches reputation in the community? Friendly? Preachy? Old? Intimidating? Ethnic? Welcoming? Unknown? Weird? Cool? Authentic? Old-School? Irrelevant? Helpful? Caring? How your church community is perceived in the wider world affects a persons decision to check it out.
What about relationships? How does your church do at reaching out to those who aren’t a part of the community? Does your church offer systems, programs, groups, and clubs that meet the relational need in every human’s heart? Is it easy or hard for your members to invite others into the church community?
It isn’t rocket science, but Facebook became a blockbuster because it hit a nerve that many churches miss: if you want your social organization to grow, have a good reputation and make sure the community is relationally satisfying. That’s Facebook Evangelism 101.
*This isn’t to downplay the role of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the process; rather, it’s to examine the similarities between the church and Facebook as a ‘socially-driven’ organizations.