Concordia Publishing House has a new downloadable resource called Jesus’ Place in MySpace. And while MySpace has been replaced among the under 30 set by Facebook, the principles remain the same, and while I haven’t read the ebook (It likely wouldn’t be anything new for me.), it ties in with a ministry opportunity that entered my inbox a couple weeks ago.
It started with a Facebook invite from one of our members, who happens to be older than me, so I was surprised to see it coming from her, but her daughter just graduated from college and got married, so I’m guessing that had something to do with it.
But as I set up my Facebook profile, I realized that this would be a great way to stay in touch with some of our members, especially those going off to college or even as a day-to-day contact with the locals, especially those in high school.
Now let me make it clear that this is no substitute for more personal contact and can never replace visits and phone calls, but through online social networking sites, I can connect with people on a much more frequent basis than I could otherwise, and I see frequent contact with that age group as crucial, not only because it can be infrequent as other commitments and opportunities present themselves, but also because at that point, more than any other, youth define themselves and determine their priorities. Frequent friendly contact from their pastor can have a great impact that process.
Along those lines, because a church is not just a pastor, I can also see advantages of networking members with each other, so they not only have contact with their pastor, but other sheep from the same flock who can encourage them and remind them of their identity as children of God.