FACEBOOK AND JESUS
As of the fourth quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.6 billion monthly active users. That is absolutely incredible! If Facebook were a ministry, they would be leading the way in worldwide evangelism! Maybe we need to learn some lessons from the world’s leading social media giant.
What is your opinion of the most popular social media outlet on planet earth? Are you addicted?
Are you an avoider? Are you a dabbler?
To be sure, there are pros and cons to Facebook. I technically have a Facebook page, but I have to confess that I rarely check in on it. I have too many emails and texts to have much time to worry about Facebook.
There is also the interesting study done at the University of Michigan in 2014. Researchers monitored 82 Facebook users during a two week period. What they discovered, confirmed other Facebook studies. Namely, that there is a direct connection between using Facebook and depression.
They found that the more time a person spends on Facebook, the more their feelings of well-being decrease and feelings of depression increase. Ethan Kross, the lead researcher on the project, explained, “We were able to show on a moment-to-moment basis throughout the day how people’s mood fluctuated depending on their Facebook usage…The more you used Facebook, the more your mood dropped…The negative effect of Facebook use on happiness became more pronounced the more you interacted with other people within that time frame.”
Facebook can easily give the impression that someone else’s life is all about having fun, going to parties, looking great, having kids, and living the good life. Obviously, as we trudge through an average week, we may experience very little of these kinds of emotional highs. Hence the discouragement, depression and feelings of being left out.
The question is this: What would Jesus think of Facebook?
My guess is that He would probably use it…a bit, if it helped Him connect to others in significant ways. Does that surprise you? I don’t think Jesus would be anti-Facebook. Jesus is about community, but real community. The problem with so much of social media is that it does not foster real community. Social media has a tendency to keep us busy spinning plates – and can give the impression that we are connecting with others when we are not.
If we condemn Facebook, then we also need to condemn telephones, computers, fax machines and walkie talkies! I for one would not care to give up my smart phone. BUT…I also realize that the incessant buzz of texting and phone calls can become addictive and undermine real community.
So, ask yourself this: Am I pursuing real community in my life, or am I settling for fake community? The benefits of real community are incredible and soul nourishing.
by Pastor Jay Childs, Senior Pastor