February 10, 2014

Sacramental Social Media

What is Twitter for? What can Facebook do? Can social media change the world?

There’s not really one answer to these questions, but not too long ago, theologian Richard Beck wrote an entry on his blog about that addressed them. He writes this: “The goal is to use social media sacramentally. To be a sign, a sign of life and grace.”

Please click here to read the whole thing, which is short and well worth your time.

The goal isn’t to change people’s minds, he says, or to necessarily change the world, but to be a sign of life in the world.

What does this look like practically?

For a church, I think it simply means using social media to express and show the good works and the worship that is already going on in community, and to present evidence that your community is alive and well.

Going to a Facebook page or a Twitter account and finding it dormant sends a symbolic message: nothing is happening here. Better not to have a social media account at all (which is a legitimate choice). But an active page can be evidence that your community is a place with life that shows the love of God to each other and those who visit.

A church doesn’t have to create amazing content on its Facebook page that gets shared by everyone. Rather, you can post photos and link to events that show your community is active, and snippets of the prayers the community actually pray every week in its worship services. These should be specific to your church, details that reveal a real place and real people.

This can also mean linking to linking to the other people’s articles and videos that are helpful and life-giving.

Signs of grace. Signs of the life that is already in every church community. Social media doesn’t have to be world changing, but simply reveal a bit of the love and life the circulates in our communities. A sacrament.