[Websites are] now the first place a prospective guest visits when he or she is thinking about attending a church. – Rainer
Now some of you may be thinking, “Woo hoo…social media, website, Twitter; what’s the big deal?” I get it. I’ve been there too until recently. I still have yet to jump aboard the instagram bandwagon. The advancement of technology is real. And if our churches hope to avoid fuddyduddiness, we will have to embrace cyberspace.
Now before I go on about the positives, let me address some of the limitations of social media. Technology does not save or improve the message of the gospel. Yes, the world of Facebook is helpful tool for sharing ideas, schedules, and content in quick and direct way. But a website, a Twitter hashtag, and a Instagram account will not in-and-of themselves bring someone to Jesus. Salvation, discipleship, and worship are all still tied to local churches filled with real people. The web cannot replace the human relationships. So then, why worry about websites and social media? Because as the president of Lifeway reminds us:
We miss opportunities to minister and share the gospel when we neglect social media. – Rainer
We should warmly embrace modern media because it’s where people live. Increasing numbers of Americans are married to their smartphones. As they embrace Facebook, Twitter and Google, Americans are abandoning newspaper and magazine in record numbers; and books – well they’re just plain long; they don’t even think about church bulletins. Most everyone wants information that we can interact with now. Not surprisingly the two biggest sources of news in 2014 are Facebook and Google. And Fifty-five percent of Millennials (those born between 1980-1990) are making life decisions based on the websites and blogs (Rainer, 2011, p. 199). If we hope to reach twenty-first century families, our churches have to speak their language: the language of Facebook, websites, and blogs. As one former tech mogul notes:
The Internet is now becoming the funnel into the church. If you are not using the Internet to conduct real ministry, then you don’t exist to the current generation of seekers—two million daily! – Wilson
Today, I am excited to report that FBCE will begin speaking the language of the twenty-first century more clearly. We will be launching a new website hoping to better connect with Eastman. I pray that FBCE’s improved web presence will help facilitate discussions, promote prayer, provide encouragement, welcome visitors, and display the gospel to Dodge County and the world. I invite you to check-out our new site. Good, bad, or ugly, feel free to let us know what you think of it.
Rainer, T. J. (2011). The Millenials: Connecting To America’s Largest Generation. Nashville: B&H