Elizabeth Drescher: Facebook Doesn't Kill Churches, Churches Kill Churches

Elizabeth Drescher: Facebook Doesn't Kill Churches, Churches Kill Churches March 17, 2011

Elizabeth Drescher has a great post at Religion Dispatches, riffing on Richard Beck’s excellent post about Facebook killing the church.  Money Quote from Drescher:

Not Enough Social to Go Around

The relationships among the undergraduates in Beck’s research were not formed on Facebook, they were enriched by students’ continued digital contact. The problem with regard to churches and other religious communities (and we see this over and over again with Facebook group pages whose only visitors are the minister and the technophile parishioner who championed the church’s foray into the digital domain) seems to be that there’s not enough social to go around.

That is, if church were, indeed, a robustly social experience, Facebook would enrich and extend that experience, enhancing week-to-week retention through ongoing conversation with valued friends—just as it appears to do with undergraduates moving from the first to the second year of college. Thin connections in face-to-face settings are not magically transformed by technology.

via Facebook Doesn’t Kill Churches, Churches Kill Churches | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches.

In fact, this very point was made by Mike Baughman at the Social Phonics Boot Camp last week in Dallas, when he challenged the group about how Facebook is actually picking up where the church dropped the ball.

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  • I have just begun to teach this very perspective (of Drescher) within my Baptist circles here in the South (not SBC – CBF). I am a grad student at Quinnipiac U (online), receiving my Masters in Interactive Communication. As I read of cultural, societal and global shifts in communication – and thus our ways of thinking, I am struck by the parallels of the church’s struggles to be relevant and relational. What the world of business/advertising/marketing is learning, the church should be as well. I am hoping to get to the MN Summer Camp and hear more of your thoughts on this as I process my own. I plan to focus on this crossroads – attractional model vs interactive communication model – for my master’s project.

  • “you have to preach with the Bible in one hand and Entertainment Weekly in the other”

    trying to imagine these sermons. not sounding like the place for me.

  • I don’t really disagree with the premise that Gen Y has found interconnection in a way different than Gen X (or other generations). And I really liked the counter-challenge to the church (to offer deep interaction in person). My addition here would need to be around the church offering a faithful social interaction…social interaction without purpose (I would say mission in the case of the church) isn’t really much of anything.