Facebook faith - social networking in a faith based community
Lundqvist, K. O. and Lundqvist, K. O. (2009) Facebook faith - social networking in a faith based community. In: 180 Degree Symposium, Andrews University Seminary, 2009, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA.
This paper views the increasing social networking as an efficient emerging ministry to the moveable generation. Through social network such as Facebook, ministry from a pastoral perspective can become more authentic and meaningful. Ministry is relational. Social Networking sites provide a strong platform to being part in other people’s life. Social networking and living online builds community beyond geographical boarders. Young adults and youths digital identity often reflects their faith, this is supported by research which suggests a practice of more openness to share and expose private issues online. Spiritual and religious views are freely shared, creating sacred spaces in the midst of life practising a holistic faith identity in a secular community. Providing a strong platform for information flow, Social Network is attractive in a postmodern society where inviting people to join in events are perceived as non threatening, making church community events transparent and available to people who do not attend church, inviting spiritual friendships and relationships. Social Networking strengthens relationship in a non hierarchical manner and invites the minister into lives where there previously would have been barriers, engaging in prayer and bible study as well as pastoral care through social networking, thus relationships deepens via social networking making people real. It has been observed that, although community building happens on the net, church affiliation loyalty remains to the local community. Therefore presence ministry though social networks emerges as a core form of ministry, where relations to youth who move from local church to university campuses are kept alive. The asynchronous nature of communication within social networking eases the minister in her work. The minister is able to engage with many individuals at the same time. Before the minister could visit one person at a time, now she visits 5-6 individuals at any given time. Therefore social networking not only increases the quality of the work, but also empowers the minister to be more efficient.