Empowering people. Building community. Healing fractions. YES!
You are probably like me - searching for community and purpose - in a company, sports team, a group chat. I started #mybrightcube - in many ways - as a meaningful community of gradolescents - coming together to start bedroom revolutions and share faith, life and everything in between - as it is.
Zuckerberg wants to fill a void left by declining church membership, by empowering to be active in meaningful communities. Facebook disciples of all nations.
So - is this the new church? Are you compelled by this? Would you be done searching? Would it satisfy your need for community and purpose?
Can a social network community get close to what the church is? Is church just another meaningful community?
I'm a christian and attend church regularly. But - 'attending' church is a weird way to put it. I feel 'part of' my local church. Not part of a building though, part of a body. I believe I have a part to play, a specific purpose given to me - not just by a Facebook admin, but by the creator of the universe. 'Body' is the way this guy called Paul describes it when he writes to people in Corinth. There's a local body, (functioning, serving, living), which is part of a worldwide body - it's beautiful, it's not static or passive - it is focussed on Jesus and relationship with him, sharing life-changing news with everyone, supporting and serving - in everything - it's human, it's spiritual, it's messy, it's difficult, it's profound, it's unconditionally loving, it's forgiving, compassionate, generous. It's something way more than what an experience on Facebook is.
Through example of Jesus, church teaches me about leadership like no other.
Peter Ormerod writes in The Guardian 'a good church is so much more than a social network'. He goes on to write:
'Unlike Facebook, a church tells us that we are not at the centre of the world.'
'Rather than encouraging us to show off our best side at all times, a church compels us to examine ourselves in the round, to face up to those things about ourselves that we would like to pretend aren’t there. A good high church service may be rich in poetry and imagery, offering a taste of the incomprehensible; a good low church service may be disarmingly spare; a good evangelical church service may allow the congregation to slough off their usual self-consciousness and throw themselves into proceedings with flowing emotion. They all offer different ways of being, of opening ourselves up. Facebook meanwhile presents us with impoverished, narrowed versions of ourselves – the version we think most of our friends think we are, all the better for those likes and shares.'
That's my experience too - even if church doesn't get it right all the time. But church is not simply something you experience. It's family - we are bought into the family by Jesus. It's HOME. It's a body. It's the Bride of Christ - loved dearly by Jesus! It's the hope of the world for eternity! Right?
'Churches, at their best, bring us into contact with people we would never think of as friends. There are cliques, of course. But we all come to the same table and drink from the same cup and sing the same songs and say the same prayers. The Lord’s Prayer, after all, is not in the singular, but the plural: “Give us today our daily bread.” It’s a breaking down of barriers, an awareness of mutual responsibility and dependence, a celebration of brokenness. It’s an unsanitised experience of humanity, and all the healthier for it.'
What does the church mean to you? Where does the search for community and purpose end? What vision is the church casting for the world? Is it something more than a meaningful Facebook community?