Sunday, July 2, 2017

Facebook Can Never be a Substitute for the Church

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the APEC CEO Summit Session in November (Getty)

Mark Zuckerberg recently stated his desire to have Facebook act as a community for its users, replacing “churches” and “community support groups.”

Speaking at Facebook’s first Communities Summit in Chicago a few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg discussed a number of topics, including Facebook’s new mission statement which was changed from “connecting the world” to a new goal, to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

Zuckerberg stated his desire to have Facebook act as a networking tool to help people connect and develop communities. "Communities give us that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are not alone, that we have something better ahead to work for," he says. "We all get meaning from our communities. Whether they're churches, sports teams, or neighbourhood groups, they give us the strength to expand our horizons and care about broader issues. Studies have proven the more connected we are, the happier we feel and the healthier we are."Zuckerberg says he wants Facebook to meet this need in the lives of many people.

"People who go to church are more likely to volunteer and give to charity—not just because they're religious, but because they're part of a community," Zuckerberg says. “A church doesn’t just come together.” he said, “It has a pastor who cares for the well-being of their congregation, makes sure they have food and shelter. A little league team has a coach who motivates the kids and helps them hit better. Leaders set the culture, inspire us, give us a safety net, and look out for us.”

Zuckerberg seems to have “got religion”; not only has he abandoned his youthful atheism, he can see that religious leaders have an important role in fostering communities; that religious community often have high rates of volunteering; and that the decline of religious institutions harms civil society. This is all true. But Zuckerberg wants to respond by turning Facebook into a sort of community network that can perform the same kind of function. That is, he wants all the benefits of the Church without the one thing that the Church considers to be the most important thing.

Though the Social Media has a role in growing Faith, Facebook cannot be a substitute for the Church. The Bible tells us that we should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10: 25 NIV). What draws us together Sunday after Sunday is our worship, it is gracious when we receive the word, praise and worship God together. This simply can’t be done electronically. You and I hold the most authentic and real gift to offer to the world by sharing our real, authentic stories ourselves.

What do you think? Sound off below!

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