What does Facebook introduce?

OK.
I’ll admit it.
I might have a problem.
I am in love with Facebook.

It started innocently when I created my profile in 2008 when Joe and I were expecting our first child.  It was a fun way to share pictures, thoughts, and anxieties about this new chapter in our lives with the friends and family we have scattered across the country.  We enjoyed being able to connect with people whom we loved and who loved us back, even though separated across miles.  It seemed like a fun toy, maybe a little bit of a distraction, and with other social media sights around, I had no sense it would become such a big part of my life, as it is today.

I wake up in the morning and part of my routine includes checking Facebook for posts throughout the night.  Which there are usually only a few to catch up on, because one of the last things I usually do before going to bed includes the same.

You and I can agree to disagree on the health/unhealth of my Facebook viewing habits…however, I am in love with Facebook because of the way it helps connect me with friends, family, and strangers around the world.  I believe I am a better Christian because of Facebook.

It’s on Facebook that I hear about votes happening in the state senate of Hawaii to legally move ahead with marriage equality.  It’s on Facebook that I have theological discussions with my brilliant UCC colleagues about the theology of Advent vs. Christmas hymns, safe church policies, power and authority issues in multi-staff congregations, bullies on governing boards, (and these were all just in one week!).  It’s on Facebook that I share prayers of hope and healing with friends I’ve known for years, and others I’ve never met face to face.  It’s on Facebook that I see the links to stories and pictures from the interests of the wide net of my friends, that all remind me of the great diversity, beauty, pain, anguish, and overwhelming grace and love that is our world.  It’s on Facebook that I am introduced to opportunities every single day to more fully and boldly follow Jesus.

I trust that Facebook won’t be around forever.  And I will have to learn a new habit in the future.  But for now, I’m in love with Facebook because it helps me love others and our world more fully and deeply and boldly.

Does your church have a Facebook page?  We’d love to know about it and follow it in the conference office!
Did you know that the Iowa Conference UCC has a Facebook page?  We’d love if you’d “like” it and post your comments, links, pictures, and ideas!

What an amazing world and time we live in…a time when boldly following Jesus sometimes means remembering your login and password!

Many blessings,
Brigit

8 comments on “What does Facebook introduce?

  1. Jennifer C. on said:

    Great post, Brigit! I love facebook for many of the same reasons.

    We have a facebook page for St. Paul Congregational UCC – Oskaloosa

  2. Dean Moberg on said:

    When the subject of a FB page came up for my former parish, my first thought was “Oh no! Something else for the Pastor to do and be in charge of…” Besides I knew nothing about FB. But one of the parishioners said she would be in charge and get it set up, which she did. I figured that if the church was going to have a FB group the pastor should at least have a basic understanding of the “animal”. So I had my daughter help me get set up with an account and suddenly I was hooked…I found it was a great additonal way to get info out about church activities beyond the bulletin and newsletter and I presumed it would connect me as a pastor better with the younger crowd, which it did. I have since moved on to a new congregation but I am still a member of the group and it lets me keep up with the things going on there. Even though I am no longer their Spiritual leader, I still love them all very much and I am still interested in what’s happening there. And as a result of this church activty I am now on FB in several other groups. I find it to be mostly entertaining (Scrolling past the stuff I don’t care about or care to read) and fills the time as well as watching NCIS, Wheel of Fortune and other TV does. I am presently adding friends from my new congregation and thinking we need a FB group for this church as well…This time I will be happy to set up and monitor the page.

    • Brigit Stevens on said:

      Thanks for your comment, Dean. It is a wonderful tool of connection, and it also does require someone to keep it up and pay attention to it when it’s set up for a church. Thank you for raising that issue. It is important to think about how to use this powerful tool for the good of the congregation and community.

  3. David Sickelka on said:

    At the risk of being catagorized as a troglodyte, I put the brakes on at Urbandale UCC when it came to setting up a Facebook page. We had no policies in place as to who had control over the page or what the expectations of staff/volunteers might be when it came to youth ministries and “friending” minors. And speaking as a former interim minister, how will friendships with current members be handled when you are no longer the pastor of this congregation? For those of us who are introverts, can we tolerate yet another intrusion by church members in our private lives? None of these issues should prevent a church from having a Facebook page, but they need to be thought out and anticipated in advance. Urb. UCC does now have a Facebook page and it is being utilized extensively. Go to www.facebook.com/UrbandaleUCC.

    • Brigit Stevens on said:

      I love whenever the term “troglodyte” may be used, Rev. Cave-Dwelling-Sickelka! THANK YOU for mentioning the important and complicated issues regarding safety, ethics, and boundaries in using Facebook as a ministry tool. As helpful and powerful as it can be to connect people, it can also be powerful in hurtful and divisive ways. It’s ubiquitous existence now in our culture has shined an even brighter light on the difficult nature of relationships as we move from one congregational setting to another, and we are clearer than ever that black and white rules about those relationships aren’t helpful, but neither should there be no rules of engagement or connection.

      I’d be very happy to list and promote articles, books, seminars, etc. that you and others have found helpful in navigating this complicated terrain. Please let me know what you find, and I’ll be on the lookout too!

  4. Richard Francis on said:

    Yes, we have a Facebook page! United Church of Westside Iowa. Check us out!

    • Brigit Stevens on said:

      Thanks! I’ve “liked” United Church of Westside Iowa and found out that not only are you selling peppernuts at your craft fair on December 7th, you also have a very handy way of storing coffee carafes! Everyone should take a look at your pics!

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