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facebook – jeremy selfe


Over the years preaching has been defined in different ways from the proclamation of religious or moral truths through speech, writing or through the way we live our lives. Whether preaching takes the form of speech, word, or actions, it has been proclaimed into different social communities throughout the centuries. However, there is one community today that I don’t believe is being fully utilised in regards to preaching. That is the community of Facebook (or whichever on-line social network you are familiar with).

The reality – as my colleagues mentioned one morning tea – is that Facebook has become a social community where we connect with a wide variety of people from different contexts, cultures and beliefs. What an opportunity we have to preach a very important message.

The challenge becomes, how do we do this in a way that captures people’s attention and challenges them, rather than leading them to ignore what we preach on Facebook?

For example, I could easily think of at least five people that come up on my newsfeed who are often ‘preaching’ on Facebook by quoting Calvin, Spurgeon or Wesley with some profound thought or quote. The problem is, the quote can often be so profound and obscure that even myself as a preacher/theologian can have trouble understanding what they are saying. I often struggle to see how the quotes from these people fit into my current day-to-day situation and now I have reached the point where, when a ‘post’ comes up from one of these people, I don’t even read it anymore – I ignore them!

On the other side of the spectrum, there is one young lady who comes up on my Facebook feed who is not a theologian or pastor; she is a nurse in training, and yet every day she preaches on Facebook in a way that inspires and encourages everyone – regardless of what they believe. The only way I can describe her is that she can view her day-to-day life through the eyes of Christ and as she reflects on her ‘normal’ work experiences dealing with her patients at the hospital she has a way of bringing an inspirational revelation about life (she doesn’t always mention God in a post, but He is definitely there). This doesn’t just challenge Christians but as evidenced by reading some of the comments people leave, it challenges non-Christians as well. Isn’t this one of the goals of preaching? That we are helping those around us see the world through the eyes of Christ? And whether some of her friends care to admit it or not, that is exactly what she is doing!

My wondering today is in two parts. Firstly, are we fully utilising our Facebook community as a way of preaching Christ? Secondly, if we are using Facebook to preach, are we doing it in a way that turns people off to our message or are we doing it in a way that encourages, inspires and challenges those around us to see the world a little differently – perhaps, through the eyes of Christ!

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