What is FACEBOOK and why should you care?

Facebook can help you be a better group leader. Every group leader should get on Facebook, and get your group on Facebook.

How so?

Well, what are groups about? What is the goal? What is the win? What is the purpose?

Can you agree this one is approximately right?

Glorify God by winning people and growing them up in Christlikeness.

This raises an interesting question: how do we do that, and how can Facebook help?

Consider these verses:

Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Col 2:19b
The whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Question: how do people grow?

Answer: together.

People don't grow in isolation from each other any more than a foot can grow in isolation from the rest of the body. (I did a little word study on that first verse above. This may be a bit of a stretch exegetically, but do you know what word we get from the root word that is translated "joined"?

Lego.

As in, Lego blocks. Could we say that a good church or a good group is like Lego blocks, and that just as a Lego block's purpose is to be joined, so it is our purpose to be joined? A bit of a stretch, I know, but I think the point is right.

People grow together. As my hero Andy Stanley says it, "Disciples are made in a circle."

Question: what is connection and how do we get it?

I was taught that there are three kinds of friends:

  • Causal friends; we have lots of them and they are not that important
  • Good friends; we have fewer of them and they are more important
  • Close friends; we have few of them and they are really important. In fact, if you have a few of these, you can live without the rest.

Joseph Myers has a different take on this in his excellent book, The Search to Belong. In it, Myers discusses three spaces, that roughly correspond with what I was taught about friendship.

  • Public space
  • Social space
  • Intimate space

But, here is the twist. Myers emphasizes all spaces are good and we need relationships is all the spaces. It is not that casual friends are just a means to get to close friends; we need both casual friends and close friends. Good friends necessarily come out of casual friends; you can't have good friends who were not for a time casual friends. Close friends come from good friends. But, if a casual friendship never turns into anything more, it is still a good thing.

We all long for intimacy. We want to know and be known. But that is not all we want, and we don't want deep, heavy, personal relationship all the time. Sometimes--in fact, most of the time--we are content to hang out and talk about the everyday things of life. Sometimes we are blessed to have one of those conversations we will never forget. But, in between those times, there is a lot of normal stuff.

This is where Facebook comes in.

What is Facebook and what can it do for your group?

Facebook is social networking. It is a way to connect with new and old friends. It is free (paid for by advertising that is pretty discreet.)

Facebook is like a fax machine. If you were the first guy on the planet to get a fax machine, the machine is pretty much worthless. When one other office gets a fax machine, it is a novelty--cool, but not really all that useful. When a core of offices get fax machines, it becomes really useful. When everybody has one, it is a necessity. Businesses don't ask, "Do you have a fax?" They ask, "What is your fax number?"

Facebook is like that. I have been a member for a couple of years but never really got it until recently. The reason: I was like the first guy with the fax machine. Lots of people were on Facebook, of course, but my people were not on Facebook. Like the first guy with a phone, or a fax machine or email, it is pretty much worthless until you get a network of people to talk to.

Here is what happening today: EVERYBODY is getting on Facebook. It is mainstream. It will soon be as common as email.

It is quick, easy and free to set up an account on Facebook. But, until you get a dozen or more fiends on and connected as friends, it is pretty much worthless.

My suggestion is this. Talk to your group about Facebook. Try to get everyone on. Create a group on Facebook for your group. (This too is quick, easy and free.) Once you get to this point, here are some things it can do for you and your group:

Update your status to keep up with each other. Imagine you could get a brief, one or two sentence check-in with each of your group members two or three times a day. With Facebook, this is easy. On the top of my Facebook screen there is a box that says, "Josh is. . . " I fill that it from time to time during the day. (I do realize this is a lot easier for those of us who spend our lives on computers.) Nothing long, in fact there is a limit as to how many characters it can be.

You can even update this status from your phone, without the Internet. Once it is set up, you just send a text to the supplied number and your status is updated. All your friends will know instantly what you are doing.

It was a little odd to me the first time I did this. I had updated my status to say, "I am struggling a bit writing a lesson on Isaiah."  Several hours later I saw a friend who said to me, "How did the lesson come out?" These are real people communicating real life in a new way. Just as phones and email changed communication, Facebook is about to do the same thing.

Although short, these can be meaningful. Between the paragraph above and this one I bopped over to Facebook. (I recommend you keep a browser open, make a home page and keep it open all the time.) One of my friends wrote, "I am feeling like I am not worth anything." Wow. I paused and as best I could wrote a few words of encouragement:

Sorry you are having a bad day. we all do.

I ran across a verse the other day from Luke 2. Mary is all excited, writing this poem/song. As I looked at it, the reason she was all excited, she says that God, "looked at me." hmmm. That didn't seem all that exciting.

I looked into it more. That same word was used in James were it says, "if some rich people come to church and you look at them. .." (same word)

My application: God looks at us. He is looking at you now. There is a verse in the OT that says he sings over us--like a mother singing lullabies over her child.

I will quit rambling; hope you have a better day tomorrow.

Are you starting to see Facebook isn't just for Geeks?

You can share picture and videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? With Facebook, you can post pictures and videos. Like updating your status, you can even do it right from your phone. See a pretty sunset? Snap a picture on your phone, send it to Facebook and instantly all your friends can see it too.

One cool feature of Facebook is you can tag pictures--your own or someone else's. So, when you send a picture you can say who is in it and if you click on their face, it sends you right to that profile.

It is easy to give a verbal witness of how much you love being a Christian on Facebook

Using your status update, it is easy enough to give a short, "Josh is thinking about how great it is to be a Christ follower." All my friend instantly see that. (Currently a little past 1200 people.)

A word of caution. Be sincere and real. Nuf said.

It is really easy to meet friends of friends of Facebook.

You can't see everything about someone who is not your friend. There is a certain respect for privacy. But, you can see your friend's friends. You can even see how many of their friends are friends of your friends. This is what Facebook is all about.

Do you have some old college buddies you would like to reconnect with? They are likely on Facebook. Start by sending an email to the ones you have. Each of them knows someone else who knows someone else. Put a group together. Start talking. Swap pictures of kids. It is easy, quick and free.

You can send private messages on Facebook

Facebook is really designed to be public--or, at least public to your friends. Every time you add a picture, post a comment, or pick your nose, all your friends know about it if you let them. (Which I don't necessarily recommend. There is a such a thing as too much information. Sometimes, you want to communicate with someone under the radar--privately. Facebook is set up to do that.

You can do calendaring on Facebook

Your birthday will show up automatically. Who doesn't like to receive a birthday greeting? Question: how many in your group got one from you this last year? Facebook makes it easy-nearly automatically. You can even send a gift on Facebook. Now, this is one I don't quite get. There is a cost--real dollars; not some kind of voodoo Facebook Bucks. And all they get is a little graphic. This one I don't get.

You can put events and invite everyone in the group to the event on Facebook. I speak more about this in another place, but my plan for doubling a group works like this: You can double a class in two years or less by inviting every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month. Facebook makes it easier.

I would caution you, however, from relying on  Facebook alone for communicating with your group. Nothing like a phone call that says, "We sure would love to see you at the party Friday night." Facebook is an additional contact, not a replacement contact.

You can do all kinds of things; too numerous to list on Facebook

Facebook is designed to be an open system. As such, there are all kinds of third party programs and plug-ins that extend the functionality of Facebook. More will be added in the future.

Facebook: a real example

Want a real example of how Facebook is being used by one group leader? Consider this story from Chris Forbes' Facebook for Pastors:

 "Rick Presley teaches a young adult Sunday School class in Johnstown, Ohio and nearly every single one of his students is on Facebook.“It’s a great tool for connecting with everyone through the week,” Rick says. Most Sunday School teachers see their class for about an hour a week and that’s it. Facebook allows him to stay in daily touch with a group of students who all attend different colleges, with a variety of daily schedules that makes it nearly impossible to get together through the week. Using the Home page view on Facebook, Rick is able to check on his class throughout the week and see who is talking to whom, what music they are listening to, and what they are doing between Sundays. “Keeping in touch with my class is not the only advantage to using Facebook,” Rick says. “My students have a lot of friends on Facebook who aren’t in our class. Now I have an instant outreach tool. The most obvious are the high school students in the class below mine. By connecting with them on Facebook and adding them as friends, I’ve already begun developing relationships with them before they graduate into my class. And then there are the kids who don’t even go to our church. By checking out my students’ profiles, I already know a little bit about the friends they invite to church before they even show up.”

To receive the whole book for FREE, see http://ministrymarketingcoach.com/free-e-books/

And when you get on FACEBOOK, look me up, I'd love to be your friend, and join my Double Your Class Group. Here is my profile: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=787095401&ref=profile Alternatively, you can search for me by my email address: josh@joshhunt.com

 

 

 



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