A Lutheran Says What?

Sermons and random thoughts on God, the world and the intersection of the two

To Facebook or not to Facebook…that is the question? June 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bweier001 @ 1:04 am

So, my 13 year old daughter took off on the church youth mission trip with Center for Student Missions this morning, less that nine hours after I got home from seminary. Tonight, I got a phone call from another parent not on the trip to say that they arrived safely.  Then I was told to call another person and keep the phone tree going.  HMMM, I thought-phone tree in 2010? I asked this parent, who is very involved in the youth program, why doesn’t the youth director send out an email or simply update the  church youth’s Facebook page so that parents can check it out anytime? The reply that I received was interesting…it takes too much time! Really? Two minute status update versus a 20 person calling tree? I understand that internet access can be a problem, but in this day and age someone somewhere will have internet.

How neat would it be for the youth director to Twitter or tweet updates or update Facebook so that parents and others can see the mission work happening in real time? OR…radical thought…allowing the youth to have time to update their statuses with mission work.

Caveat warning!! One would have to have strict rules about posting but most youth would understand this I think. What would be gained by allowing the world to see all of the mission done by the churches young people this summer all over the world?? Would the opinion of teenagers as a whole be altered and enhanced? Would our youth feel connected with their congregation and global church and not leave in droves?

These are all interesting questions that I think we need to consider before we write off social networking for telling your friends what you are having for dinner. Youth already have a sense of the power of social networking but need to be guided with how to navigate this power safely and with a sense of purpose. Connecting with our youth in these cyber spaces can, in my opinion, create a tight and supportive community in their daily lives.

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4 Responses to “To Facebook or not to Facebook…that is the question?”

  1. Mary Hess Says:

    I agree with you — and would point to the wonderful websites like this one, that showcase youth involvement in mission all over the world! Imagine what would it happen if these young people started to connect with each other in ways that were sustained beyond the specific trip. We might actually get beyond what some people call “theological tourism.”

  2. Jeremy Johnson Says:

    What a great thought… Currently, our church has 70+ people on a mission trip and they are posting pics and updates daily to the church’s mission facebook page. People are able to follow the experiences and give feedback and prayer. It is pretty awesome.

  3. Bill R Says:

    Well as I start to reply to posts finding out that the summer is over for the class, I will say that it is nice to read through everyone’s blogs and pick which one to respond to. Why you get this reply is beyond me. Do I keep typing as if this was a conversation? Will I ever get the hang of this new media? Well anyway my contextual church is deciding about using facebook for just the purpose you mentioned in your blog. No one knows where this discussion will end, but it has been interesting that this is not something that a church that is going high tech, texting confirmation students, wants live streaming video, but the idea of facebook just put the breaks on and brings up a lot of discussion. My personal thoughts is that facebook has gotten a lot of bad press and that there will be something to come along shortly to put the bad press behind. Now, as a parent who has a facebook account for this class I will be the first to state, “just call me when the boys are back home and I need to pick them up.” Of course then comes the whole how do we call you if you do not have a cell phone and spend time outside? “Someone once invented this thing called an answering machine, use it!” I am amazed on how many people do not leave messages any more or listen to the their messages. Will the day come when facebook status will go the way of the answering machine? With no one looking at them.

  4. Tracey Gibson Says:

    My oldest son is leaving mid August for 10 days to attend a leadership institute at UCLA. Because of your post I am going to talk with the youth leaders about how they are planning to keep in touch with parents. It would be so nice if they would tweet some of the sessions or even set up a blog. Posting pictures to the website each night and assigning one youth to recap the day would also be a suggestion. The youth more than likely will be updating their face book pages anyway.
    My youngest son was in the hospital for four days. I did not have time to call people I spent my time praying and mediating. I started reciving phone calls from parents and friends and I started asking how did they found out. My oldest son had posted the situation on facebook and was keeping all of their friends up to date. Facebook is powerful and a quick way to get the word out.


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