Want to stay in touch with your local (or far-flung) children, grandchildren, siblings and friends? Want your church to have an expanded reach?
Where are 75-80% (or more?) of these people “hanging out”, for some period of time, on a daily basis? The answer: Facebook.
I have to confess. Until recently I despised Facebook, considering it a complete waste of time. I’ve been “in this camp” with many who feel the same way. That is, we really don’t care that someone just…never mind, I won’t get into the many ridiculous “updates” that we’ve all read that someone felt compelled to “post to the world.” Not to mention, the many (let’s just say) “inappropriate” postings that we have cringed at, actually feeling sorry for the person who would post such a thing. What were they thinking?!?
Sounds like the last place we’d want to be. Or, does it?
Question: Would Jesus “be there?”
You know the answer. That is EXACTLY where he would be, reaching out to, serving and loving the lost.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” ~ Matthew 9:37-38
Time for a reset in our thinking. What if we considered Facebook (and other social media) “fertile fields?”
We would follow His lead and “go there.” How do we do this? If you haven’t yet signed up for Facebook – do so! It is simple and free. Then, search for (“Find Friends”) your family and close friends and send them a “Friend Request.” And, once you get there you may find a number of “Friend Requests” already waiting for you from your friends and family. You are off to a good start!
You now have options for how to leverage this tool. Below are just a few “basics.”
- You can “check-in” on a periodical basis to see what people are up to by viewing their posts. You’ll see pictures and videos of your kids, grandkids, family and friends. “Most” are good – even touching. Staying at this stage, however, is what some would call “lurking.” :-)
- You can share your own updates and/or words of wisdom, such as a quote of the day, etc. that could benefit the “general audience.”
- You can promote happenings you are excited about (“Hey folks, here is what is happening at our church this weekend.“).
- You can organize gatherings and manage RSVPs using the Events feature. Then, as the event unfolds and after it completes you can upload photos and videos to share the memories.
A key point to reinforce – If you try this out, remember to (in the words of our BAFTA group): Be a friend to all!
Please, please, please DO NOT USE THIS AS A PLATFORM TO HAMMER ON PEOPLE. Especially, after your “first” SHOCK from what you may see posted. If you do, they will simply use the opposite of the “Friend Request” and “Unfriend” you. You’ve then lost someone that you just might have otherwise reached…
Relax, your tender eyes can take it. Just be there and be a friend.
You may notice, over time, that by your very presence they will (hopefully / gradually) clean things up. My response to this was posting an article on my personal blog reinforcing the importance of being careful of what we say (and do) online. You can feel free to share this with others who would benefit…
In closing, I’m now (just beginning) to use Facebook as a means of engaging with far-flung family members (son in college, nieces, nephews, etc.) by sharing “words of wisdom” that I hope will help them (and others) – on their path. That said, you won’t find me commenting about my morning coffee, gardening or lamenting about the plight of the world. What you will find me doing is sharing ideas and positive input!
Note: I am still pretty much a Facebook novice, so if anyone has thoughts on how to best leverage this tool or to correct me where (not if) I’m wrong, please leave a reply!
One point I was reminded of, after drafting this post, is that many teens have moved on to Instagram and Twitter, since “older folks” are increasingly using Facebook. I have no experience with these tools (yet?), so feel free to sow these fields and come back to leave a comment on what you learn.