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New way to do Church in the age of social media

Social Media and the Gospel
Social Media and the Gospel
Allen Bethea Collage

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The way we do church is in need of a major overhaul. Without a doubt, there are some excellent churches in the Charlotte area, but we are essentially doing church the same way its been done for 2 thousand years. We assemble together in a building. We sit or stand and listen to someone preach to us or teach us the Word of God. We do some form of worship. We give offerings, listen to announcements, and then we leave.

Traditions are not bad per se, but they can sometime hamper the plans of God. Can we truly say that today, we doing church as it was intended by Jesus? First of all, Jesus never uttered the word church. This word is derived from the Middle English word, “chirce”. If Jesus spoke to his disciples in Hebrew, He would have said “hakneset” which meant assembly or congregation. If He spoke Aramaic the word may have been “ knista” which carries the same meaning. Whatever word He used, He was referring not to a building but to a special group of people called out from the world at large. The Greek word “ekklesia” carries this same meaning: a congregation, an assembly, the called out ones.

Jesus said, On this rock, I will build my “hakneset” or congregation of called out ones. This group of people was to be victorious, even over the gates of hell -- the grave. The scripture does not say if Jesus directly prescribed how this assembly was to go about organizing and meeting. It appears that His brother, James, fashioned the gatherings of the hakneset on the pattern of the synagogue system already in place in Judaism. This form of worship was replicated in spirit among the gentile assemblies where ever the faith spread. The synagogue meme was an effective support system which helped the gospel spread world-wide.

While the gospel has spread, can we honestly say the we have the victorious hakneset Jesus intended? What can be done to build and maintain a hakneset that is strong, holy, loving, giving, and righteous? How can we build up a hakneset that exhibits all the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?

An approach I am suggesting would involve the wide-spread acceptance and usage of modern methods of social interaction and dissemination of information. The sanctified use of social media may be the means for the body of Christ, His hakneset, to grow beyond communities, nations, ethnicities, and even languages.

till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:13-16

No doubt there are millions of believers on Facebook. It is a great tool for finding long lost friends and family. Is Facebook the best medium for the hakneset to build community? Rather that try to force Facebook fit our needs, why don't we create and customize our own social media platform? A self-governing and self-determining platform which has as its main objective the equipping of the world-wide hakneset of God.

In the coming weeks, I will explore ways to form such a community for believers in the Charlotte area. I will review free, opensource, social media software platforms such as BuddyPress, Elgg, Dutch, and Diaspora. I invite others with programming and networking skills to explore the possibilities as well so that we might have a stable, effective, and inviting platform for believers to edify each other. I am excited!

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