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Christian Social Networks and Private Community Sites

As we’ve begun to look at numerous Christian Social Networks and Private Community Sites there is one test that easily distinguishes two paths that make a large difference in whether a Christian should use them:

Does the Social Network focus on the Community over the Cause?

Let me give two private Community Network examples:

Community-Focus: I demoed one private Community Network product that is set to be released later this year. In this product they pulled numerous ‘widgets’ into the framework to allow people to stay logged in and never leave. There was a tremendous effort on building community, including social activities for church members. This product will probably be quite successful in terms of use but I believe they will end up with a Christian ghetto where people aren’t led to be on mission.

causesocialnetworking

Cause-Focus: I demoed another private Community Network that would not allow you to create a Group unless it was (1) a real group that met physically and (2) if it was a social group it needed to be for the purpose of mission. If an event does not occur (or if there are no needs posted) a flag appears questioning if it is even a real group.

Cobblestone: As we launch this product we definitely are driven by our Calling by God that leads us to be on mission to the world. We want to see the activities within Cobblestone be about creating opportunities for mission that would be pushed out to Facebook and other 3rd party sites. If you have a basketball group in Cobblestone it should be a place for prayer and encouragement to represent Christ on the court but more importantly it should be pushed outside of the system to invite others.

Social Network Example: There are a few Christian Social Network sites as well. How should Christian Social Networks lead people on mission (the “cause”)? In our Church Website research there are a lot of Christians who use websites for discipleship and to facilitate their evangelism efforts. On our study, 73% said the church website was somewhat to very important in sharing their faith with others (friends, business colleagues, others). These social networks should focus on these causes (as opposed to just being a ‘social place’ like a Facebook or Myspace knock-off) to equip believers for the work of the ministry.

(Shape the future of Church web strategies, take the Church Community Network Survey.)

What are your thoughts about Christian Community & Social Networks?

7 Comments

  1. Drew just curios is there a particular program you use for your pictorial explanations of things? Are there some you’d recommend?

    I liked you elders diagram and leadership diagram, and several others

  2. I used a very advanced design and illustration program called Word. 🙂 How sad is that.

  3. Believe it or not, I created a business plan for my social network back in 2003, but it was not supported until after the big myspace wave. Our efforts are to create a community that allows Christians to get understand their purpose, and the focus on Kingdom Building. It seems to me that the fact that the Christian body is so divided, that we need to concentrate on our unity, before we go out unto the masses. Drew I would love for you to assist us in these efforts. So to answer your question more clearly, Christian social networks are very needed in the body of Christ.

  4. Sorry for the typos….tried this from my phone..

  5. Lance Bauslaugh

    April 3, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Drew, Great post. I am excited to move forward with you on the next phase of the survey.

    Lance

  6. I tend to agree that we as Christians don’t need or want a Christian social network. In fact, there are so many instances where churches are looking to use social networking for communications, logistics, planning, etc. when that’s not at all what social networking is intended for. It’s intended to “network”.

    When you’re in a church and are involved in various ministries and groups you don’t need to network with these folks, you need take care of the business of being a member. You need to plan, share a calendar, get reminders, have discussions and generally be accessible to each other. Technology and the internet is perfect for that! It’s not about social networking. It’s about giving the groups in your church and other organizations a place for them to connect, share information, share ideas, plan, and again, be accessible to each other. This takes the burden off the administrators of the organization, by empowering the groups to connect and get things done on their own accord!

  7. >>It seems to me that the fact that the Christian body is so divided, that we need to concentrate on our unity, before we go out unto the masses.

    LeBarron, the Christian body has been divided for nearly all of its 2000 years. If we wait until the church is more unified “before we go out until the masses” as you suggest then we will never go.

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