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GUEST POST: Facebook — Spiritual Dipstick?

 —  August 26, 2009 — 2 Comments

Don’t get me wrong…I like Facebook. A lot. (Although this guy makes some good points!) As a tool for youth ministry, it can be powerful. I love seeing status updates from kids about what they’re doing, seeing photos from school plays or dances and even youth group events. As a youth ministry, we’ve even utilized Facebook to create a Celebrate Youth Ministry group for announcements, events, and photos. And countless other youth ministries and Christian interest groups are doing the same.

It’s great to communicate with kids in a forum that they like, to meet them where they are. According to Facebook’s statistics page, there are over 250 million users on the site (though I can’t be sure how many are students). I love leaving encouraging messages or commenting on their photos or videos. It’s a reminder for them, and me, that youth ministry isn’t just a one-night-a-week thing for me. But it can’t be used to build meaningful relationships. I am convinced that our encouragement, our mentoring, our “doing life together” must be done face-to-face. It’s too easy for our students to hide behind technology. Tim Schmoyer shares a little on Facebook-friendship here.

But it’s also an indicator for where our students are really at spiritually. And honestly, it can be discouraging to see status updates about the latest party or pictures that show too much. But it is a great jumping-off point for challenging discussion with those students that I already have a relationship with.

Becky Albertson is an Administrative Assistant with Celebrate KIDS and Celebrate Youth.

Josh Griffin

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2 responses to GUEST POST: Facebook — Spiritual Dipstick?

  1. I agree with the above. I am a 19 year old student who was part of a youth group and I loved spending time at youth events and such. I agree with you when you talk about pictures from parties that show too much. I see these kinds of pictures all the time posted on the home page of Facebook and it’s sad to see sometimes. I myself don’t attend these types of parties cuz it doesn’t intrest me one bit. If we were to count the amount of hours spent on Facebook a day, we would see that we could be spending our time doing more productive things…what is it about Facebook that is so addicting ?

  2. I totally agree with your third paragraph and am almost jealous of youth ministry 15 years ago. Mainly because youth pastors could have a pure, honest relationship with us. Sure, I’m sure we all hid a bit of who we were, but there wasn’t this feeling of “I saw those pictures of you and am so very disappointed of recent decisions you’ve made”. I really try to make a point of not looking at my student’s pictures. Sure, it is an indicator for some sorts, but in other ways, I’d rather TAKE THAT TIME and really get to know the student and get them to trust me a bit more…and then hopefully the Lord! I’m really enjoying your blog! Thanks so much!

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