Soon we may not be able to find a church made of brick and stone. The lot where our neighborhood church once stood is now filled with large two-story homes with three-car garages and no front yards. The church buildings in the next neighborhood have all been torn down. Nothing remains of it. Now it’s a neighborhood park where all the parents bring their dogs, cats; perhaps even some children.
What’s even worse? We never even noticed. That’s right. We didn’t even notice the churches being torn down; replaced with homes or dog parks. Why didn’t we ever pay attention when the church we grew up in; attending with our parents, placed a giant “For Sale” sign near it’s once busy chapel entrance?
We were simply too busy to notice. Our faces were buried in our iPhones and androids; our tablets and smart watches. We were in too much of a rush to get to work or get back home. What made it worse was that we left for work before the sun rose and we don’t get home until after the sun sets.
We’re too busy working; too busy fulfilling the life of drones and worker-bees. It doesn’t matter if we are employed or our own boss. Many of us know that being our own boss is most often more time consuming and strenuous that working for someone else. With each passing day, week, month, and year, more and more of our mid-aged lives are consumed with working.
Little time is left for family let alone attending a church service; or even noticing that the church is no longer there. Does this mean nobody believes in God anymore? Does this mean nobody reads the Bible anymore? I hear that we are leaving our churches by the thousands each year. Is the era of “the church” coming to a close?
Civilization thrived long before the church ever existed. We will thrive long after it’s gone; not likely. When the church begins to disappear; we should be very weary. As with a calm before the storm apostacy will indeed usher in the beginning of the end.
Today we live in a post-Christian world. Soon we will be living in a post-church world. No. There will never be a post-church world. As long as we and our generations fill this earth the church will be present. We all know that a building doesn’t make a church. The church lives within each one of us; within each believer. For as a believer exists the church will exist.
Here we are now, in the 21st century. Now we have the internet. Now we have social media; Facebook, Instagram, and Google. We even have the founder of Facebook recently declaring in some form that he wants to make Facebook our new church community. Can it be done? Can Facebook replace our churches; our face-to-face fellowship?
Though perhaps a noble thought on some level; No. I don’t believe Facebook will replace our churches. Until Christ returns the church will exist. While Facebook is certainly a place where people from around the world can chat, discuss, debate, and share the gospel, don’t be quick to post that For Sale sign.
I admit I have Facebook up on my computer a lot; everyday, often all day long; in the background. I do spend an extraordinary amount of time at my computer; and online studying, researching and writing. While I am an ordained minister, I do not seek to use Facebook as a medium to be an online church.
My online focus, other than research, study & continuing education, is to promote and facilitate Bible study. Though they may be out there in cyberspace somewhere, I have personally not come across any “Facebook Only” churches.
I have visited or joined a number of Christian religious groups on Facebook, but have generally dismissed most if not all of them. I found them to be filled, for the most part, with people speaking and lecturing as if they themselves were present when the Bible was written; actual witnesses of Jesus or His disciples, or at God’s right hand when He spoke. Harsh? I’m sure it is. But, the truth. Sorry, someone must say it aloud.
I really enjoy discussing the Bible, and on occasion debating the Bible with people online. I will however turn a deaf ear to those speaking as I previously described. While I am not the sharpest knife in the kitchen, I can say with confidence, that the apostle Paul is not alive and living well on Facebook. Neither are Peter, James, John or the others. Therefore, I don’t have the time, inclination, or even the energy to engage these people online. Please don’t speak to me as if you’re God’s personal right-hand man or woman.
I truly believe that Facebook can be used to spread the gospel; to spread Christ. I believe it can be used as a tool for Bible study. It certainly is a place where Christians (as well as Jews, Muslims, and others), can share their personal lives and thoughts about Christianity and Christian living, but will it ever replace our churches? I wouldn’t count on it.
The church cannot be four walls and some stained-glass windows. We are the church; the body of Christ. (Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:27, Eph 4:4, 1 Cor 12:13, Gal 3:27) As long as We keep Christ alive in our own hearts, the church will exist. It doesn’t matter if we meet in a church building, a diner, home, or office. The church does not live, the church will exist wherever the believers are.
Facebook is certainly a tool to be utilized in the work of God, but it is only a tool; just as a telephone or a cell-phone is. Christ died for us in public. We should live for Christ in public and that includes utilizing Facebook.
I have seen many churches share their Sunday sermons on Facebook, but let’s not oversell it even as a tool, it is not a church. It will not replace church. I have seen organizations try their hands at offering church services online. They don’t last long. Sharing a church sermon on Facebook is quite different from a religious organization trying to offer online church services.
Notwithstanding Facebook sending me a pancake breakfast via the mail or drone, an online pancake breakfast (with sugar fee maple syrup) isn’t going to be very satisfying. I will have no fear of Facebook taking over the church or filling that emptiness one might have.
If you’re one that goes to church every Sunday, don’t give it up. If you’re one that meets at your local church in the evening for midweek Bible study, please keep going. And if you are seriously feeling the need to see Facebook as your church, I would simply ask that you turn off your computer, get outside, and take a deep breath. While Christ can be found in many places, for believers He will always be closest right in your own hearts. In other words, you will never have far to go in search of Him.