I’m starting to get into Facebook. Debbie and I have connected with old friends, our own family, former church members, and lots of new “friends” that we would not have met anywhere else.
As experienced Facebookers know, not only can you find friends online, but you can join causes, too. I’ve joined a few causes, let a few other opportunities slide, and read them all with interest. Some causes are being touted by professionals. I won’t name names, but they’re probably your “friend,” too. That’s the downside of social media — insincere friends trying to get you to do something that benefits them. Actually, that happens in real life to, so maybe this is not so virtual after all.
Another way to identify with your new online Facebook friends is to become a fan of someone or something they’re a fan of, too. Which got me to thinking about the whole missional vs. attractional church debate. Dan Kimball stirred the pot a little with his shot at missional churches that don’t grow. Julie Clawson fired back with her take on the missional scene.
But, what’s wrong with attracting people? Jesus did it. Granted the thousands abandoned him in the end, but they still got fed, healed, encouraged, taught, and loved. Maybe some of them got it later. We don’t know. But, Jesus is the most missional guy I know, and he wasn’t offended when big crowds flocked to him. Of course, he recognized that most of them didn’t get it, but he still did what he could with them.
While there is a big difference in becoming a “fan” of Jesus Facebook-style, and becoming a disciple of Jesus New Testament-style, it’s not a bad thing for people to be drawn to Jesus and his church, even out of curiosity, even for entertainment.
The challenge is leading fans to become friends of Jesus, real friends. After all, Jesus said to those following him, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Maybe starting as a fan can lead to something more. What do you think?