Social media is not inherently good or evil. It is how you use it that counts. This article discusses the various uses of Facebook, explaining that it should not cause disconnection within church life, nor lead to addiction, nor harm the fellowship of believers.

Source: Una Sancta, 2017. 3 pages.

Facebook ... To God's Glory Theme: Technology, Media and Social Media

A colleague commented on the fear that some people have about social media and their reluctance to open a Facebook account. It reminded her of the mid 1970's, when television first became available for our families. At that time, church members debated the pros and cons of having a television. It was a hot issue. People were concerned that television viewing would pose a serious threat to the spiritual well-being of the congregation. Consistories even hesitated to nominate for office those brothers who had purchased a TV. Today, most families do have a TV or watch its programs via the internet. We've come to understand the need for good stew­ardship. What matters is how we use the TV, not whether or not we have one.

In a similar way, we realise that the world of social media is not inherently evil. However, spending too many hours reading and posting messages will lead to problems. Facebook is fast and popular; an estimated 1.94 billion people used its services in March. Checking Facebook is just a part of our regular daily activities for many, it's not a hot issue. Yet, it is interesting to have a brief look at Facebook, while also recalling the early days of TV.

The Disconnect🔗

When television ownership became possible within our churches, initially it resulted in a sort of discon­nect between the members. There were members who readily accepted and welcomed a television into their homes. But, there were also members who strongly opposed television ownership. This latter group often spoke about TV's negative influence and their concern for the spiritual wellbeing of others. Some parents even prevented their children from visiting friends with homes that had a TV. There were two groups. It was a time of 'disconnect' between the members of one church.

Fast forward to today's world of social media, and consider how Facebook has influenced our churches. Unlike the debates surrounding TV, little has been said about having a Facebook account. Rather, it seems like an active church member should have an active Facebook account, if only to keep in touch with others. Nevertheless, what about the members who are reluctant to join Facebook, for whatever reason? Will not those members feel left-out, disadvantaged and disconnected? Although the disconnect of Facebook might seem trivial, whatever threatens to breakdown the communion of saints should not be ignored.

An Addiction🔗

Following the introduction of television, problems with TV addiction also soon appeared. (Smith, 1986). Families discovered that it wasn't easy to turn the TV off. Programs were smartly sequenced to keep the viewers tuned-in. And, church members also fell victim to too much TV viewing. Who knows how many church meetings were missed, due to a TV addiction? Whilst seemingly less concerning than, for example, an addiction to drugs, the spiritual harm caused by a TV addiction is troublesome.

Facebook Addiction is a new reality. A quick google of this topic will uncover a host of websites aimed at helping those who have been caught-up in the fury of Facebook. Michael Poe describes this on his blog, entitled, "7 TellTail Signs of Facebook Addiction". At number seven, he writes,

As you get used to communicating on Facebook via messaging, sharing photos and posts, commenting and `liking' others etc, it may come to a point when you get more comfortable socializing online than offline. You become over-reliant on Facebook to fulfill your social needs and may start sacrificing the time spent on real-life meet-ups for coffee with your friends.

How ironic, that something which is intended to improve our social world, can actually lead to increased loneliness.


When TV first became available in our homes, it wasn't uncommon for families or friends to get together and enjoy an evening of TV viewing. Whether it was an exciting sports event, a special documentary or perhaps an important news report, these were times of fellow­ship amongst church members. Although such evenings might be rare today, back then, the TV brought people together.

So, what does Facebook fellowship look like? One member told me, "Each day, on Facebook, I look forward to Rev. V's meditations!" Another member said, "It's such a good way to share each other's joys and sorrows." And, someone told me, "Without Facebook, I would probably be quite lonely." Clearly, the enhancement of fellowship is also possible through Facebook. We realise that what is put on Facebook, and the kinds of TV programs watched, will be crucial. Angry Facebook messages and inappropriate TV programs will endanger true fellowship.


It's interesting to note how both the TV and Facebook have impacted our churches. At times we struggle to adapt our lives to the changes that confront us. Making the right decision isn't always simple or easy! Yet, the Lord guides us through His Word. Colossians 3:17 states, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

In the first petition of the Lord's prayer, we're instructed to 'hallow' the name of God. Subsequently, we will not post anything on Facebook, nor allow our eyes to see TV programs that will lead us away from God. Lord's Day 47 concludes with these words,

...Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life — our thoughts, words and actions — that your name is not blasphemed because of us, but always honoured and praised.Q&A 122

How blessed we are to be a people who are enabled to support each other through the instruction of God's Word. We belong to Christ, and we share in all His treasures and gifts (Q&A 55). As the communion of saints, we remain duty-bound to use the TV and Facebook (social media) for the benefit and wellbeing of the other members. Such a duty might cause us to join Facebook, or help us to be patience with others who are reluctant to enter into the world of social media. Ultimately, our discussions about social media (including Facebook) must serve to God's glory!

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