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What kind of website would Jesus have?

January 25, 2011

And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
–Matthew 8:20

Christians have this unfortunate tendency to try to armchair quarterback what Jesus would do. It devolved, not long ago, into those “livestrong” style  bracelets that folks would wear with the “WWJD” imprint. I didn’t fall into that trap then, thank God.

But I may now, just for a moment. I’ve been thinking about how we communicate these days, and how churches are trying to stay relevant. I’ve said before (and stand by the fact) that this a great time to be a member of a church, because we are getting back to the faith as it was started; small cells, concentrating on the message of Jesus, working to change the world incrementally. The whole experiment got WAY off track in this country in the sixties and the seventies, with a sort of Bigger is Always Better mentality that led to gross excesses in Evangelism while forgetting that conversion is a quiet, individual thing. I’m grateful that we’re getting back to our roots.

The irony is that we’re doing so in the midst of such amazing technological change. I’m sitting writing this at the end of the day on a computer. I happen to be at home, but I could be anywhere in the world. Churches have this opportunity to get very mobile with the message of Christ. So this is what has led me down this clichéd path, to at last utter the phrase my thoughts are dancing around:

“What sort of website would Jesus have?”

I’ve been to many church websites. They are mostly dated. They are full of last month’s events (or more likely last year’s) and they exhibit a design style that makes craigslist look positively artistic. The way to contact and find the church is often cryptically buried in drill-down menus. As for denominational info? Sometimes hidden even better than current political candidates party affiliations.

I don’t think Jesus would have had this sort of website. I think he would have been lighter on his feet and wider with his reach. Jesus was an innovator, but he took existing methods of prophecy and worked them into his new presentation. Assuming Jesus wanted his message to reach the maximum number of folks, and assuming that the budget remained essentially the same for the Jesus movement today as it was in His day (i.e. nothin’), I think the answer is pretty obvious: facebook.

So that’s what’s driving my excitement over our getting the Franklin Federated Church’s facebook place page up and running. I think this is the right way to communicate the message, at the right budget, hitting a huge number of people. I believe (as hokey as the conjecture is) that Jesus would have used this tool if he had been slated to come spread the Good News in 2011. Since we’ve been entrusted with the work on His behalf, it’s time to get active. I hope this resource is helpful to you as you continue to search for a place to express your faith. I hope it helps you think back to the way Jesus and his disciples spread the message, even as you use these very modern tools. I even hope it adds value to your facebook experience.

Because if it does, you’re going to tell your friends.

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