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What Facebook Knows that Churches Don’t

RJ Grunewald
RJ Grunewald Wednesday March 21, 2018
<? echo $type; ?> What Facebook Knows that Churches Don’t

In early January, Mark Zuckerburg made an important announcement regarding changes to the Facebook Newsfeed:  “We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.  I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” According to Zuckerburg and the Facebook team, “public content is crowding out the personal moments.”  Memes and viral videos are getting in the way of relationships.  

Facebook changes something every couple months. The design, the newsfeed algorithm, the relationship with advertisers—this change is different. There is a clarity around the priority of relationships and reducing the content that gets in the way. In 2018, Facebook is clarifying the win: meaningful interactions.  

The win isn’t viral videos. It’s not the best cat memes or political campaigns. It’s not the growth of brands, pages, news, or even great content. The win is simply meaningful interactions.  Content delivery is taking a backseat.  

[bctt tweet=”The win is simply meaningful interactions.” username=”orangeleaders”]

What if our churches had this same kind of clarity? 

The Church has always, at some level, been in the content delivery business. From writing to teaching to preaching, Churches have something to say. It’s part of what it means to be the Church. However, the problem comes when our churches make content delivery the win. When content delivery is the win, we build events, programs, and messaging simply to deliver the most content to the most people. When content delivery is the win, we focus on what instead of who. 

The win in the Church isn’t delivering the right content. The win in the Church is meaningful interactions. 

A clear and engaging preacher is insufficient if small groups can’t have meaningful conversations about the message. It doesn’t matter how well informed parents are about upcoming events, if they aren’t engaged in meaningful conversations with their kids. It is irrelevant how well we can teach what the Bible says if kids and teenagers don’t have interactions that help them feel like they belong.  

Think about it this way:  

You can have the best communicator stand up and give the most compelling proclamation of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but it will never compare to the small group leader who looks one of their few in the eye to share with them that Jesus will never leave them or forsake them. It will never compare to the small group leader who has a one-on-one with a teenager who just made the worst decision of their life and reminds him: “Jesus forgives you. And He won’t ever stop loving you.”  

Both might use the same content, but the meaningful interactions change the way the content is heard.  

What if in this case, we followed Facebook’s lead?  

Meaningful interactions is the win.  

It’s what leads to the life-change that we pray for. It opens the door for kids to be reminded that Jesus is with them when no one else is. It creates the opportunity for a teenager to be told they’re loved and forgiven by Jesus when they feel like no one else cares. Meaningful interactions don’t happen from the stage, they happen in relationships. When we get that, it will change what we do for families.  

Facebook gets it, does the Church?  





RJ Grunewald is a NextGen Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Troy, Michigan. He’s the author of “The Art of Law & Gospel” and believes that theology isn’t meant for the academics, but it’s meant for everyday life. RJ’s writing can be found at rjgrune.com. RJ has been married to his wife Jessica since 2007 and they have 3 kids.