Friday, October 13, 2006

MySpace is the New Mall Hangout

Church Marketing Sucks recently posted an article promoting the use of MySpace as an effective means of church outreach. The article is actually written by Joe Suh, co-founder of MyChurch.org ("not MySpace for Christians"). Suh says,
"Community within church walls is great, but it makes for an easy excuse to avoid outreach outside the church building. The digital world is no different. 80% of church visitors come because they were personally invited by friends. Now we have a fancy term for it: social networks. And now we have an incredible way to engage our social networks: MySpace.com.

"... A year ago, we canvassed church flyers at the local shopping mall. Today we manually post bulletins and church events on Craigslist and blogs. In one year, we’ll be automatically syndicating widgets of the church event calendar and sermons onto MySpace profiles..."
Church outreach via secular vehicles is by no means a new concept and certainly is not without controversy. Of course, there are folks who speil the potential dangers of MySpace (mainly citing the inappropriateness of certain images that may be found therein). On the flipside, there are those who, even with the best intentions, throw all caution to the wind and dive headfirst into the latest means of "making the church relevant."

There are aspects of MySpace that make it far from safe for those of us prone to sin. Yet, looking at Jesus' ministry, He didn't exactly hang out with "safe" people all the time. So can MySpace be a legit means of church outreach, or is it just another way your church becomes relevant relative? Thoughts?

10 comments:

Truitt said...

when i saw the title of this post, i thought it was going to be a link to your new mychurch page. you should use your real name.

van.diesel said...

Ha!

i will fight you...

TheRoyal said...

"..those of us prone to sin.." by that you mean, every human on this planet.

Jason here is my rub. Myspace can be, and ultimately is a great medium/forum for public expression. It is equal opportunity connection that abrogates the "I have worked so hard for 'X' amount of years, and now here is my big break.".

A groupthink with no boundaries [physical, virtual, nationally or internationally] I think to say that due to the "dangers" of a virtual forum we should with great caution, only approach such a vehicle as a means of communicating to the "great unwashed." If we were to follow that logic, then we could go a step further and say why even allow the internet in our homes, with such easy accessability to potential demerit. Would you not go into a down town inner city to stand at the corner and preach the gospel to those who need it because of the brothel across the street?

I am sure to someone who is on the outside looking in, they could view this as we do the baptist church who doesn't allow the beat of a snare because the likes of certain rock bands. I see your point however in that we have to be careful with whom we associate our names with. But to me, most things are useful and have great cause for the Kingdom, and in the case of Myspace, the goal is to reach them for the Kingdom...and with over 5 million aboard the myspace train, a wise man once said..."The fields are ripe for the harvest."

good article btw Ja-sahn

TheRoyal said...

dang, that was long...I apologize...in short Jason, MySpace is the sex. Ok, TheRoyal out!

van.diesel said...

Roy-al wif Cheese,

Well articulated, as only The Royal can. Thanks for droppin yo bomb.

G Cracka X said...

I think that MySpace can be an effective tool in reaching lost people. Certainly caution must be undertaken. I personally am weak, and my flesh is strong, so I made a personal rule only to view the site with Firefox, which allows me (via downloadable extensions) to block pop-up ads, flash and images. MySpace doesn't prevent one from preaching penal substitutionary atonement and the rest, but it allows you to stay relevant to how people (particularly of the younger generation) communicate. In essence, if done prayerfully, one can change the medium without diluting the message (aka repent before a holy God).

van.diesel said...

GCX - well said and much appreciated. and thanks for the shout-out to penal substitutionary atonement. all my boys with the PSA gots to represent.

Joe Suh said...

Hey Jason,
Thanks for referencing the church marketing sucks article I wrote. Nice to see you tossing the ideas and questions we raised around with your readers. Some interesting comments :)

You make a good point about the flipside – one that I often overlook. I'm always quick to remind some of my clean-cut Christian friends who would never step into a bar or club that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes all the time. But there is a danger of diving into a dangerous place for the purpose of making church relative, er relevant. Because Jesus did it, maybe it means we're not capable/strong enough to do it ourselves... Hmmm.

So is my comment longer than TheRoyal's? Hope so... I'm just typing a few more words here to ensure that it is longer. If you can't beat them on quality, beat them on quantity!!

Peace,
joe

ps. Get more of your church on MyChurch.org.

pss. the purpose of the above ps was to lengthen the overall duration of this comment

van.diesel said...

joe - haha! thanks for stopping by. your multiple PS's may have just put you within range of the royal (not always an easy task, mind you).

i imagine the key here - as with many things - is balance. i don't mean that in some vague, mysticismesque way, but in the way that John wrote about Jesus - a man of grace and truth. Obviously, He was able to hang out with the "less savory" folk in society or put himself in "dangerous" situations without falling into sin. i don't think we can simply sit on our thumbs and say "well, since i'm not Jesus, i will/can not do those things." likewise, i don't think we can look at everything Jesus did and naively - or arrogantly - assume we can do the same and always get the same result. certainly, though, there are times and situations where either perspective could be good and true and right. however, i can't really see either one always being a blanket statement for every Christian in every situation. therefore, balance; truth and grace.

is there stuff out on myspace that could be spiritually detrimental to some Christians? absolutely.

but are there not some Christians who have been granted the grace to redeem myspace (or at least portions thereof) for the glory of Christ? no question, and thank God for it.

G Cracka X said...

Whoops, just broke my own personal rule on accident today......was on a friend's computer and pulled up MySpace with Internet Explorer - a dangerous foray......