What Facebook Movies Teach Us about Doing Church Better


What Facebook Movies Teach Us about Doing Church Better

I have been sucked into the Facebook vortex...again. 

If you don’t have Facebook – peel away a friend from her computer (avoid doing this with a stranger) and check it out.  I have been engrossed watching my friends’ (and surprisingly I have two of them) Facebook “movies” that are FB’s big 10th anniversary present to us – the very people whose data FB has been mining all these years.  Thanks Facebook!  But despite the mind-numbingly pleasant and tear-jerking background music (what if the tune was “Turkey in the Straw”?) – I feel drawn to watch these one-minute retrospectives.  It’s as if I am hypnotized.

But why?  Why in the heck are so many of us almost magnetically drawn to these little FB creations? And what can it teach us about the church?

-    We are asked to get involved – but just barely.  By merely clicking a little button, I can look at my video and it magically appears.  And one more click and the world sees it.  Are there people you have overlooked who might want to get their toe wet by getting a little involved in church?  

-    Facebook “gets us.”  In my video, they have picked out posts and pictures that have been important to me.  Even the photo of the massive potato I grew this summer says something about me (forget that photo of my kid winning “American Idol” – potatoes rule).  And yes, I know that all my images were pre-selected by me – that’s the weird part – I give FB credit for knowing me.  Do people in your congregation think you understand them?  If not, what can you do about it?

-    It makes us feel good.  Now church shouldn’t necessarily be in the business of making people feel all warm and mushy.  Jesus says way too many hard things for that.  But really, once in a while, feeling good is a way for all of us to face the more harsh realities of life.  What are you doing to make your congregation glad to be in the pews?

-    We are surprised and impressed.  Both of these are closely related.  Even though I can be snarky about the FB movies – I am nonetheless surprised that these videos can even be made.  I wasn’t anticipating doing something that was fun and touching at the same time.  FB exceeded my expectations.  Have you recently surprised your congregation?  If you are going to surprise your people, make it good…that means thinking about what will have them saying, “Wow.  That was cool.  Nice job, church!”

There are many things that you don’t want to learn from Facebook – but that’s for another blog.  However, sometimes the Spirit can work in mysterious ways.  Let the FB videos teach you a thing or two about how you can relate more effectively to your congregation.

P.S.  Don’t forget…Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Take a moment to think about sharing the love with your congregation through… a card?  Chocolate?  Flowers?  Balloons?  Have fun!

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing.   Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations.  She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012.  Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation.  You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.