Facebook and Twitter in Church?

Facebook and Twitter in churchWe’ve talked a bit about hosting online events, but what about using real world events as online events?  Should churches allow or even encourage members to use Facebook or Twitter in the church?

It’s a tricky question.  For some the answer is easy.  It’s a worship service and is no place for things like Facebook and Twitter.  I absolutely agree that if having people using Facebook or Twitter during the service becomes a distraction or is preventing people from worshiping, then it shouldn’t be done.  But can church members use Facebook and Twitter during a service without it being distraction?

Many churches provide places for people to fill in notes during the sermon.  If that is acceptable, would tweeting those same notes be acceptable as well?  If I’m taking notes during the sermon, but I’m just doing in on Facebook instead of on a sheet of paper, is that somehow bad?  I can see how that could actually be much better.

1. I won’t loose the notes.
I can’t tell you how many times the notes I took during the service “disappeared” before I even reviewed them.

2. I don’t have to save the notes.
If the notes are on paper, they take a physical space and are a pain to keep track of, not to mention find when I want them.

3. The notes may be helpful or meaningful to someone other than me.
If I take notes on a piece of paper, then the notes are really only going to benefit me.  If I post my notes to Facebook, then all my friends see the notes.  Whether my friends are in the service or not, they may benefit from reading those posts.

4. It gives non-church members a glimpse into the church.
Many people have preconceived notions about what happens within a church.  If they have never really gone to church, then they may have gotten ideas from TV, movies or friends.  If they have gone to church, they may think that all churches are like the church they experienced.  By posting notes and maybe even pictures or video, non-church members are able to see a little of what the church is like.  Hopefully, that will make them more interested in visiting.

Honestly, I’m not sure whether I like the idea or not.  I can see several potential benefits, but I can also see how it would be easy to get distracted and I think there is an attitude of worship that should be maintained during a worship service.  Perhaps if there were guidelines like asking people to only post during the sermon and asking that they not allow themselves to be distracted by other people’s posts.  Perhaps there is no right answer and it’s something that each church needs to decide themselves.  Whether you like the idea or not, I think it’s worth having the conversation about it.

So, Tell Me What You Think.  Like I said, I’m still working through this myself and I would love to get your input.

Do you think it’s ever appropriate for church members to use Facebook or Twitter during a church service?

If you think there is a time when it’s ok, do you think there need to be guidelines?  If so, what guidelines do you think there should be?

Photos by hoyasmeg and icon texto

Thank you in advance for your responses.

About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck

One Comment

  • I had a question that came to me in my Facebook profile from someone who got the impression I was suggesting it may be good for people to just surf the web while in church. That's not what I'm suggesting.

    I'm thinking of it as posting comments / notes to your profile during the service. Something like,

    "Romans 3:23 – All have sinned… Who are any of us to look down on someone else for their sin. Humbled."

    So, it's not a matter of encouraging people to surf the web which I agree would be totally inappropriate, but more posting things God is revealing to them during the service.

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