Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: The Social Church


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

I've managed the online presence for several different non-religious businesses over the years, but just recently took a job at my church, which includes helping with any part of social media I can get my hands on. This is what initially drew me to "The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication" by Justin Wise. I wanted to know how to best translate my skills and knowledge gained from previous experiences over to a strictly Christian atmosphere, and pick up some new information along the way.

I absolutely loved reading "The Social Church," it's a great balance of stories, quotes, analogies, history, facts, and calls to action. I also appreciated how the book is really for any person who wants to combine their faith with the current digital climate. In fact, I would recommend this book to literally anyone, but especially to church leadership and those who see social media as a mission field. While the book is particularly geared toward those in a church who have a direct relationship with or control over its online presence, it is informative and helpful for all Christians.

Justin makes it clear that social media is not going away, which is an important lesson for those who may say or believe that there isn't any place for it in their church. The truth is, there is not only a place but a demand for cultural relevancy in the church at large, and a big part of that relevancy lies within technology and social media. It is important for the church to be present in the places people find themselves the most, and today, that's on some form of social media.

For some, this book may be a tough lesson, but it is also an extremely important one as many churches are sadly becoming obsolete. The time has come for churches to decide, will you embrace these cultural trends with the goal of reaching people, or will you be left behind? Justin makes a compelling case, and a plan of action, for not simply using, but using well, social media for the mission of the church. It's about so much more than being cool and trendy. It's about being co-creators with God in the culture in which we find ourselves.

I am so glad Justin wrote this book as he clearly conveys a message I have hoped and tried to impart to church staff and leaders over the years. When I talk about using social media, I'm often met with glazed eyes, excuses, or non-committal responses. My hope is that this book will impart what I have not been able to, and I will be encouraging all the church leaders I know to pick up a copy. It's a quick, easy read and well worth the time.

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