I think the real question here is not, “Can we be social online?” The answer to that is obvious. I have created quite a few friendships on Twitter, that are very real. We give encouragement to each other daily. They pray for my prayer requests, I return the favor. We have good conversation. But I wonder if the conversations we have will ever have any effect on the WORLD.
Every Wednesday at my church, we have a staff meeting. We pray, we study the Word and we have conversation on what’s happening in our church. And I have no doubt that we’re changing at least Pineville.
I see the physical and spiritual effects of what my Church is doing, but what are we doing on Twitter? Is it simply a “Holy Huddle”?
Can anything be accomplished by people coming together on Twitter?
With that said, I’m have a lot of friends who are #OutlawPreachers and I read their tweets and they offer real encouragement to each other. You could call what they have real community. I’m thoroughly impressed by the love they share for one another. It’s inspiring.
Now, there is another online community that is not Christian, but they work to end world suck. I got caught up in a youtube channel called VlogBrothers in 2007 and have watched every single episode they have done in the past four years. They have created an online community called NerdFighters. They raised over $100,000 for charity in December of last year. Did you catch that? They raised $100,000 for charity in about a week of fundraising and they are not an evangelical organization… They are simply a group of people who have a few things in common and they are changing the world.
So, can online communities take place of social community in real life?
I don’t think so. There are some good that they can do, but they can never be your “church”. I’m not diminishing the good that Outlaw Preachers and Nerdfighters have done, but I urge you to get plugged in to a local community and serve there as well.