Three billion people, a burgeoning mass which makes up 40% of the world’s population, use Facebook. I’m a persistent viewer and periodic poster myself. Yet, as I suspect is the case with many of you, I often grow weary of scrolling through digital reams of pictures and text. And though I enjoy keeping up with the good and exciting things going on in the lives of family, friends and others, I’m tired of the political bickering, religious ranting, and selfies of feet on the beach. Nevertheless, I don’t plan to abandon Facebook. I can’t! I won’t! Why?
- It’s free advertising. Conventional advertising, such as radio and newspaper, can gobble up hundreds of dollars in a heartbeat. I looked into billboards a few years ago, only to learn that we could deplete a year’s promotion budget publicizing a single event. Facebook, on the other hand, doesn’t have to cost a thing. I can put up unlimited posts, scheduling their rollout for times when traffic is heaviest. We’d be remiss by not taking advantage of every opportunity to showcase the great happenings in God’s Kingdom and through our churches.
- I’m expanding my ministry. Like Jabez, I’m seeking ways to “enlarge my coast” (1 Chronicles 4:10). Having published numerous books, blogs, and articles, I’ve taken advantage of every opportunity to get the message out. Months before the release of a new project, I begin posting the front cover of the book, along with a brief description of its contents. Once it’s available, I include a link to where it can be purchased. For example, by the time you’ve read this article, it’s probably already been shared to Facebook.
- I’m reconnecting with old friends. Facebook is the medium of choice when it comes to reconnecting with our pals from the past. Since I came to Christ and committed to vocational ministry after my high school and college experience, it’s especially fulfilling to reveal how my life has changed and tell of the great ways God is working.
- It’s a major news source. With newspapers and magazine circulation dwindling, one-third of the population gets their news from Facebook. Phones have replaced newspapers at the breakfast table, even among boomers and beyond. For me, it’s not just what’s going on globally and nationally that interests me, but community and congregation happenings as well. Even before we get a phone call at the church concerning an emergency or sickness it has already been posted on Facebook.
- It’s an additional communication tool. Facebook provides yet another option to connect with people in our disconnected world. A quick note can be posted on someone's timeline for all to see, while private words can be sent through messenger. I’ve been enriched by DM conversations, especially with those in distant lands.
- It brings niche communities together. From time to time, I receive word from my “Preacher Friends.” I like keeping up with other Christian writers as well. There are literally thousands of Facebook groups drawing people together around common hobbies, interests, opinions, etc.
- I can keep up with family. Currently, my daughter and son-in-law are in London. Facebook provides a wonderful platform for keeping up with them. And of course, we love seeing the grandchildren from time to time. I recently found out through Facebook about an ill niece who was hospitalized. I quickly began praying and followed up by phone.
The next time I come down with a bad case of Facebook fatigue, I may have to go on a “Facebook fast” for a while. However, it won’t be for long, because I refuse to quit.
Todd Gaddis served 30 years as full-time senior pastor and is currently interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Statham.