There are over 350 million active Facebook users and 70 different language translations. More than eight billion minutes combined are spent on Facebook per day worldwide. Of the 350 million Facebook users, 5.4 million of them claim some denomination of Christianity (Zuckerberg 1). Facebook has been knocked by the media for issues such as online predators, hackers, and low productivity. A bigger issue to be concerned about is the overuse of Facebook replacing the imperative physical relationships we need to fellowship with each other. It is a sad truth that we are so busy we cannot find time to carve out an hour in the week to go to church. Out of convenience, more people turn to Facebook as a place to spill their frustrations and praises to the status update question: “What’s on your mind?” If people are confessing and fellowshipping on Facebook, what is the job of the Church in the virtual world? Although the overuse and abuse of Facebook has negative outcomes, it is so widely used that it makes a strong evangelical tool for Christians to connect and encourage each other as well as reach out to others in need.
Facebook is used all over the world, so it is easy to connect with friends and family who do not live close to you. For example, a friend of yours is having a hard time, and you really want to be there to help them. The problem is they live on the other side of the country. It would be illogical to drop your job, school, and family to fly across the country for a few days. This is where the convenience of Facebook comes into play. You cannot give a friend in need a “virtual hug” and expect the same outcome as a physical embrace. You can however give them words of encouragement on their wall or keep up with their lives and pray for them when you see a negative status update. It is a simple way to care for a friend when meeting face to face is not an option. As Christians, we are called to lift each other up and encourage one another. If you take a look at your news feed on your home page, there are probably a good number of your friends in need of prayer and encouragement (Rand1).
With regards to this, it is important to remember that Facebook can never replace human contact. Minister Glen Guyton says this in a CBN News interview, "I think it's a good way to connect, pull together and follow up with young people, but it could never replace a face-to-face conversation. You still have to talk to people and develop a relationship with them. Online, you lose something in translation, like touching someone and the laying on of hands [when you pray for them]" (Gosier 3). As humans, we are created by God to be in relationships with each other; He made us to respond to physical contact. If you solely rely on a social networking site to do all of your socializing, then you are going against the way that God has created you. Using Facebook is all about balancing virtual and physical relationships with those around you.
Although we can use...