Book Notes – Follow You Follow Me by John Voelz
I started reading this book at 530am yesterday morning and I have had a hard time putting it down. It really is that good. If you know me you know that I believe Social Media is a gift from God that allows us to potentially reach the World for Jesus Christ. You may also know that I read everything I can get my hands on when it comes to using Social Media and the Church. I am going to make a BOLD statement, this is the best book I have read on the Christian and our use of Social Media and how we relate this usage to the Bible.
Now, that said there are a lot of great books on the topic that I believe we as ministers should read, Len Sweet’s Book “Viral” is a must read in my opinion but it is different from this one.
This book does a great job of bringing to the fore the importance of community and the importance of connection. Of which, many in the church world feel that community is only done in face to face communication. John Voelz in this book challenges that thinking with the basis of scripture and he does it quite well. Now, there will be people who will read this book and still disagree but that is better than refusing to read it because you believe that social media is evil in some form.
Here is a little more about the book.
“The classroom battle cry “Stop passing notes” has become “I’m going to confiscate your smartphone.”
I include this quote just because when I was in school cell phones were unheard of and it was a matter of getting into trouble for passing notes. The quote is a reminder that social media, cell phones, facebook, twitter, etc are here to stay, they are not going away except to be replaced with something that will be even more confusing to those who refuse to learn what is happening now.
There is a good bit of information in the book that entices me to use twitter more in our worship services where I am the pastor. I have wanted to use it before and just really got busy and forgot about the idea, this has been a good reminder. I believe as the book shows, we can allow people to have a part in services that have never before been able to participate. In actuality, worship services as I see them should be more interactive than they are today and have been for many years. I don’t believe that the typical church is designed really well when everyone is looking at the backs of others, most churches are not designed for fellowship. (My thoughts, not in the book)
“In corporate worship environments, people need to be made aware of the rules. Social Networking in church is only out of line if it is understood that it has no place there. If you desire to create an environment where Social Networking is acceptable as part of the experience, you will have to educate your people so they know it is appropriate.”
This is a great place to start with social media in the church. There is nothing wrong with social media in the church. It is no different than having hymnals, multi media, etc. However, we will have to educate people in established churches about what we intend to do with this media and how it will be helpful. This has been an easy task where I am currently serving as the pastor because I helped plant the church and I essentially pastor a group of 300 plus people through social media throughout the week and we are being very fruitful with it. It was not this way in the church where I served full-time before. It is going to be like introducing anything else that is new and different. Sometimes a battle but I believe it is one worth entering.
“To use or not to use Social Networking in church is a question of methodology, not theology.”
Take this statement or quote at face value. John does an outstanding job of making this point in the book.
“Social Networking is not a fad. It is a new way of communicating. Whether your church is a forward-thinking midwestern church, you live on one of the coasts, or you belong to a small passive congregation, this new way of communicating is affecting you, your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, your real estate agent, and everyone you are called to love for the sake of the Kingdom. They are speaking a new language. It is a default language. You may not become fluent in every situation overnight. But you need to learn it.”
Nuff Said about that!
There are plenty of good suggestions on how to use and how not to use social media. Fair warnings about the possibility of losing your job due to posts. Advice on how to keep your kids safe as well as yourself and it is not as scary as you might think. There is a great piece of the Book of James and how we are drawn away and enticed by our own lusts. Only here you learn about “Baiting your own hook.” It’s worth the price of the book and there’s a sermon series you could do on “Baiting your own hook.”
Here is one of my favorite nuggets from the book. I cannot be everyone’s buddy but through social media, I can be everyone’s friend.
I love it. I give this book 6 out of 5 stars, lol but seriously, it is that good and that helpful.
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