In his book, Real Church in a Social Network World: From Facebook to Face-to-Face Faith, Leonard Sweet has zoned in on the situation the church faces today. He has studied the current trends of social media, especially as it relates to young adults, and has discovered that the “social media generation” has a desire for connection, “knowing others and being known,” and this group of 18-30 years-old wants to belong to a community. They are “more geared to direct experience and the relational aspects of life.” This, Sweet says, is not unlike the church, whose members have an “untiring pursuit of belonging and relationship.”
Sweet has several chapters, such as “Faith vs. Belief,” “Following Jesus,” and “A Longing for Love,” that lead up to what I believe is the crux of the book: “The Right Relationship.” He states in this chapter that the soul of the world is relationships and the soul is sick. To save the world, “we need less to be true to our principles” and much more true to our relationships. He further states that “our problem in reaching the world is that we’ve made rules more important that relationships.”
Leonard Sweet ends the book with a chapter titled “Telling a Better Story.” In any class on writing, students are taught to “show, don’t tell.” In other words, show the action through the lives and dialogue of the characters—don’t tell the readers what happened. It is the same principle: Christians shouldn’t tell the story of Jesus as much as they should live (show) it. The challenge lies before Christians. We must “live Jesus” in ways that everyone, including social media “friends,” sees Him.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the sole purpose of writing a book review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”