Over at Church Mag was a post talking about some downsides to using Facebook as the landing site/page for youth ministry activities. There are some good points there, and in terms of general direction, they do indeed make some sense. However, in our comment posted here, we counter-pointed the recommendations made there with a bow to understanding the context of use. Here’s the comment first:
I almost agree with this. Almost…
What’s missing in the article and resulting discussion is the context of the global uses of Facebook. For example, if you are in places where Facebook can be used on a mobile for no costs to the user, and these would be areas where the majority of folks are going online using a mobile, then making FB your website makes a ton of sense, and shouldn’t be overlooked at all. In fact, the expense of making your own mobile friendly site is more, no matter what kind of solution you use there. This happens to be the context for many non-English speaking and FB-using audiences.
On the other side of that, if you can make youth ministry or any other ministry resources available, without the reliance on a social network, or other server platform that you don’t own or can maintain, then yes, it’s a grat idea to not go that route. You can spend that energy on those social networks pointing to your wealth of resources and emphasizing the connections/conversations those services provide instead.
Context is important. Many of your churches need to consider both of my above paragraph as your missions IT focuses need to be different in domestic and international/affluent and non-affluent/mobile and non-mobile contexts.
Context. We said around this point in time last year that context is going to be your most important consideration in the new year (2011) when looking at mobile ministry opportunities. Your mobile or social web engagements rely on you understanding the context of use, environment, people, technologies, etc. You won’t have a ministry solution without understanding this point.
Now, how will that help you with Facebook efforts (referencing this example from the article posted)? Here are some resource items from our Case Studies/Research page worth considering:
- Country-Specific Mobile Web Marketing Guides (mobiThinking)
- Facebook: General/Mobile Statistics
- 2011 ComScore Press Release on Mobile Social Media Growth
See these and other resources useful for crafting and determining your mobile strategy on our Case Studies/Research Materials page.
Now. You can kind of continue to shoot into the dark regarding these matters. But, it does kind of make sense to emulate the activities of those who’s lives we follow (Joshua, David, Paul, etc.) who scouted the land before deciding what and whom they would seek to conquer or influence. Consider the context of what you are trying to do and who will be influenced by it when going online with ministry endeavors. Meet them on their hill, not simply the one where you are comfortable.