A Book Commentary By Nikole Hahn
Few books lay the theological groundwork and ask the reader to examine their attitude about social media, such as MetaChurch by Dave Adamson. Like me, he was one of many who sought to help the Church build a digital platform when the world shut down in 2020 and left many pastors scrambling to get something up online.
It’s more than a how-to book on building a digital ministry to reach people and make disciples; it’s helping people recognize that the internet and social media are no longer a broadcasting model but a narrow-cast model because of the one-on-one engagement and interactions with people. In 2018, Hope of Nations by John S. Dickerson was published. The book’s premise discussed how to practice your faith in a post-Christian, post-truth world and the power of ideas. The book identified that, of the 70 percent of Americans who still identify as Christians, only about 7 to 20 percent of Americans are measurably active in the Christian faith. Like Hope of Nations, MetaChurch says, “Right now, the Church needs to be more innovative than ever before, not because of COVID-19 in the world, but because of indifference in the world.”
The word Meta brings powerful feelings of resentment. The book explains in one chapter what Meta means. In short, MetaChurch “…is an expression of ‘church’ that gives meaning and validity to everyday faith experiences—whether they happen in-person, online, on Sunday or throughout the week—and not just those that happen in a specifically designated building on certain days at a certain time.”
MetaChurch is rich with Scripture, practical application, and strategy and is a gift I now give to every church that asks for training from me. It also helps a person form a theological base for their use of social media. It answers the why and is a clarion call to action for the Church to embrace social media and technology as more than a “byproduct” of the “main event.” For anyone who doesn’t know where to start with online Church to complement their in-person experience, the book gives many great ideas:
- Create city groups that meet online and in-person based on IP addresses.
- A sermon Q and A for just the online audience.
- How to properly do a video or podcast for a church.
- A YouTube strategy.
- Jesus asked 307 questions. The book says, “Maybe it’s time we asked a few of our own….”
- Create content around the felt needs or questions people are asking online.
Dave Adamson recently tweeted, “Use technology to invite people to conversations, not just events.”
Technology isn’t to blame for reduced church attendance. Indifference is the problem. Attendance at churches has been dropping since at least 1999 (presumably in the US). I’ve also seen technology before and after Covid contribute to increasing attendance. The key to success in online work is the amount of heart behind the social media strategies and engagement.
The pandemic was an opportunity to accept God’s invitation to do more. MetaChurch asks us to reframe the pandemic from “God, when can we get out of this crisis?” to “God, what can we get out of this crisis?”
Hope of Nations taught the reader to be an ambassador for Christ in 2018. MetaChurch leads the reader in 2022 that unique opportunities exist for the Church to create content that engages with communities. The key is never to stop being curious, don’t be afraid of failure, and commit to being a learner in life instead of holding on to the familiar.
“The mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and make disciples. This mission can be achieved with various models” – Dave Adamson, MetaChurch
Do you have any questions for me? (use the comment section here)
Social Media Challenge:
- Christmas is about four months away. Instead of waiting until December 1 to invite your friends and family to a Christmas Eve service, consider using your social media intentionally in the next few months to engage with one to five people on your followers or friends list. Use private message and your regular posts to form a connection with them. If Christmas is too soon to ask them to come to church with you, think about next Easter. Follow Dave Adamson’s advice and find questions to ask and content to post that answers their felt needs. When you finally ask them to church, send a private or direct message instead of a mass invite. Make it personal and meaningful. Message us on Facebook if you had some success in this.