Pastor uses social networking to reach congregation

Good things not used in a godly way are the most dangerous threat to Christians, according to the pastor of First Baptist Church in Wolfforth.

With that in mind, Jason Thompson, 33, set up a blog and a Facebook page. He said he hopes it helps members to remember they can lead their everyday lives while following Christ.

Ideas for blog posts are plentiful, Thompson said, but finding time to post is not.

“If you’re just aware of culture, there’s more than enough ideas to blog about. Picking one is sometimes more difficult,” he said.

Thompson doesn’t just use his blog to sermonize. Many of his posts consider the impact of using Internet tools for a higher purpose, and the effects of social networking on Christians. Thompson produced a five-part series in June ending this month over social networking in churches, including one part written by a mother and associate professor at Texas Tech who is a member of the church.

The pastor’s series focuses on weaknesses of social networking, such as the possibility that it promotes weak conversations, as well as its strengths for Christians, such as its potential for sharing the Gospel and for staying in touch with both family and church family.

“I never did Facebook until I moved here, because all my family is in the Midwest, and all my friends. So Facebook became a necessity to me” to stay in touch, said Thompson. As he started using it to communicate with people in Wolfforth as well, he realized it can be used to build a community of people, although “not (a) very deep community.”

Even though he said the communication on Facebook is somewhat shallow, he said it does offer him opportunities he might not otherwise have.

“I have conversations with people on Facebook that I would probably never have with people” outside of the Internet, he said.

Thompson usually posts the title of his sermons before he preaches on Sundays, as well as the chapter and verse of the Bible where the message centers. To his surprise, people have been looking up his status update prior to the Sunday service and reading the biblical passage to mull it over before he begins to preach. And when he has not posted the sermon title prior to the service, he usually has comments prodding him to do so.

The pastor said he is unsure of the impact of his blog and Facebooking on his congregation because it is still relatively new. The blog was started when the site was revamped within the past year. Thompson has been at the church one year.

I think it definitely has started more conversation,” said Thompson, noting the conversations are often about being a Christian and dealing with current issues. Thompson said he preaches that although his congregants should go through their lives and their jobs during the week, their mindset and motivations should be “radically different” each day than that of non-believers.

In using the social networking and the Internet, Thompson said he tries to stress that FBC members should remember to use the tools in a Godly way.

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