Real Church in a Social-Network World: From Facebook to Face-to-Face Faith - eBook
Not exactly what I expected but worth the read
The title of this book may lead you to believe that this was going to be a Ã¢ÂÂhow-toÃ¢ÂÂ in utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. However, it is really isnÃ¢ÂÂt much about using social networks. What it is a strong reminder of how we as the church should be responding to those in this world. Facebook reports as of September 2012 1 billion users, never before have weÃ¢ÂÂve been so connected. Yet the author points out what people really want is relationship.
With excellent examples and imagery Mr. Sweet drives home that the media isnÃ¢ÂÂt that important. What is important is developing relationships with people, demonstrating GodÃ¢ÂÂs love in tangible ways.
I will admit after a point I felt like I Ã¢ÂÂgot the messageÃ¢ÂÂ while the author continued to remind me. I did enjoy the reminders and there were many great points made throughout the book.
If you are looking for a how-to use Twitter or Facebook then this is not the book for you. However, if you need to be reminded that first and foremost our job as Christians is to develop relationships with people then this is a great reminder.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was under no obligation to give anything but my honest opinion.
January 28, 2013
Important Read for Today's Youth Pastors
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 Ã¢ÂÂsocial media generationÃ¢ÂÂ has a desire for connection, Ã¢ÂÂknowing others and being known,Ã¢ÂÂ and this group of 18-30 years-old wants to belong to a community. They are Ã¢ÂÂmore geared to direct experience and the relational aspects of life.Ã¢ÂÂ This, Sweet says, is not unlike the church, whose members have an Ã¢ÂÂuntiring pursuit of belonging and relationship.Ã¢ÂÂ
Sweet has several chapters, such as Ã¢ÂÂFaith vs. Belief,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂFollowing Jesus,Ã¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂA Longing for Love,Ã¢ÂÂ that lead up to what I believe is the crux of the book: Ã¢ÂÂThe Right Relationship.Ã¢ÂÂ He states in this chapter that the soul of the world is relationships and the soul is sick. To save the world, Ã¢ÂÂwe need less to be true to our principlesÃ¢ÂÂ and much more true to our relationships. He further states that Ã¢ÂÂour problem in reaching the world is that weÃ¢ÂÂve made rules more important that relationships.Ã¢ÂÂ
Leonard Sweet ends the book with a chapter titled Ã¢ÂÂTelling a Better Story.Ã¢ÂÂ In any class on writing, students are taught to Ã¢ÂÂshow, donÃ¢ÂÂt tell.Ã¢ÂÂ In other words, show the action through the lives and dialogue of the charactersÃ¢ÂÂdonÃ¢ÂÂt tell the readers what happened. It is the same principle: Christians shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt tell the story of Jesus as much as they should live (show) it. The challenge lies before Christians. We must Ã¢ÂÂlive JesusÃ¢ÂÂ in ways that everyone, including social media Ã¢ÂÂfriends,Ã¢ÂÂ sees Him.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Ã¢ÂÂBlogging for BooksÃ¢ÂÂ book review program. 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 CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
October 26, 2012
I was intrigued by the title of Leonard Sweet's latest book, Real Church in a Social-Network World: From Facebook to Face-to-Face Faith. Based on my experience with past works by Sweet, I was looking forward to practical applications on how to minister/connect to a generation that spends most of its time disconnected and isolated behind a keyboard and/or smartphone.
Instead, Sweet looks at our relationship with God, and tries to correlate how our vertical relationship (God Ã¢ÂÂ man) affects and influences of horizontal relationships (person Ã¢ÂÂ person).
In chapter 1, Sweet draws a contrast between "faith" and "belief." Sweet sums up this contrast when he states:
"Most Christians use the words belief and faith interchangeably. But to admit (believe) falls far short of to commit (faith). Ã¢ÂÂ¦To become a Christian is to experience a transformation into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Sweet attempts to springboard the remainder of the book by addressing how God's love for His creation mirrors the desire for connection among His creation. What is missing is the practical application of his thesis.
If you engage this work by Sweet expecting original material, you will be disappointed. This e-book is a collection of writings from three earlier works, which explains why the book lacks a certain "flow." Another major drawback to this book is that it seems to be merely an advertisement for his next book, Viral.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
August 28, 2012
what people want today is relationship
In this ebook, Sweet does an analysis of church and today's individual, looks at the changing culture and gleans lessons the church needs to learn.
The rediscovery of a relation-based spirituality, Sweet writes, is crucial to ministry in the twenty first century. The number one source of stress is life is the feeling of isolation. The number one problem in the world is people living disconnected lives. What people are searching for most desperately is connectedness. This is an opportunity for the church to reevaluate its approach to relationship.
Today's individual does not lack for Christian teaching. No other generation has had as much access to Christian teaching as this one. Our society is less enamored with Christian theology than ever before. Ã¢ÂÂWhat's missing is the right relationship, a deepening relationship with God.Ã¢ÂÂ
He speaks to participating in the divine life, being Ã¢ÂÂmissionalÃ¢ÂÂ by participating in the mission of Jesus. Sweet encourages us to make others the focus of our relationship with God. Jesus was an equal opportunity relationship builder.
This little ebook packs a punch. As a doctrine oriented Christian, it certainly challenged me to love that an individual, rather than making sure they have all their doctrine right. I can see his point that the church has defended correct doctrine and belief with such intensity that it has forgotten to love its neighbor.
Something Sweet does not do is give suggestions on concentrating on relation-based spirituality. Is it small groups? Is it embracing the homeless? Perhaps each church needs to find out for itself how relationships will blossom.
Sweet's message to the church is clear. Ã¢ÂÂAt the core of who we are as humans is an inner drive for relationships with God and with one another.Ã¢ÂÂ
Consistent Sweet readers will recognize some of this material as previously published in some of his books.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
July 26, 2012