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Is Social Computing Killing the Church?

Richard Beck blogs at patheos.com that the reason the next generation isn’t attending church is because of the mobile and social networking revolution. A professor at ACU, Beck claims maintaining social relationships are a major reason Generations X and Y attended church in the first place, and these relationships are just as easily maintained via iPhone and Facebook these days. “[Millennials] don’t need physical locations for social affiliation,” says Beck. “The thing that keeps young people going to church, despite their irritations [with it], has been effectively replaced. You don’t need to go to church to stay connected or in touch.” Beck disagrees that authentic relationships can’t be maintained via Facebook and other social computing; in face, he says “most of our Facebook interactions are with people we know, love, and are in daily contact with. Facebook isn’t replacing “real” relationships with “virtual” relationships; it’s simply connecting us to our real friends. And if you can do this without getting up early on Sunday morning, why go to church?” And, Beck continues, if it’s true that Millennials already think church is hypocritical and shallow (as he says studies show), there’s no longer any real reason to make the effort to attend.

Do you think social networking is one of the major reasons the next generation isn’t attending church? Why or why not?

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.