Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Crazy Facebook Contest

I hear people talk a lot about how social media has replaced genuine community, and in many ways I believe it to be true. People can have entire relationships without ever seeing the one another face to face, or even hearing the other's voice on the other end of a phone, but last night proved that, though there are a lot of potential pitfalls, social media can also bring communities together.

Back in July, a major Christian music label held a "Search for a Song Contest." It was designed to give local worship leaders who have written amazing songs for their congregations the chance to have their songs be heard world wide, and the competition was built around Facebook "likes." The five songs that received the most "likes" over on to the judges for the chance at an amazing prize. Unknown to one another, two worship leaders from Fayetteville, NC, Giles Blankenship and Jeremy Fisher, both entered the contest. And then the fun began. Facebook friends from the churches as well as friends from school, and even friends of friends began working hard "liking" and "sharing" the link, and in the mean time having fun and learning some things about one another. Community was forming around the contest and long time friend and complete strangers began to share prayer requests with one another, reveal silly and fun facts about themselves to each other, and just spend time "together" from the comfort of their own living rooms.

Then the article came out in the paper, another song writer in the top five was from the same town. The two gifted worship leaders were not only from across a river, but across denominational lines. By the end of the contest, the two churches, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church and Stedman Pentecostal Holiness Church, two groups of fans, were working together to keep both before the judges. New Facebook friends were made. Community was formed around a Facebook contest, but more importantly around the One who united us through his death and resurrection 2000 years ago. Many of us had not met in person, but we were connected as the body of Christ.

The two churches came together for an amazing Night of Worship (You can watch the video of the service by clicking the link). Friends who had met through social media finally met face to face. There was instant recognition of new friends. There were hugs and prayers. There were songs and amens and "Holy Hushes." Most of all, there was a real presence of Christ that was felt throughout the place. Say what you want about Social Media, but last night I experienced the beauty and majesty of God that came about through "a crazy Facebook contest."

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