Real Church in a Social-Network World: From Facebook to Face-to-Face Faith is a title commanding attention. With people experiencing a growing disconnection from the actual world around them and becoming more entwined with a virtual world via their computers and smart phones how can the church effectively reach out to share the love of God? Does the church need to change how it engages the world? How can the church bridge the gap and become relevant, real, to a social network population that is staying away from the church in droves?
These were questions I hoped to find answered while reading Real Church and why I was disappointed. While it is certainly an interesting book, discussing God’s relationship with and love for us, ideas of faith and belief, the desire of God to interact with and be a part of us, the title does not accurately reflect the content
Author Leonard Sweet, author of more than 20 books, touches on the ideas of community and connectedness, words that appear over and over again when reading about what people desire from relationships in the 21st century. However the main thrust of the second half of the book centers more on the Word of God and God’s love for us without necessarily connecting that concept to how the church can function in a meaningful way in our social network world.
Perhaps listing the book’s chapter titles illustrates the point more directly: Faith Versus Belief, Following Jesus, A Longing for Love, Person or Proposition?, The Right Relationship and Telling a Better Story. Again, all tremendous thoughts worthy of exploration and study, but not strongly tied in to reaching people who are more comfortable with Facebook than the book of Revelation.
If you would like to read a book about faith and belief and relationship with God this book is a fine choice but, if like me, you were expecting to delve into a book discussing the church’s relevance in the 21st century as the title and introduction appear to suggest, this would not be the best choice. But, you can decide for yourself. Click this link to download the first chapter.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.