Even though 89% of American households have a Bible, the number of those who read it daily is very low. A new study released by LifeWay Research revealed what may be one of the many a sources of church attendance decline. Only 19% of church goers read their Bible daily. About 18% said that they never read their Bible.
The study found that:
While the majority of churchgoers desire to honor Christ with their lives and even profess to think on biblical truths, a recent study found few actually engage in personal reading and study of the Scriptures.
The hot religious craze now is spiritual individualism, which has had a direct impact of the spiritual development of Christians. Though Christians or non-church going Christians may claim they are very spiritual, they most likely have not grown spiritual at all. You may be able to read a Bible at home, but how can you learn without guidance? The spiritual but not religious moment is focused on how individual trumps the religious community.
So how are we to draw these spiritual folk back to a religious community?
It seems like an easy solution, but community is critical to spiritual development. Through social media, people can connect and build a network of supportive groups that can help challenge and grow one another into deeper relationship with God. One of these examples of social media spiritual community is #chsocm on Twitter. Meredith Gould and her crew have started a weekly online chat (Tuesdays @ 9 p.m. EST) to support, engage, and encourage church folk in creative ways to use social media.
Social media communities like #chsocm share resources and tools to engage others into deeper community. The hopeful byproduct of such social media communities (Faith Village is another) is that people can grow and learn through websites, blogs, chats, Twitter feeds, and other forms of social media so that they do not have to be alone in their quest for spiritual enrichment. Prayer is critical to #chsocm chats.
Spirituality through a virtual community is not the goal, but it is a step in the right direction. Social media can be used as a tool to engage those disfranchised believers. People still need face to face contact. They need to worship with others and study with others. Such real spiritual activities can never replace social media spirituality. Last time I checked, you cannot receive real communion through a computer.
Using such online tools are a gateway into spiritual community. We all need to be spiritually fed, but real physical community can never be replaced with the presence of other believers and the presence of Christ.
If Jesus had social media would the scripture be: “Where ever two or three are gathered on Facebook, Twitter, or blogs, I am there among them”?