The social media giant now wants to emulate the church model on building communities
Nashville’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church has broken ranks with other churches alleging an anti-conservative outlook of Facebook. The church has partnered with the social media giant to better connect with their community and their congregation. This partnership has been active for several months now.
The impetus to partner with Facebook came when the leaders of the Mt. Zion megachurch felt they needed to figure out a much better method to connect itself with their large congregation. Mt. Zion has about 30,000 members. Facebook is a convenient tool in this regard.
Joseph W. Walker III, Mt. Zion’s senior pastor, said the toughest challenge of his church was to get people connected. According to the pastor, “Often, people see a church and don’t know where to connect.”
Facebook had sent its employees to liaise with the church. The social media company’s faith-centric partnership division employees greeted congregants during Mt. Zion’s Sunday morning service. Facebook employees pointed church members to laptops where they learned how to link with the church.
According to Nora Jones, manager of faith-centric partnerships and a Facebook employee, said that people are now increasingly becoming isolated. She added that “there’s tremendous energy” when people are brought together for a common purpose. Walker said that this new kind of outreach is in-sync with Bible teachings
Due to its partnership with Facebook, Mt. Zion Baptist is known in locally as “the social media church.” Facebook for its part, is trying to combat the notion that many technology companies such as themselves, Google, and Twitter, have censored or even suppressed conservative values and religious speech.
Jones denied such a bias, saying that for Facebook, working with faith-centric communities is not new. “We work with leaders of influential churches around the world to help us better understand what are the products and tools that are needed to build community on our platform,” Jones said.
For Facebook, this is a targeted directional change. Mark Zuckerberg in 2017 signaled a shift from connecting people to making communities. This change in the company’s outlook happened after Facebook reached two billion users all over the world. Zuckerberg has previously noted how pastors regularly inspire churchgoers to donate money or volunteer to charitable causes.