Facebook in Sermon Preparation

James Wood made the following comment on the post Extent of Application:

I think he brings up a good point. I’ve tried to combat this by forming the sermon through conversation with the community. The beauty is, technology can aid this! I will post questions from the text to my facebook page as I’m studying. The responses help me to direct my study and hone my examples to reflect the needs of the community.

I have not tried this, but am intrigued.  While not a huge fan of facebook, it may be an easy way to access “feed-forward” input in the preparation of a sermon.  The point of “feed-forward” input is to be able to hone a message in advance of it being preached by gaining input from an individual or group during the preparation process.  (Obviously it is kind of like feedback, but in anticipation.)

Has anyone else tried using Facebook or Twitter or even good old fashioned email for input prior to preaching?  There is something about face to face interaction, but let’s be honest and recognize that something is better than nothing and unless we have a system in place, we are often choosing nothing over something in these matters.  At the same time, perhaps people feel less pressure in an electronic social setting and are therefore more willing to engage honestly?

Any thoughts or experience on this, please share!

6 thoughts on “Facebook in Sermon Preparation

  1. I have used, with some success, Google Wave to create a Christmas sermon series. We based it on Advent Conspiracy but went our own way with it. The Wave started off really strong then it fizzled as the weeks went on.

    I had another friend use Google Wave to get feedback on his Doctoral Thesis. (We all use Logos Bible Software and their forums were the initial contact point).

    If you haven’t heard of Google Wave, it is email and social networking on steroids. There is like a 2 hour video on it that is great, but you will never get those 2 hours back. If you want an invite let me know, as it is in beta and you can only be “invited”. you can get me via gmail using the name dbuckham…

    all about Christ,
    David Buckham

  2. Peter,

    I have used Facebook to launch questions about the text and to ask for ideas on how to apply the text. It reminded me of our assignment to do focus groups in the second residency. It also reminded me of one of Haddon’s previous students who is not on faculty at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth. Dr. Calvin Pearson wrote his DMIN on “Sermon Collaboration Groups.”

    I’ve found FB helpful in preaching in the following ways:

    1. FB can reinforce a message

    2. FB can start the discussion with a group using asynchronous online methods. The discussion doesn’t just have to happen at one time.

    3. FB can get information quickly from many people.

    4. FB allows those in the pew to get in on what happens in the platform. I’ve actually used comments from FB before form the platform.

    Our culture loves discussion. Even if I don’t use “exegetical” comments from FB, it’s good to let people in on the process.

  3. I hadn’t thought about using Google Wave, that’s a good idea. I think that one advantage that FB can have over e-mail or Wave is that you can invite the perspective of outsiders. I have many friends online who aren’t believers. Hearing how they respond to questions about faith is very helpful for me in forming thoughts and communicating.

    I think I originally got the idea for this from Preaching Re-imagined by Doug Pagitt.

  4. James,

    You wouldn’t happen to have lived and ministered in Louisville would you? I knew a minister named James Wood from a little church in Louisville. He was pretty instrumental to my faith as a boy…and now as a man in the ministry he set a godly example for me and I don’t think he knows it. One day I will find him. Just had to ask…although James Wood is probably a pretty common name.

    As with FB, I have about 525 friends and I can’t always get answers. For instance I asked a question about pride this week and got 3 or 4 responses…all from ministers. Yet a few months ago when I asked a question about church attendance I got like 30 responses from believes and non believers. I find FB hit or miss…maybe it has to do with the way I ask my questions.

    all about Christ,
    David Buckham

  5. Sorry, that’s not me. I’ve never been to Louisville.

    I’ve run into the same thing, some questions really get people fired up and talking and some questions get the virtual crickets chirping.

    For my friends, it has a lot to do with the way I ask the question. What I’ve learned so far (I’m still learning a lot, though) is that if I approach the question from a position of humility (i.e. I don’t know the answer already), then they are more likely to respond. Also, if I ask questions where my friends become the expert, they are very likely to answer. It’s intimidating to sally forth on theological issues in the midsts of trained seminarians. But it’s pretty straightforward to ask someone’s opinion.

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