What environment is best for spiritual formation?

In a recent Facebook post (!!!), pastor Tim Keller made the following claim:

First, because megachurches have some design deficits. In general, they are poor places for formation and pastoral care due to their size. In our current cultural moment that is a deadly problem because Christians are being more formed by social media than local Christian community. We need thick communities and the size of our churches factor into that.

Pause and think with me.

First thought: “Christians are being more formed by social media than local Christian community.”

True or false?

I’d say, in general, Tim is absolutely right. What do you think?

I serve in my local church because it is an essential part of my growth in Christ. I am excited about the members of the UP community experiencing spiritual vitality here that they bring to their local church!

Second thought: Tim Keller shared this perspective on a) social media or b) his local Christian community?

Follow-up: Is this conversation taking place on a) social media or b) your local Christian community?

My take-away: social media can form us!

The question is: what “social media” are you participating in? It’s a HUGE word! It means a billion different things. The Uncommon Pursuit community will form you into one kind of person. Certain TikTok influencers will form you in another direction…

Which social media platform you choose, who you follow, and how you participate are the crucial questions.

Next question: What if churches and social media worked together to form people into Christlikeness?

Can you imagine a church community that intentionally, strategically, and persistently partnered with UP to build a stronger, healthier, more missional community of disciples? (I’m praying for this to happen).

Keller also writes:

6th, because smaller congregations must make use of a greater percentage of lay persons’ gifts & talents there is less dependence on staff and a smaller number of onlookers who only attend to observe and not participate.

Fascinating. What’s better for your spiritual health? Passive or active involvement? Listening to a podcast, reading a book, watching a video… or doing the hard work of participating to serve others?

For instance, who benefits more from this post? Me, as I thought about this issue and then wrote it? Or you, as you read it?

How could you get the same benefit I did? By taking the time to pray, think, and then clearly write out your perspective.

Over to you… how can ‘social media’ be part of your ongoing growth in Jesus? What is your plan to benefit from the formational power of social media?


Thanks for getting us thinking on this topic of spiritual formation.

This would be ideal for me!

I recognize that we cant mature as a Christian unless we are in community. Building friendship at a church is not an easy task. Even if we attend a church on sunday and may be one/two more times during the week, the growth of friendship depends on the initiative people take to get to know each other, the depth of sharing in a small group and the opportunity to serve each other. I have found that, unless I serve at a church, I cant get to know people but it takes getting to know people to decide whether to join a church.

I think an UP local church community would be hugely beneficial. The church can get to know the beliefs of a person at a deeper level through discussions and it can even help us grow in our knowledge through sharing together. We may even get to know more people from different walks of life through a church community engaged in social media than we might in person in a church. It would also address inhibitions related to trust issues people have with purely online contacts.

I hope that scenario of something like UP in a local church community would become a reality! What if it becomes a means of how elders at a church engage with their congregation. The church too could appreciate getting to know elders who influence the church decisions.

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