When I joined Facebook, my initial feeling was fascination. I was connecting with friends around the world in a way that was convenient and relatively secure. We regained contact with other friends whom we probably would never see again, due to distance or circumstances. As our friend list grew online, I felt as if my social consciousness was expanding as well. “Remember so-and-so from uni? They’re on Facebook too!”

We browsed profile pages, catching up on people’s careers, family situations, and personal interests. Their photos showed the progress of life: a new child, a new home, wrinkles, and so on. At first, I had wondered how many thirty-somethings would be into an online social network. Now it seems like everyone we know is there. We’re Friends again, thanks to Facebook.

I think many users are at the stage where they cannot imagine life without Facebook. I check it daily, like email. In a way, Facebook has superseded email. Remember when you used to email friends with photos and news? We still do that, but not as often now. Facebook is ubiquitous (until the next network!) and the idea of online social networking is now a way of life.

How should we then live on Facebook?

1. Just ten more minutes. Most people agree that Facebook can be a time waster, through playing trivial games (Farmville etc.) or mindless browsing through others’ pages. I don’t think this is much different from wasting time in other ways, such as excessive TV watching. But Facebook increases the shame of time wasting, by announcing to the world that you spent the evening accumulating useless scores or “achievements.” The point is not to hide your time wasting, but to keep asking yourself, “Am I really making the best use of the time God has given me?” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

As John Piper has observed, “TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem… The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV” (Don’t Waste Your Life).

The same can be said of Facebook. It can be a G-rated way to waste life.

2. Here’s my heart, everyone. Facebook is a platform for declaring your thoughts and feelings publicly. It’s so easy to type a status update about your tiredness, frustration, and aspirations. I think we sometimes express feelings to everyone on Facebook, when we would do better to pour our hearts out to God first. Yes, God hears us on Facebook, but there’s something more efficient than Facebook for communicating to God. It’s called prayer!

3. Edify, edify, edify. It’s great to receive an encouraging message or wall post from someone who cares about you. Why not take a minute to encourage a friend? A brief message that says “I’ve prayed for you today” will have far more eternal value than a link to a funny video. And along with encouragement:

4. More Bible, please. Sure, tell us about your plans for the day or a random observation. Everyone else is doing the same thing. But when you simply mention a Bible verse which has spoken to you, that is not trivia—it’s your testimony of God at work in your life.

See you on Facebook!

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About Ben Kwok

Ben is part of a church plant team establishing the Rouse Hill Church. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Ben and his wife Diahanna live in Sydney, Australia with their four young children.


  1. PJ 4 August, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Great subject Ben – agree with all your points.

    Would like to throw a few more into the mix – though as a ‘non-Facebooker’ I can’t speak from personal experience only from observation. I am not anti-Facebook, I believe it can be a great blessing for Christians and can be used to glorify the Lord.

    Just a few points of concern however –

    i) In II Thess 3 and I Tim 5 Paul addresses the problem of ‘busybodies’ in churches – I’ve often thought Facebook provides greater opportunity for this problem to arise than ever before – everyone can now know what everyone else is doing in their personal, family and church lives. Is it necessarily healthy? What do people think?

    ii) Double lives. This is an age old problem for Believers – and now that a Christian’s online life is a substantial part of their ‘conversation’ I wonder if it makes this problem even worse. It is easier than ever to maintain a public persona at church, school, work etc. and a private one online. The internet in general gives us miles more ‘private’ time and space in which to live, and I wonder what the effects of this will be, especially on young people.

    iii) Continual communication. Modern technologies mean that we never have to be out of contact – we never have to be alone with ourselves and our own thoughts. I can see a lot of negatives arising from this. What do you think?

    Thanks for the post – I’d love to see more on this subject…it is incredibly relevant to the Christian life in our time.

  2. Nanna 4 August, 2010 at 11:49 am

    There is also the potential problem of the virtual community becoming an easy substitute for real community like the church. It is in church that we can rub up against the people that rub us the wrong way that can help us rub off some of our sharp edges. On Facebook we can just ignore or defriend the people that generate friction in our lives. -George

  3. Jason Harris 4 August, 2010 at 12:08 pm


    On ii), I’ve found fb is a brilliant tool against double lives online because it is not anonymous and it includes your real life friends. Previous tools like forums often didn’t include these benefits.

  4. PJ 4 August, 2010 at 12:41 pm


    Point taken, though I have seen the fb pages of some teenagers and their parents/pastors/youth leaders would be shocked and disappointed if they were aware of the language used and photos that have been posted.

    As I understand fb – a user does have some control over who they allow into their circle and the level of access to their private material. This does create a private space for a person to communicate with others – in much the same way as an email or telephone account does – though the difference is the immediacy of the communication and the media that can be shared.

  5. Ben Kwok 4 August, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    yes, I agree that fb is a boon for busybodies and it’s not a substitute for real community or personal meditation!

    As for double lives — I think the more a person expresses himself online, the more his heart can be revealed. (“out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”) FB is just another channel of communication, in that sense.

    Ministry-wise, it’s helpful to note how friends are faring via their online talk, as a supplement to face-to-face contact.

    Younger people are less concerned about privacy, despite warnings about “cyber safety.” I also think the ease of expressing oneself online 24/7 is a challenge against “keeping your heart with all diligence.”

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