Communities need continuity of participation in order to form connections strong enough to mediate nurture, growth, or change.
Social media can help with this. The comment left on a fellow church member’s Facebook post is no less meaningful than a chat during coffee hour. Both make people present to one another.
But how much is enough? Now that weekly worship attendance, for many, is practically impossible (what with soccer games, visits to ailing parents, work), when do the returns on community participation begin to diminish? After one week away? Probably not. Two? Six? And do social media really and truly make us present enough to one another to still function as a “body” (1 Corinthians 12)?
Though people may be present less, they still may be vitally connected to the body. I suppose that’s their call; if it feels to you like you’re connected, then you are. But it feels very difficult to grow in relationship when a certain minimum threshold of interaction isn’t being met.
So what’s that threshold? And what matters more? An individual’s sense of connection to the community, or the community’s sense of connection to them?