Church trying to stay traditional; finds new ways to connect

By Amanda Hanson  - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Social networking has become the way of the twenty-first century. Now, one Region 8 church is using Facebook to connect with the younger generation at the click of a button.

First Christian Church has been around for over a hundred years. "We have members that have been here for nearly 70 years," say church Pastor Jerry Wilcox. It's a church with a lot of tradition. "We've always been very traditional and we want to stay traditional, but we have to stay traditional and still kind of connect and come out into the world little bit. That's where computers have been neat for us," says Children Director Marie Barnes.

Computers is the primary way Barnes is connecting with the youth. "The kids are on Facebook. They get on there and they talk to me. They talk to me about stuff in private messages on Facebook that they wouldn't never talk to me about sitting upstairs in the class room," say explains.

So for the first time in the church history, Barnes decide they would send vacation bible school invites through Facebook. "People ignore flyers now. They get them and they throw them away because they get so many of that stuff."

The church has created a group for the youth called First Christian Kids Rock with pictures and posts of upcoming events. "They saw it on Facebook and they came and they've come back since then for Sunday night services and Sunday morning worship and it's just been huge," says Barnes.

"I use it a lot to chat with my friends on Facebook," says youth member Brandon Wallace. He checks his page at least once a day and has reached several friends through Facebook. "5 or 6 probably. I've had people from Annie Camp and my school," says Wallace.

It is a tool Barnes never imagined would have this much success. "No I never thought it would have been as big of part of my daily life as it's become and for sure not as big of part of the church."

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