Meta just recently announced that Messenger and Facebook Groups were going to highlight "community chats". This would allow large Messenger and Facebook Groups to organize chats into categories for real-time discussion. People are comparing this new change to appear like how Discord is organized.
Whether this is another instance of Meta cloning some other platform's innovation or not, the reality is that whenever Meta makes a change, it should be looked at by churches. Why? Because there are still a lot of people on Meta platforms. So, how do these changes impact your Church? Here are a few ways:
Community Focus. In the announcement, Mark Zuckerberg stated, "We’re building Community Chats as a new way to connect with people who share your interests...and soon you’ll be able to start Community Chats from Messenger as well as Facebook Groups.” Churches are about community and this provides you greater online tools to build community and connect with people from all over the world. This would enable more people to be more involved. You could have a community chat about a particular Bible Study or devotional. You could have one for the Children Ministry leaders (or any other ministry). You could have it for any number of groups and others can choose to be part of it.
Appeals to a Younger Audience. Facebook is not geared towards younger generations. In fact, Gen Z and Milennials do not like to go on Facebook at all. Discord, on the other hand, does appeal to the younger generations. They love the way it looks and the way they can interact. This style isn't going to guarantee younger generations to participate in these revised parts of Facebook, but it give it a shot. And, as a Church, this provides you a way to interact with younger generations on Facebook.
Meta has seen a decline over the years amongst the younger generations. And now they are playing catch=up to apps like TikTok and Snapchat as more and more younger people are enjoying those apps a lot more than Facebook or Instagram. However, Community Chats has potential to be used for your Church or ministry as a way to engage more people, especially Millenials and Gen Z. Take a look at it and start exploring how you might be able to use it in your context and see how it connects more people together.
What do you think? What are your thoughts about Meta's Community Chats? Share your ideas below or on social media.
Through the Digital Church Network we are helping physical and digital churches better understand the discipleship process, and helping churches and church planters understand this and other decentralized mindset shifts. Joining the DCN is free and be encouraged!