Thanks to social media, there is a disturbing new trend. It’s the “Been missing you at church” comments.
I’ve just come to rant, I suppose. But these comments aren’t okay. Okay? If someone has missed a couple of services (or a couple of months worth) and they post a cute picture of their kid, or a funny cartoon status, or a photo of an apple pie…this person probably doesn’t want 5 or 6 people commenting with “Hey, been missing you at church!” For one, it feels like public shaming. Secondly, it feels like their cute kid, funny comic, or apple pie are irrelevant because they haven’t been to church. Maybe their out of town friends or family didn’t realize they’d been missing church. But now they do. Have you really actively noticed this person missing at church or did it just now occur to you when you saw them pop up on Facebook? Does a Facebook comment leave someone feeling that they’ve now done their “Christian duty” by commenting? Because, I’m sorry, you haven’t.
I’m not advocating home visits over a Facebook comment. But I am saying let’s leave Facebook comments out of it. Also, posting it to their wall. Keep it out of the public eye is what I am saying. Even if you aren’t close enough to the person to have their phone number – Facebook has this lovely thing called “email” and I think that would be appropriate. It’s private, personal, and you can still keep your message to just a couple of sentences. If you’ve been spiritually struggling – which is going to be more effective? A Facebook comment on your kid’s cute picture or an email that says “I’ve missed you at church lately! I hope that everything is going well with you – if you need anything please let me know. I hope we will see you back soon.” This will probably (but not necessarily) get a response. And it may open up dialogue. (And it may not.) But that’s okay, because you’ve opened the door. And if this is someone that you generally chat with at church – invite them out for coffee. Not to talk about their absence at church, but just to stay connected. In real life.