In a sure sign that this church will never do anything to offend our BigTech overlords or violate their ever-increasingly unreasonable and authoritarian Terms of Service, the New York Times is reporting in an article “Facebook Wants You to Connect With God. On Facebook” that Hillsong’s new Atlanta Church plant has professionally consulted with Facebook in order to create a church and worship experience.
We last wrote of this new plant two months ago, when we recounted how the 32-year-old lead pastor, Sam Collier, has a wild theologcial past, including spending years as Youth Choir Director in a church where the Senior Pastor was the openly pro-choice, openly pro-LGBT, heresy-spewing, Planned-Parenthood-endorsed Democrat Senator, Dr. Raphael Warnock, and then several years at Bishop Eddie Long’s megachurch – a prosperity gospel heretic who preaches wretched blasphemies about name-it-and-claim-it, speaking realities into existence, and little god theology. Later he joined up with Andy Stanley for several years until he was tapped by Hillsong head honcho Brian Houston to lead the new plant, even though Collier has no seminary training and a horrific Christian pedigree.
But months before Hillsong Atlanta was launched, barely a twinkle in Brian Houston’s eye, Collier sought advice from Facebook on how to build a church in the midst of a ‘pandemic’.
For months Facebook developers and Hillsong met and collaborated on how Facebook could be tightly integrated into the structure of the church, particularly the back end discussing the best apps to use for tithing and giving, a well as streaming their services using Facebook video and Lightworkers (Branded ‘Streaming Exclusively on Facebook’. Collier told I am Queen magazine:
It’s unbelievable to think that an organization as large as Facebook has agreed to help shape what the future of the digital Church could be, with a new yet prayerfully innovative family like us. Facebook has lent its development team to Hillsong Atlanta and together we are working on tools that will one day be able to help all churches.
As far as more specifics ways they partnered together and what these months of consults looked like, Collier noted that he can’t reveal more about the specific strategies with Facebook that they collaborated on, nor the nature of their talks, on account of having signed a nondisclosure agreement. When asked, he cryptically stated:
They are teaching us, we are teaching them. Together we are discovering what the future of the church could be on Facebook.
The NYT article goes on to explain that “the company aims to become the virtual home for religious community, and wants churches, mosques, synagogues and others to embed their religious life into its platform, from hosting worship services and socializing more casually to soliciting money. It is developing new products, including audio and prayer sharing, aimed at faith groups.” They’ve done this by partnering with different denominations and faith groups, particularly within the Church of God and Assemblies of God.
In an interview with Nora Jones, Facebook’s Director for Global Faith Partnerships shared: I just want people to know that Facebook is a place where, when they do feel discouraged or depressed or isolated, that they could go to Facebook and they could immediately connect with a group of people that care about them.”
They conclude on this revealing note:
For churches like Hillsong Atlanta, the ultimate goal is evangelism.
‘We have never been more postured for the Great Commission than now,’ Mr. Collier said, referring to Jesus’ call to ‘make disciples of all nations.’
He is partnering with Facebook, he said, ‘to directly impact and help churches navigate and reach the consumer better.’
‘Consumer isn’t the right word,’ he said, correcting himself. ‘Reach the parishioner better.’
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