Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Faith Perspectives: Let's Review Our Central Purpose

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Faith Perspectives: Let's Review Our Central Purpose

Article excerpt

You have to hand it to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. As Facebook continues its tsunami-wave sweep across culture, Zuckerberg decided it was time to reboot the company's mission statement.

No longer content with being only a platform for posting updates about the burrito you had for lunch or forwarding real-or-is-it-fake-no-one-knows news items, Zuckerberg proclaimed that he now sees Facebook's mission as nothing less than global transformation. The freshly minted statement now declares that Facebook's mission is "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." It almost sounds like Zuckerberg has got religion.

It's not so easy trying to manage profits while also being prophetic. The two often don't play well together. But there is no doubt that Zuckerberg has been fantastically successful in changing the world. He's harnessed technology and cultivated global social networks, while also giving us something to do during boring meetings. What's more, he's given your grandmother a reason to use the Internet .

The new mission statement makes clear his intent that Facebook become a hub for developing social infrastructure that empowers lasting global change. To me, these words sound remarkably similar to the charge Jesus gave to his disciples at the end of Matthew's gospel. For Zuckerberg, change happens by way of a new mission statement, while for Jesus it takes place as he sends the disciples into the world by way of the words we call "The Great Commission."

Both Facebook's mission statement and the Great Commission seek to inspire and equip followers. Yet Jesus' words offer more than slogans and complicated algorithms designed to attract audiences. Jesus seeks to empower the disciples, but he also yearns for them to carry messages of hope deep into the disrupted fissures and barren wastelands of life.

According to Matthew, the resurrected Jesus gathers the disciples up on a mountain and tells them that their status is about to change. …

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