Zero-sum Game?

Thursday night, a very select group of college football players will become very wealthy young men when the NFL holds its annual draft.

Most just enjoy and benefit from the game.

Most just enjoy and benefit from the game.

This past Monday night, more than ten times that number entered the weight room at Riverbend High School to take their first steps toward playing high school football–my son (right) among their numbers–with promises of nothing more than sweat, pain, and two-a-day drills in 100 degree heat in August.


Some guys strike it rich

The paradox between the two worlds raises a question–if the young men beginning their high school careers never make millions in the NFL draft, will the next four years of their lives be wasted? High school football, after all, is no small commitment. Practice/weight training are year-long at this level. Figure a minimum of 10 hours a week (and that’s a low number by any estimate), and these young players are on a track to commit 2080 hours over the next four years to a sport that the vast majority will never play after high school.

Most any high school football player will tell you no–these years are not wasted. In fact, most look back fondly on these years for the rest of their lives.

A Second Look

Carry that lesson to your church’s social media use. A very few communities will realize users in the tens of thousands. (Willow Creek’s Facebook page has 27,500 likes, Saddleback has 92,000 likes, and Adam Hamilton of Resurrection Church of Leawood has 25,500 likes). The vast majority will never crest 200.

saddlebackAre those using social media and not reaching these relatively large numbers wasting their time?

No–and here’s why.

The name of the game in social media is not high numbers of likes or follows. Social media is not, by its nature, a “church-growth” tool. It is a tool for facilitating discussion and communications among people who live in community.

A recent Pew study drives this point home. According to the study, “users say they … appreciate photos and videos from friends … the ability to share with many people at once. … keeping up with news, or receiving support from the people in one’s network–appeal to a more modest audience of users.”

Did you catch it? It’s sharing information, sharing with friends, and not so much getting news, that drives users on Facebook?

It’s not about the numbers. Consider how small the average number of friends Facebook users have:




So when thinking about your social media “strategy”, remember those guys sweating in the weight rooms this summer to make their high school teams. Maybe 20 of the tens of thousands of high school football players will rise one day to the top and claim millions. Most never will; yet, they’re forever changed for the better by taking part.

It’s about the journey and connections–not the numbers.

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