Who belong to your flock, your church, your worshiping community when your primary socializing is done online? It's an interesting question and one many denominations don't really want to tackle.

Some denomination leaders dismiss it as pandering, of trying to shape the ancient traditions of the church into a transient fad. Some denounce it as a "gimmick" to try and attract younger families (and what's so wrong with that, one wonders?)

If it is true that mainline Protestant congregations are primarily made up of those over 50, one might suppose that there would be no need for an online presence at all. If our parishioners aren't online, why should we be?

Oh, but they are!  Take Facebook, for instance. Between the fourth of January and the fourth of July of 2009, the number of users of Facebook aged 25 – 34 grew 60.8%; the number of users aged 35 to 54 grew 190.2%, while the number of Facebook users older than 55 years has grown a tremendous 513.7%. Most of the users (20,3 million, or 28.2% overall) on the site belong to the 35 – 54 age group. The number of users aged 55 and over has grown from negligible 950,000 to 5.9 million in mere six months. That's one big community!!