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Church encourages social media during service

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ANTHEM, AZ (CBS5) -

No talking, no texting and don't answer your cell phone in church.

Most congregations have a lot of strict rules during their Sunday service. But there's one place of worship here in the Valley where tweeting and updating your Facebook page are actually encouraged.

Mark 16:15 in the Bible says, "He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'"

The leadership and congregation at Fellowship Church at Anthem takes this very seriously.

"It's the great story of Jesus Christ and the life that he brings to all of us. So for us, that's our message," said Lead Pastor Ted Baird. "So how do we get the message out to as many people as possible?"  

They are spreading the gospel on many social media avenues from texts to tweets to Facebook and Instagram.  

"I said never miss a chance to smile," one congregation member, Roisin DeBonis, posted on Facebook.  

"Who are you grateful for today?" Barbi Nix posted on the church's Facebook page during the service Sunday morning.

"I sent this text to my mom just to tell her I am so thankful for her and that I love her very much," said church member Beth Baird.

"Today I took a picture of Ted," said member Joshua Foster about posting it on Instagram. "Giving him some words of encouragement."

But these messages are being sent right in the middle of the service.

"I want you to get our your cell phone," said Baird during the Sunday service.

During a sit-down interview he said, "We feel like if they can take action in the moment, it's much more impactful for them and for the person they are interacting with."

In our fast-paced world where traditionally people go to church to escape the distractions, this church is embracing it.

"I love it and think everybody should do it. It's the way we connect these days," said Nix.

We said,  "Some people think this is disrespectful." Baird answered, "I recognize that that's a challenge for some people. They think it's a break with tradition and as we watch the church advance through its lifecycle, it constantly embraces the edge."

Baird also said it gives people a mental break and said we can learn better that way.

"We have the best opportunity in the history of the world to communicate our message," said Baird. "We have to just take advantage of it."

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