Social Media, Not-So-Social Ministry
When social networking has damaging effects on how we do ministry.
Social media has definitely made the way we communicate with the world around us quick and easy. We can wish our friends a “happy birthday” by posting it on their Facebook walls, congratulate couples on their engagements and marriages, or even tweet a friend "good luck" on their upcoming job interview. Why drive twenty minutes out of the way and deal with traffic to deliver your friend a handwritten "get well soon" card when you can send her a message on Facebook instead?
We live in a society that prefers instant gratification over time consumption. Our society prefers the easy and convenient route instead of the route that requires a little more sweat and effort. And because of this, many of our relationships become less personal. Don't get me wrong--the social media world isn't a realm made up of only flaws, but what happens when social media affects the way we do ministry?
As Christ followers, we've been called to share the love of Jesus with the rest of the world. Mark 16:15 instructs us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." That sounds easy enough. I can update my tweets and statuses to Bible verses and make them public for anyone in the world to see! While this is true, and while social media can be an effective tool for ministry, it should by no means become our only tool for ministry.
The dangerous thing about social media and ministry is that it becomes easy for us to think that if we post enough about the love of Jesus online, then we don't have to share it face to face in real-life conversations.
This is when the convenience of social media becomes a drawback. Just think for a moment... If Jesus was alive, walking around on Earth in today's culture, then how do you picture him sharing the love of God? Do you see him having a conversation about what it means to have faith with an old widow in the park, preaching the gospel to college students on college campuses, or helping mission teams drill clean drinking water wells in Africa? Or do you see Jesus just laying back on a laptop preaching through Facebook statuses and then calling it a day?
Ministry is not meant to be easy. Ministry is not for the faint of heart. It involves taking risks and choosing challenging routes over quick-and-easy routes. Sure, we can play it safe by trying to lead a friend to accept Christ through the security behind a computer screen instead of boldly having the conversation face to face, but how does that at all reflect the passionate, thriving, ambitious, heart of Christ for loving God's people? In fact, we've been told through scripture that we will go through suffering when it comes to carrying out God's love. 2 Timothy 2:3 says "Join me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."
Good Soldier - In order to be a good soldier of Christ when it comes to combating the lies and deceptions of sin and rescuing the lost who don't know the love of God, we have to join in Christ's suffering. We have to get our hands dirty. Jesus and his disciples would walk for miles and miles in the intense desert heat with nothing but the sweaty clothes sticking to their backs, and would go for days without food when they were out spreading the gospel and serving others. So why shouldn't we get off of Facebook and meet up with a friend who needs to know about Christ's love through a face-to-face conversation over coffee? Ministry is meant to be relational, sincere, and social. Ironically, using social media as our only ministry tool isn't so social after all.
Written by Katelyn Bode
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