It’s our job. We use words …
- to create and express a compelling vision of the future
- to inspire and encourage people around us
- to speak God’s Word to various audiences
- to engage others with questions and observations
- to “write the vision and make it plain … so that he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2)
- to empathize, respond and express love
- in countless other ways to move people on to God’s agenda
Leaders in the 21st century use social media to convey those words. I’ve just returned from the fantastic MinistryNet 2011
conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Last week 170 people from 32 countries gathered to discuss how to more rapidly advance the church’s mission of making disciples through the use of social media and digital technologies.
1. The gospel has always spread most rapidly through existing social networks. In my opening keynote, I highlighted Paul’s ministry to the church at Rome. He names 27 friends in chapter 16 who were influential members of the Roman church — yet Paul had never visited Rome! He was exerting influence through key relationships in his social networks to help make his message stick. These networks included families (Acts 16), friends and acquaintances (Acts 16 & John 4:28-30), religious groups (Acts 17) and the marketplace (Acts 17). Today almost everyone has significant relationships in at least three of these networks.
2. Missions has always been about going to where people are and meeting them on their turf — that means we must be present online. Over half of the 800 million Facebook users log in to check their accounts daily. The average user has 130 friends. If you say you don’t have time to engage in social media it’s probably because you don’t understand it. It’s not just about letting people know what you had for breakfast (no one cares, btw). It’s about sharing, listening, speaking, learning and influencing others. We must humble ourselves and learn the tools of the new trade or be left way behind.
3. We must become good stewards of this communication avenue for good purposes and for good news. Here are some great resources from participants at MinistryNet and their friends on how to jump into social media:
Toni Birdsong’s blog
– @StickyJesus – an equipping hub for online outreach – @tonibirdsong
Brian Russell of LifeChurch.tv – resources here
Steve Raquel’s blog
– Lots of How To posts on using social media more effectively
What are you waiting for? You already have social networks. What’s keeping you from using them for good and for God?