The Benefits of Social Media
We're closer than we've ever been to each other. We can read blogs written in Cambodia, or receive tweets from Australia. We can keep up with friends near and far simply by checking their facebook. We can rally for causes like sex trafficking and garner awareness simply by suggesting a page to a friend. We are increasingly a global community, all thanks to social networking.
And yet countless sermons and articles have come out warning us about globalization, about social networking, and about the times we seem live in. Phrases like one world government and end time prophesies are being thrown about in both fear and hope. (I prefer the hope part)
I read an article the other day from a conservative Christian magazine demonizing social media as if it were in itself responsible for the downfall of civilization as we know it. I couldn't help but think that by following this theology, we're missing a great opportunity for God's Kingdom, opportunities to fulfill the Great Commission and to reach millions more with a click of a button.
1. Social Media gives us an opportunity to read and tell our stories. When it comes to learning, we tend to receive best through stories. The Old Testament is filled with stories of loss, love, and triumph. Our hearts rally to the cause of the hero and cheer on the underdog. We need each others stories of God's triumph in our lives, testimonies that God still works the same today that He did 2,000+ years ago.
2. It helps raise awareness. Thirty years ago people rallied for causes through protests and letters. Today we can help give a voice to the voiceless with simply a click of a button. One tweet or update can reach thousands (and even millions) more than any letter could have. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy..(Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV).
3. It helps us know what to pray for. Voice of the Martyrs is an organization close to my heart as they spread awareness about those who suffer persecution. I can pray for a Pastor of an underground church in China, a Christian missionary in Afghanistan, a woman serving on a Mercy ship docked in Africa, or an imprisoned church member in Laos. Social media is one of the most often overlooked but valuable prayer tools available to us.
4. It gives us perspective. It's easy to get caught up in our own small worlds but when we hear about seven year olds trapped in the sex trade, or families surviving on less than $1 a day, or special needs children in India who are cast aside and abandoned.....you begin to realize that it's not all about you.
5. It gives us hope. Never before have we had access to so many testimonies, encouraging words, and teaching opportunities. God has gifted many Christian leaders with the ability to teach, uplift, and encourage us in just one sentence. It's like having a ring of virtual cheerleaders around us all the time, spurring us on to live the life God wants us to.
6. It helps us fulfill the Great Commission. There is no doubt in my mind that we sit on the precipice of what may be the "end times," because never before have we had the resources and tools to fulfill the Great Commission as we do right now. The world is getting smaller, and with these tools, our arms a little longer.
Let's put it this way... if God can use a donkey to fulfill His purposes, he can use Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey too. Social networking is an opportunity to reach out into a world we never could have touched before, if we use it wisely.