I have been wrestling around this very thought for the past 14 months. After having been called to service as Electronic Media Coordinator with World Mission Prayer League (WMPL), my online engagement increasingly stemmed from a professional and ministerial perspective — my intentions and purposes became more mission-driven. Certainly, my responsibilities have both broadened my exposure to and deepened my experience in the social media culture. I have come to some basic understandings and personal revelations regarding the realm of online interactions. I consider the following to be generally, if not explicitly, true of both organizations and individuals as they navigate the unknown lands of this relatively new world:
- Social media is a land and culture all its own in which all men are merely visitors.
- We often have no aim — no purpose.
- Community ? Relationship
- Christians falter in Christian witness.
- The Church too often fails in mission.
Let’s agree the online world is a new frontier full of limitations and fears, but the opportunities for reaching the lost are abundant.
As I began considering this series of posts, I googled ‘Social Media Missionary’ and found that, only days before, the Mormon Church had announced that they would be training missionaries for this online harvest field. The broader community is sensing a need for greater training toward online engagement and beginning to respond. We, as Christians, must not neglect the call God has given us in this day — this age. Let us well steward our call.
It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule. – J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Together, let’s face the questions. How does it look to engage in authentic relationships online? How do we make our online purposes more than the pushing around of well-organized zeroes and ones. How do we see past the e-tinted image of reality and into the heart of a matter … into the the heart of our fellow man — our sister — our brother?
In some future posts, I would like to guide a journey of understanding missions in the context of an online culture. In the meantime, consider Eph. 4 again. Paul offers some pointed directives as we carry along the Way. Thoughts?