Transformation and the Potential of Social Media

by Tony Whittaker

When Jesus-followers deliberately choose social media friends in the wider community, amazing things become possible. If many Christians in your town or community have, say, 100+ Facebook friends, then cumulatively a majority of the entire community may have a direct relationship link with a Jesus-follower.

However, social media is “not a pulpit for preaching, but a cafe for friendship.” A research study by Dave Bennett demonstrates that the majority of lasting adult conversions result from an ongoing relationship with a Christian or Christians over a typical period of about two years.

depressionThe beauty of Facebook and other social media is that we can share appropriate conversation-starting resources from time to time–for instance, particular outsider-friendly pages within a website, or video shorts such as those curated by YesHeIs.com. Local churches can benefit by appointing a digital advocate to train and envision the rest of the church in digital possibilities such as these.

Research also shows that at any one time, about 30% of people are facing a life issue that is bigger than just the random niggles of life. These felt needs are a significant doorway for the good news. A new initiative by the online outreach team TruthMedia extends the opportunities to reach hurting people. Their team writes:

One of our ministry goals is to make sure that we create relevant and responsive content. This includes creating articles, videos – even something as seemingly simple as social media posts – that are so engaging that our readers are just compelled to respond!

Lately, we’ve been working on our Facebook page for our newest evangelistic strategy called Issues I Face. In that group, we’ve been sharing stories, links, and images and inviting the social media world to engage in conversation with a mentor. We’d like to share with you a story of one woman. She saw a few of our social media posts and started to leave comments on our Facebook page desperately asking for help because she was struggling with a variety of mental health issues. Our staff writer and resident social media expert, Tia, sent her a private message on Facebook and started a spiritual conversation. Here’s how Tia tells the story:

“A few weeks ago I started mentoring a woman I’ll call Marie with whom I have a lot in common. We have the same faith background, and we both unfortunately struggle with depression. Through email, I learned that she has a relationship with God and a prayer life, although the darkness of her depression makes her feel afraid that she has turned her back on God, and that He might be angry with her. I’m doing my best to pray with her daily and to encourage her that when we call out to God in our pain, that is a form of prayer and He not only hears but relates to our struggles. I’ve encouraged her to begin each day from a place of strength – praying right off the bat – and so she has subscribed to TheLife.com daily devos. Recently Marie has experienced physical healing, and we continue to pray together for mental and spiritual health too, that her doctors would be able to find a medication that works for her, and that her son who also deals with depression would experience healing grace. God is doing good things in His own time for Marie and her family.”

Isn’t it incredible how something seemingly simple as a Facebook comment can turn into a spiritual conversation? Please pray for Tia and Marie as they continue their conversation. Please pray for Marie’s son as well!

We need more people to ‘like’ our Facebook page. By liking our page and sharing our posts, our content can reach more people like Marie! Please ‘like’ the Issues I Face page.

If you have the gifts, consider also becoming an online mentor. TruthMedia are just one of several big outreach teams with the critical mass to train and use online mentors, working from home in their spare time.

 

Tony WhittakerTony Whittaker (@soonguy) is coordinator of Internet Evangelism Day, and an advocate for the use of digital media in evangelism.

 

Photo credit: Pixabay.com | Creative Commons