Half of the world is on the internet. Billions are on social media. How should your church step up to the plate?
I think you are one of two kinds of people. The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you’re either interested in the potential that social media has in our lives and our churches—or social media is a proverbial Goliath for you, a nine foot monster sent here to wipe you from existence. Either way, social media is a giant that we’re all facing, and if we don’t do something we’ll all be a Philistine sandwich.
Online ministry can be a menacing behemoth of a challenge, but there is hope.
I have good news. Social media, though vast, mysterious and sometimes very dark—can be wielded like a sling and a stone. If you’re using the stones God has given to you, for example a website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more—that’s fantastic! You are on your way to taking out the giant. If you are not, don’t worry. There’s a stream nearby with some smooth river rocks that are big ole Goliath’s kryptonite.
It was David’s duty on that fateful day to defeat the giant. If he hadn’t killed Goliath, David’s life would have been over. I believe it’s our duty to reach a lost, hurting, and broken world through social media. And if we don’t…we’ll be as dead as David would have been. Don’t believe me? Look around at all the churches closing their doors. I’m willing to bet that they weren’t slinging the stones of a polished website and social media pages. That’s not the only reason why churches are shutting down, but it’s a great contributor to their demise. It’s one element that shows their failure to conform to modern ministry.
Disuse of online ministry shows a failure to conform to modern ministry.
Social media and ministry over the internet is the future. No wait…it’s already happening! As time goes on, social media grows more and more important. With every passing second, reaching people online becomes more and more a vital organ in the body of the church. It’s where the people are! In fact, it’s the biggest, most challenging mission field on the planet. And it’s the most neglected mission field on the planet. When you consider Facebook alone, its monthly active users surpass the populations of both India and China. That’s right. There are nearly two billion active users. If Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous country on the planet.
The Goliath for us is the massive amount of people online. No, they’re not going to kill us (literally). But it is the daunting task set before us by the King of Kings. Jesus gave us timeless instruction:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:5
“And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Matthew 28:19-20
“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8
There you have it from the Son of God himself. Jesus has given us the responsibility of taking the Gospel to all people everywhere. And most people from most places are online. They’re all a click away. But how do you even begin to reach people over the internet? What’s the first step, the second step and so on in spreading the hope of Christ over social media?
Is online success attainable for your church?
This is part one of a three part series for online ministry. I hope today’s article makes the case for social media. Next time, we’ll talk about the tools you could and should be using for your website and for social media. Is social media and online ministry a weak form of ministry? In other words, is it incomparable to a mission trip or a face to face conversation? For a single staff member church, can you be successful in online ministry? Comment your thoughts below, and hit share if you think your church should start using these stones of ministry.