Love Your Neighbor…in 140 words or less
I must admit that I was one of those who resisted the social networking craze that has swept the world over the last few years. Seriously, don’t we have enough to keep us busy as it is? I already have 150 cable\satellite\U-verse TV stations, of which I watch 2 (both involve food). I have an iPod containing my entire collection of disco music and the Urban Cowboy soundtrack (my wife may file divorce papers for letting that one out of the closet), and a phone that can organize my entire life but can’t tell me what my own phone number is.
So when I first heard about this newfangled “MyFace,” I threw up my hands and said, “Whoa buddy, my face is staying on my head…’taint much to look at but it’s all I got.”
Alas, I surrendered to the allure of a continuous stream of news, personal updates, bad jokes, and photographs of the new baby. I’ve become so well informed that I can simultaneously give you seventeen differing opinions on any given subject. I still don’t know the answers, but at least I’ve got a whole quiver o’ theories from which to choose. I’ve rediscovered childhood friends I’d lost contact with thirty years ago. And remembered why I’d lost contact with them in the first place. I must admit, though, it is fun to see who’s lost all his hair while my lush mane still floweth like a mountain river on a spring morning.
Something funny happened along the way to social media overload, however. Between 700 of my dearest friends on facebook and another 300 on twitter, I’ve come to realize there are real people on the other end of those screen names. Well, maybe not all of them are real people. I can confirm for you right now that Snickers and KitKat Estrada cannot read or type. Yet somehow they can play farmville.
Be that as it may, many of us may have missed the obvious: we can now talk to just about every human on the planet from our living room. And, if memory serves me, Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel to the world.
I may be going out on a dried, leafless limb here, but if Paul had a twitter account, he would have foregone a couple of shipwrecks. I would certainly have @PaulforChrist on my contact list.
Now, I understand most of you are already fully aware of the networking possibilities of the new media. Your facebook pages include things like “1million Christians” and “Bible Believers.” Your favorite twitter hashtags are #Worship and #Jesus.
But have you ever joined a page called “Gay Pride” or followed a hashtag called #MyBiggestSecret?
“What?” you say, “How can a good Christian even look at such things?”
That would be like Paul going to the temple in Ephesus or Jesus dining with the tax collectors. It just can’t be!
My friends, that’s where the lost gather in large groups, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Who are we sharing the gospel with over at #BibleStudy? I believe that is referred to as #PreachingToTheChoir.
A facebook friend and I tried a little experiment recently. We both have blogs where we share the gospel message and not much else (mine is tweets@God).
Every day we hit the twitter search button to see what the trending hashtags are. Sometimes they’re silly, like #DontComeOverIf. Sometimes they’re sports related, like #Indy500. But always something new. We post to the trending hashtag, cleverly fitting in a gospel message, add a link to our blog, and end it with #WPFTL, which stands for We Pray For The Lost. By adding #WPFTL, we can track all the gospel message posts made by the group and easily retweet.
During the day we constantly retweet each other’s posts. We now have about twenty people participating, so the retweeting grows exponentially. Remember, twitter is a continuous stream, so posts are only good for a few minutes or even a few seconds, much like the instructions my wife gives me on a Saturday morning.
In the two weeks we’ve been working on this, I’ve seen page hits at tweets@God go from five a day to fifty. In a world of millions of blogs, this is pretty good. Some of our members have gotten into long conversations via twitter as a person seeking the truth reaches out to them. They always forward the UFO nuts to me. I don’t know why.
How many people have actually prayed the salvation prayer that’s posted on my blog? I have no idea. But we’re called to plant the seed. Others are called to harvest. It’s not a numbers game, it’s our response to the Great Commission. It certainly doesn’t spare us the responsibility of witnessing to living breathing, flesh-wrapped souls. But it gives us an open door while we wait for the next humanoid to cross our path.
We are certainly not the only self-made ministry out there involved in this activity. Do a little searching (try Googling “twitter and Jesus”), and you’ll find a couple of pages worth. If you’d like to check ours out, take a look at my partner’s website at Worship The Lord Jesus (catchy title, huh?) and read how to join the twitter blitz for Jesus.
So how about you? Have you discovered new ways to share the gospel in this ever growing cyber-world? I’d love to hear your ideas.