Right now, using just a smart phone and mobile data signal, you could reach more people with the gospel than Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, and the Apostle Paul did.
There’s more gospel potential in your pocket than in all the pulpits of all the churches in your town. The contact list on your mobile phone is a direct gateway into people’s lives. They trust you more than they do a TV preacher or a tent revival screamer.
There are three types of folks when it comes to technology:
Early Adopters: This is the dude who had the 1st generation iPhone, the girl who had a blog back when they were called web logs, and those of us who can remember when it was called www.thefacebook.com.
Cautious Adopters: These folks aren’t anti-technology, but they also aren’t going to go out and get the first generation device. They’re quick learners, for the most part, and willing to give gadgets and new services a try, after others have. With the right training and time, these folks become the driving force that causes technology to become mainstream. This group comprises the vast majority of the population.
Never Adopters: These are folks who think that somehow technology is evil, or the problem in society. I’m not really worried about them commenting on the blog. They say things like “kids these days are staring at screens and rotting their brains” and see little (if any) positive side to developing new technology and/or changing the way they do things. The interesting thing is that all of them have adopted certain technologies, unknowingly. Even Amish folks are using things like wheels, metal tools, and other technological advancements. The fun fact is that they are all cautious adopters who eventually thought it best to stop adopting. Some stopped at the industrial revolution, some later (and some earlier!). This group is a very small percentage of the population, and unless somebody printed this out and handed it to you, you’re probably not in this group.
The third group of folks are rare, but their ideology has sneaked into the church–and Christian subculture–in a lot of subtle ways (hymns are better than praise choruses, organs are better than guitars, door-to-door witnessing is the best way because it used to work really well, rural life is more biblical than living in the city, all smart phones and laptops are a waste of resources, after all, couldn’t we be feeding the hungry with that money?)
I’m not encouraging every Christian to become an early adopter. But the Church and the parachurch ministries alongside her need folks who are pioneering new technology for the cause of Christ. Those folks could do without the assumption that because we are early adopters, we are being frivolous and wasteful with our money. (as an aside, we welcome folks helping us to check our motives when it comes to a gadget or technology purchase–we tend toward gadget-idolatry, and at times money would be better spent on feeding the hungry. There’s a balance to be struck.)
The real power of social media (that corporations and brands are scrambling to harness) is that not only are we able to get a message out to you, but we can do it with the “thumbs up” of your friends. How many of you want to see (or went already to see) the movie Inception purely because you’ve heard friends (most of them on facebook) rave about it? That’s the power of social media. People I trust telling me things they believe.
It’s my dream to see the gospel preached (and Liked) in one pocket of every pair of pants on every college campus in our region.
4 Replies to “The Profound Implications of Social Media for Christians.”
great post ben.
i’m an early adopter and i DON’T expect others to be what i am.
my experience in the church w never adopters is this:
i’m a never adopter and i EXPECT you to be what i am.
will definitely be sharing this post!
Thanks, Brian! That’s a great point, stated much more clearly and concisely.
I want people to be ok with what I am. So in a sense, I want folks to be what I am, but just ideologically. They don’t have to adopt the tech as quickly, but they need to see a need for it.
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