Monthly Archives: April 2015

Social Media Strategy

Social-CollageFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…

These and many other social networking websites have swept the world like a global tsunami. Social media have especially affected the younger generation.

Social media have not always resulted in good. The goal of social media is to bond people with one another. In too many cases, social media result in artificial relationships, new kinds of addictions, narcissism, and fictional portraits of oneself to so-called “friends,” defeating the purpose for which the creators intended it.

Ravi Zacharias has called social media “the new Tower of Babel.” Like the original Tower of Babel, “they all wanted to come together, and all of a sudden, the Bible says, in an incredible way, the languages were confused, and the people could not communicate with each other…”

We can use social media for good or for evil, he says. He challenges the next generation of Christian believers to use it for good.

Justin Wise, 34 years old, comes from the younger generation. He has become convinced that social media can become a mighty weapon to glorify God and advance the gospel around the world. Recently, Facebook turned 10 years old, and it will not go away. We ignore social media at our peril. As Christians, how do we deal with it in ways that honor Christ?—this has become his life mission.

Wise earned both a Master of Divinity degree and a degree in electronic media. He believes the Lord called him, not to pastor a church but to help harness this 21st century phenomenon for the glory of God.

To that end, he wrote a book, The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication, for Christians who want to learn how to use internet technologies for Great Commission purposes. He has become a social media strategist. In 2004, he founded a consulting group called Think Digital to help churches and mission groups use social media in biblical ways.

He believes the social media require churches to think in new ways. No longer can the church simply publish and distribute information. Now, the church must become more directly involved in people’s lives. Churches who refuse to accept new realities and seize these new opportunities will simply fold up.

Historically, he says, Christians have helped to pioneer communication technology. In the days of the apostles, common people came to use pen and paper (or papyrus), once used only by a privileged few. Paul and the gospel writers seized upon this to pen the gospel and epistles to the churches.

Martin Luther used the newly-invented printing press to make his German translation of the Bible available to the German public.

Aimee Semple McPherson used the new invention of radio to broadcast an evangelistic message, as did Billy Graham in the early days of television.

Now it is our turn. Today, through social media, we have an opportunity to extend the Kingdom of God over the internet to the entire globe. Social media is to this generation what pen and paper was to Paul, and the printing press to Martin Luther.

What would have happened to the gospel if Paul decided that pen and paper were too worldly and common to communicate the glories of God’s Kingdom? Without his letters, what kind of lives would we live today?

Let today’s generation seize this new God-given opportunity for His glory!

Your Life, His Grace

In the Greek New Testament, the word for “witness” is also the root word for “martyr.” When Jesus tells His disciples, “You shall be my witnesses…,” He is also saying, “You will lay down your lives for My sake.”

This does not mean that we must seek martyrdom to become a “witness” for Christ. But it requires that we count the cost of discipleship. We must see ourselves as soldiers for Christ. When a new recruit takes his oath of loyalty, he gives his superiors the right to send him anywhere, even into battles that require great risk to his life, from which he may not return.

A-bigger-lifeTo become a “witness” for Christ means that we serve a life bigger than this earthly life. The circumstances of our lives are short and uncertain. There are other things better and eternal, centered on Christ. A true “witness,” like Jesus, has compassion upon people and a world that wander like sheep without a shepherd. Whether in life or death, true witnesses trust Jesus to provide everything they need, to go wherever He says to go.

Jesus warns His “witnesses” that He may assign them to take the gospel as “sheep to wolves.” Many will gladly accept the Good News, but others will hate the “witness,” claim that he is destroying society and seek to defame him or her.

Like Jesus, witnesses may also have to stand before the authorities in trial for their faith. But their suffering will further the gospel, and the Holy Spirit will give them the words to say at the right time.

We are to become Christ’s witnesses with the perspective of Christ’s own suffering and of His Second Coming. We are to know that whatever suffering we face will bring glory to God, a great reward in heaven and ultimate judgment for those who persecute us. We are to know that even if we lose our lives, human power over us ends at death, but God’s power is eternal.

Grace is costly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us. The gift is free, but it costs our lives. Beware of “cheap grace,” he warns, “the grace that we [not God] bestow on ourselves…forgiveness without repentance…baptism without discipline, communion without confession.”

“Costly grace,” he goes on, “costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew what he was talking about. God called him as a witness to serve Him in Nazi Germany—a place unfriendly to the gospel. He became a leader of the Confessing Church when other German churches were giving in to Hitler. His friends wanted to save him by bringing him to America, but after a few months, Bonhoeffer knew he must return to the place God called him.

Bonhoeffer indeed paid with his life, but he became the ultimate winner. Days after his death, Hitler went down to defeat—and suicide. Bonhoeffer’s witness continues throughout the world in his writings and his example of commitment to Jesus Christ.

This month, as we celebrate Christ’s costly sacrifice and His triumphant resurrection, may each of us also count the cost of discipleship and commit ourselves to effective witness however and wherever Christ calls us.

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