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!