Social Network and the Gospel
Nearly five hundred years ago a small group of people led by an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, revolted against the abuses of their times. He was a religious activist and he was helped by groundbreaking technology--the printing press. The printing press was the new media of the day and they used it to churn out pamphlets, portraits and illustrations. These pamphlets were then circulated rapidly through a social network of friends, relatives, and acquaintances. And the first seeds of change began to take root.
Some scholars argued that religious reform of the sixteenth century is solely on account of the printing press. Others attribute the Protestant Reformation to lively sermons and the word-of-mouth spread of those teachings. The Internet and the way it is used around the world appear to have settled the argument. The mere existence of the message does not cause change. Change is brought about by the sharing of the message among a social network of friends and family. The tide of change rolled in because the message of this Augustinian monk went viral.
There are indeed many similarities between then and now. And one can learn much from them. People's lives have always been connected with those around them. And now, with over a billion smartphones in use around the world, as Tom Friedman, The New York Times columnist, says, "The world has gone from connected to hyperconnected."
A hyper connected world lends itself to easy distribution of the Christian Message of salvation through Jesus Christ. However, the challenge lies in making the Christian Message engaging to the thousands of unreached people who can now be reached. In this very decentralized online environment of discussion threads, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, it is no longer the job of a few to share the Gospel to the people. The call to spread the Gospel is to every Christian Believer. From their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, every Christian can share the Message to people in virtual communities around the world. It is within every Christian's power to amplify the Gospel on the Internet by blogging, tweeting, retweeting, liking and recommending the salvation narrative.
In closing, Social Media is yet another tool at the disposal of Christians around the world. It must be used well to spread the Message of salvation to the many who are yet to hear the Gospel.
Praise God for the many innovations and advances in communication and technology (The Bible, Exodus 15:11).
Ask God to empower a massive number of Christians to use social media to share the Gospel (The Bible, Philippians 4:13).
Pray the Message that is shared may be received in the hearts and minds of people (The Bible, Matthew 19:26)).
Pray for the countless people using the Internet. Pray that they find restoration and salvation through Christ (The Bible, Romans 10:9-10).
Sources: Social Media in the 16th Century, The Social Network Gospel, The Gospel and Social Media.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 Edition of the Win 10/40 Reporter.
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