Thanks to social media, news and events move at a break-neck speed. Think of the Arab Spring, Ferguson, or other current events and movements in which Twitter, Facebook, and other social media connections caused a tipping point of awareness and engagement. We are in a new age of communication, the digimodern age according to Alan Kirby, where social media is often the kindling of a growing fire.
In light of these cultural shifts, Electronic Marketing Specialist at SEBTS, Sam Morris and I began a conversation on The Great Commission and the Digimodern Age. Involvement in missions means you care about areas like communication, contextualization, and culture. Sam and I feel this conversation is one that needs more attention. Over the next few months, we hope to unpack the various questions and layers of this topic.
A primary role of the CGCS is to equip students for the mission field and send them out prepared for whatever may come their way. Our hope is that we can learn more about the digimodern age together, in order for students and career missionaries to be able to use media wisely and ultimately for the advancement of the Great Commission. Join Sam and me in this conversation about the ups and downs of multimedia advancement and how as a Christian we interact with it.
Some initial questions we will be dealing with are:
What are the mediums available in this digimodern age? How do we use social media in a responsible way? How can we use social media safely in restrictive contexts while also raising awareness?
Here are a few primer points on the value of social media for Christians and missionaries:
- A key reminder: Social media is a tool to augment conversation. It is not the conversation itself. Social media platforms are tools.
- It’s important for Christians to acquire a social listening ear by watching different feeds on social media. This allows you to be aware of current topics of conversation, and also lets you in on the things people value. People are mostly honest on social media, pay attention to what they are saying. This is not a substitute for a face-to-face conversation, but social media can be a great tool for pastors and missionaries.
- Being a part of SEBTS, our world of Southern Baptists holds a massive niche on Twitter.
- Social media can be a hostile environment, but it is a place for us as Christians to engage.
- Practical warnings
- Would you say this comment in front of “x” amount of people? If you’re not okay with saying it in your everyday life, don’t post it in your media world.
- Matthew 18 still applies on social media. How you treat brothers and sisters is still applicable online. A lot of people forget that they are Christians first. They speak before they think, but they speak it in a way that is wrong or harsh. We’ve got to be aware of this and be okay with taking a breather; wait 24 hours before responding.
The whole idea of social media and how we as Christians interact with it is something that we all need to consider. Look for our continuing conversation on the Great Commission and the Digimodern Age over the next few weeks.