We've all read the statistics.
Psychologists have warned of the dangers of social media to our mental and emotional health.
Every week or so a new article publishes new findings and reasons why we should all abandon Facebook and re-engage in society with our "real-life" friends.
Why the front porch should be physical, not virtual.
And you know what? I'm all for that. I really am. As much as I love social media, I'm all for hanging out with people I can actually touch.
However, I am not for abandoning social media. Not by a long shot. And here's why.
Most of you know that I came to Croatia as a missionary. I had big dreams and huge goals. But God had another goal in mind.
Three years later I got married and then kids came along and my physical reach shrunk.
We moved to the country and it shrunk even more.
As a stay-at-home mom in the country, and as a one-car family, we can only do so much to physically reach people.
But even if this scenario were different, our resources would still be limited to money and location.
The Internet offers us an opportunity to reach exponentially more people in a shorter amount of time for little-to-no out-of-pocket expense.
Literally every Christian with Internet access can become an online missionary.
No need to raise support.
Just grab your computer and the whole world is at your fingertips right now!
Here are three ways you can reach people on the Internet:
1. Social Media. Social media is the obvious. Check out these numbers!
According to Statista, as of last quarter, Facebook had over 1.19 billion users. Twitter had over 236 million.
Now—just think of the reach you can have as an online missionary with those kinds of numbers!
2. Blogging. Yes, the blogosphere is saturated. But marketing experts all agree that blogging is not fading on the horizon any time soon. Everyday new bloggers enter the blogosphere!
You can choose any number of free platforms, or you can invest in your own website with your own url as a place to share the good news of Jesus Christ!
3. Internet forums. I would dare to say that Internet forums are one of the most neglected online mission fields.
If you have a passion to reach the lost but don't know where to start, here is where you can start. If time is flexible for you, my advice would be to start working graveyard.
Many hurting people find they can't sleep and end up turning to the Internet to dull their pain. They hang out in chat rooms and Internet forums where they open up.
These are people whom you might not ever reach by any other means but through the Internet.
Here are four ways you can use social media to evangelize:
1. Set your profile to public. If you are nervous about your personal stuff becoming public, just be cautious about what you share. The advantage to having your profile set to public is that your friends can share what you post to their own profiles and your reach has suddenly become worldwide.
Post encouraging statuses, Bible verses, your thoughts on your daily devotions, or even long blog-style posts right in your Facebook status.
I have a friend who daily posts "Back Porch Observations". They are thought-provoking, encouraging and even challenging at times, and his reach is amazing!
2. Start a Facebook page, public group, or Google+ community. If the idea of a public profile makes you nervous, you can start a page. Name if after yourself, or come up with a catchy name.
Be sure to ask your friends to like your page. Then ask them continue liking, sharing and commenting on what you post so that your posts are seen by more people. To effectively run a Facebook page, see my posts here, here and here.
3. Online Bible Study. There are a lot of online Bible studies to choose from. I help lead Good Morning Girls. To increase your reach with an online Bible study, consider running a Facebook page simultaneously with a secret group so that those who share private needs in your group are assured that their confidentiality is respected.
Even if you pair up with an existing Bible Study, like Good Morning Girls, you can run a page. Just give it a unique name and then share the the posts and images, with your own thoughts and observations from the study, to your page. By doing this, you're not only helping to expand an existing ministry, your own reach will be that much more effective!
4. Vlog. Diversify your message by vlogging. Most devices now allow you to easily record yourself. Upload your videos to YouTube and then share them to social media.
To make your videos more Facebook-friendly, upload your video from your device directly to Facebook. This will increase your reach.
While it's true that social media can be a waste of time, and even emotional energy, it is only a resource.
Social media is what we put into it.
Let's be responsible stewards of this amazing resource and use it for God's glory!
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