Reflection::The Gospel and Social Media

(There are many more profound articles on the use of Social Media and the gospel…this is NOT one…but a mere reflection on God’s movement in my life recently and how Social Media has played a role)

Last Sunday, I went before a 200 year old church’s session to share with them the mission and vision God has given us for this church plant.  One of the questions that was raised was how I was utilizing social media, and it made me recognize that Social Media plays a vital role in this mission.
I frequently laugh that it took my getting involved with a men’s group whose average age was 43 to get hyper involved in Twitter.  Before the Blue Ridge Relay, our team of men from 34-47 sat at Chili’s discussing the benefits of Twitter, while high school cheerleaders sat one table away lampooning the foolishness of Twitter.  However, I do believe that Social Media–when used effectively–can be harnessed for the Gospel’s use.  
The witness of Jesus Christ is that God put on human flesh to enter into the world of humanity.  He met people on their turf and in their space.  It makes one wonder why God chose a technological infant era to penetrate the world, rather than use the media saturated culture we now live in.  For the city of Jerusalem’s total population was 40,000 people (less than Panther’s Stadium), and Jesus never traveled more than 37 miles (Southpark to Davidson College)…yet He altered the realm of human history.
So how can the Church harness social media now?
I have found it relatively simple
First embrace it:  Become a city on a hill within the virtual world.  Use blogs, webpages, twitter, Facebook, Vine…and keep using them–they grow stale fast.
But then transform its use:  
We must acknowledge and realize that Social Media will allow people to peer into our live, but it is not enough.  There seems be a cultural understanding on Facebook (and maybe its just our Southern gentleness in the virtual world) that you can never say, “Oh I saw on Facebook that photo, status update, etc.”  It’s almost as though the virtual world and the real world should never collide.  
Ultimately though, for real faith to emerge it requires a face-to-face conversation over table fellowship.  This is what God’s witness in Jesus Christ proves.  Transformation occurs not through virtual means, but genuine relationships.  No booming voice from heaven, but God’s word came through a larynx and vocal chords of Jesus Christ.
While many folks crank out their friends, web hits and followers, we have to recognize that most of those are booooogggggussss relationships.  If we are allowed to remain just connected on Social Media, no depth will occur.  We should use these tweets, updates, photos, blogs, reflections, as starting points for real conversations.
I have found that as I tweet, blog and Facebook it gives people an avenue to peer into my life and faith walk.  But it isn’t until I saddle next to a guy on a run, or at the coffee house when they say, “What you wrote made me think…” that the Gospel transformation gets to take shape.
Therefore, I have recently begun to hear about VINE and started to wonder how my ministry might utilize VINE as a way to open up faith dialogue during the week for our community.  Anyone want to grab a coffee and help me flush that idea out?  

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