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Social Media: Ministers of Grace

In the 21st Century, Social Media Usage has become a part of everyday life.

Christianity Today published a study about young Christian millennials and technology from Barna Research.

Among the findings:

  • 70% of millennials who identified as practicing Christians say they use a smartphone or Internet to read Scripture

  • 59% say they search for spiritual content online

  • 56% have visited the website of a church

  • 54% say they've watched spiritual videos online

  • 4 out of 10 have participated in online faith discussions AND blogged or commented on a blog about their faith.

Only 32% of churches use social media to get feedback from members. (Source: Buzzplant)

Also according to these same statistics, social media is the most effective method of outreach according to 46.1% of churches.

The research is consistent with similar studies by LifeWay Research and Pew Internet that found the adoption of mobile technology by young adults to be extraordinarily high, while the church lagged behind culture as a whole.

As someone who has been observing the social media interactions of Christians, I see a huge gap that needs to be filled, and very few are filling it.

In Ezekiel 22:30, Ezekiel bemoans the spiritual state and the coming destruction of Jerusalem:

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

As more Christians, especially younger believers, exit the church for various reasons, many are seeking spiritual guidance and information through social media. Unfortunately, many brick-and-mortar churches are not engaged enough in social media to be aware of the types of issues that these Christians are facing. We need "gap fillers". I believe the enemy is heavily engaged in social media and is working overtime to fracture the Body of Christ through false teaching, false prophets, counterfeit Christians, conspiracy theories, foolish controversies and arguments, and even through Satanists and Atheists posing as Christians in order to distract and disrupt.

In Ephesians 2:2, Paul tells us that Satan is the "ruler of the kingdom of the air":

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Knowing this, we shouldn't be surprised that the enemy seems to be dominating social media. Another problem that I have observed is that because there is no "church leadership" and accountability on social media, there is a lot of contention. Nobody can correct anybody else, and many people who say that they are Christians use abusive language or "troll" people using fake accounts. There is no way that I can see to fix that particular problem in-and-of itself, however, I do believe that we may have a solution in Romans 12:9-21 (Love in Action):

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We need ministers on Social Media. We need those who sincerely love the Lord, who can withstand in patience hateful responses and accusations without reacting in kind (revenge). We need people who can identify with what others may be going through, and be willing to minister the Word of God to them. And, we need ministers with forgiving hearts who are willing to minister to the person who just insulted them.

We must avoid foolish controversies and conspiracies -- anything that distracts from the Gospel. And we need ministers "working in the field" who are not conceited and will point to Christ, rather to themselves. We CAN overcome the evil that is overtaking social media by doing good, and spreading God's Word in faith.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12