I confess; I now tweet (@revgpp if you are interested. The number of my followers is well below the number added on the day of Pentecost. In fact they would comfortably fit in a small room). I started as I had a training day this week on the Church and social media. Interesting process; small group, someone you respect leads, shows you the possibilities, does not preach at you, but enthuses without gushing and you end up taking a new direction….. there must be something in that for evangelism….somewhere.
I also facebook and as you are reading this, you must know that I blog. Why? I like it, but also, as our trainer suggested, I am unconsciously building a hinterland. Preaching to your constituency and being chaplain to them has some value, but doing that 100% of your time means almost no cutting edge (although paradoxically it may lead to a higher role/respect within the institution). It also means that when you assail the world; well it can feel like an assault. At its best, social media allows you to show yourself quirks and all: be wary of the Christian whose every tweet or facebook post shows only glory.
A minister I used to know in the 80s had a florid and sometimes archaic use of English, but one word I do remember him using a lot was ‘winsome’. He meant that if anyone was going to be interested in following Jesus, they were far more likely to be attracted if you respected them and their territory; if you took off your shoes and regarded them as holy ground. I guess Facebook and Twitter is part of being ‘winsome’; the message I got was don’t just tweet ‘Repent or die’ but share your life; show that you are ordinary, real and open. And then tell them to ‘Repent or die’. Erm…..
And then someone asked the trainer a question like ‘But I don’t want to bother and no one in my church uses social media.’ I think he answered back something like ‘It would be like refusing to use the wheel for transport ‘
Go on…follow me…you know you want to….