From Tyler: Today’s post is from Jonathan Pearson, a guy I’ve engaged with via social media and blogging a lot over the past year. Jonathan has a passion for understanding and engaging the Millennial generation, and he’s also a great writer. I’m so glad to have him be sharing on this blog today. If you’re interested in guest posting, head here for more information.
My generation (the Millennial generation) has helped usher in a new time and day of information. During my generation, I’ve seen how relationships are grown, managed, and changed like never before. We can now ‘friend’ someone we’ve never met and ‘follow’ someone we’ve never talked face to face with. Social media has literally changed the ‘face’ of society (pun intended).
There’s a lot of debate around whether or not these changes in relationships and society are a good thing or a bad thing for society.
The short answer?
Yes and No.
Yes if we use them properly. If we use more than a drop of common sense and care. If we use it in a way that makes relationships better and not just lazier.
That being said, here are 2 ways social media has changed the Christian faith and the church.
What did it mean for a church to be ‘relevant’ 8 years ago? It meant that they played music a little differently than other churches and they preached sermons that dealt with the same things people face on a daily basis (and they had a spotlight) :). With social media, relevance has taken on a whole new meaning. Sure, it’s still essential that we tackle the real life issues that people deal with, but we have to interact with them during the week too.
Most people spend at least 1/3 of their online time on social networks now. In order to be relevant, Christians and churches have to leverage that to connect people when they’re not in the pews.
Yes, the way that you, as a Christian, do evangelism is changed by social media. Every Facebook post you throw up, every picture you post or repost, and every blog you publish says something about you to those people you’ve been trying to reach.
Does that mean we have to watch everything we say? YES. Seriously, I’ve heard more than one unbeliever say that they were turned off by something that their ‘Christian’ friend said online. Leverage social media for evangelism instead.
I don’t mean you have to quote Scripture all day, but instead use it to form purposeful relationships by staying connected with people God has led you toward and that you have influence with.
Now, don’t misunderstand these two ideas. I’m not saying that the Christian message has changed any; that is certainly not the case. I’m saying that the way we portray the Gospel and teach it is changing (or should be changing) rapidly.
Jonathan Pearson is a millennial determined to leave the world in better shape than he found it. He is the Communications and Online Campus Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church and Assistant Director of The Sticks. Jonathan is also the co-creator of MillennialLeader.com. He is married to Melissa and they live in Orangeburg, S.C.