All the way through history, the method by which the Church preaches the gospel has been driven by epochal technology. During the time of Apostle Paul, he used the Roman Road system. For the Reformation, it was the Printing Press. We, the current generation, it is the power of the Internet.
In our current generation, we have come to realize that we can reach and teach the world through a simple device we hold in our hands. The device can be a smart phone in our pocket or laptop in our bags. The world has changed, and there are great opportunities for the Church in our age.
Social Media is a tool that allows the Church to engage in conversations, share information, and generate their own content. Digital applications, computer-mediated instruments, mobile and web-based technologies serve to facilitate the transmission of this content. Digital technology is no longer an alternative social space, but it is now the main platform for providing and receiving information.
The mandate for the followers of Christ to go into the entire world will not be fulfilled by riding on a donkey through Jerusalem or like our Prophet (CKN Wovenu) who most of the times, walk on foot from town to town in propagating the gospel and winning souls for Christ but going into the virtual spaces made available through digital technology.
In this era, one is hard-pressed in certain Christian domains to find people who speak positively about social media. These groups of believers have continued to spread their affirmed contempt for modern means of communication.
In my role as the IT Officer in ARS Digital Media and the Director, BePius Christian Media, I have been an eyewitness to people responding strongly to short videos, authentic reflections, and spiritual graphics. Most at times, they respond to some of our branch pastors and our public relation officer who use social media to post daily bible quote, ask questions and offer prayers.
Social media seems to be susceptible. These days, many people live their lives on social media, which means they open themselves up to the inherent and constant vulnerability that comes from putting their hopes, dreams, emotions, opinions, challenges and day-to-day experiences out on display for all to see. Not everyone has the ability to voice their challenges out. That is why it is so important for our church to migrate into the social media to identify these ones and extend our help to them.
By using this medium of social media, ARS Church can spread the gospel through videos on everything from discussions to apologetics. Likewise, the Church can use a digital media to spread powerful and possibly life-changing articles that open the eyes of people to the truth or spark an interest to learn more. ARS has an Online News Platform, i.e. ARSOnline.org that made available life –changing articles.
Many Christian organizations are making use of social media to spread the Good News. For example, ARS Digital Media has over four thousand “likes” on Facebook which means that when they post content on their Facebook page, all of those that like them will see the content on their newsfeed. Those that “like” them also have easier access to their content on Facebook and are more likely to visit their website.
There are many people who would never accept an invitation from Christian friends to attend a Church service However, these same persons might love to click and watch a compelling video with a Christian message shared or posted by the same friends on Facebook or posted by the church’s digital media.
As Christians, our core mandate is not only to invite people to the church; but also, to bring the Church to the doorstep of the people. By bringing the Gospel to social media sites, we are improving people’s lives by giving them easy access to Christian materials in a place where they already are. But at the same time, we need to keep in mind that the best communication is interpersonal whiles social media helps to overcome distance.
Written by: Pius Isaac Sedofia