Today is an important day in the calendar of the global Church. It is the day we focus on Internet Evangelismand draw attention to the amazing opportunities we have to share our faith online. It is growing more and more significant because the level of community and the power of the online tools are growing exponentially. Through facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkedin and other sites we have the ability to connect in truly significant ways with those that are part of our network globally.
But online evangelism is hard and we really don't see that much of it going on. Why is that. Here are a few reasons for the challenge and our thoughts on how to counter them intentionally:
1. So much of our online engagement is now mobile. This means that we are not going deep with our conversations. In fact, tools like twitter have made much of our online engagement more superficial. Compare today's online interactions to those that happened back in the days of chat rooms where people would engage in deep (and many times contentious) discussions.
Our Response: Whether you are on the go or sitting in front of a screen at home, be very deliberate about the messages you share online. See every "like," every "follow," every comment, every post as an opportunity to shine Jesus' light into that interaction.
2. While we are connected we are not enaged with those whom we know online. We have so many friends, fans and followers but we do not really interact with most of them on any given week. So we have a false sense of community based on affiliation rather than engagement.
Our Response: Start to engage. One year, Jon decided to send an individual note to one person in his facebook community each day. That created a level of engagement with people whom he hadn't talked with in months that he could have never imagined. It also opened up opportunities for significant discussions.
3. Our posture online tends to be about our agenda rather than the interests/wants/needs of others. Because social media is such a wonderful viral tool to tell people about our causes, products, services and ministries, we get focused on "using" our network to advance those things.
Our Response: While sharing about what you are up to is important, make sure that part of your engagement online is focused on the ideas, questions, thoughts and needs of those in your community.
How are you overcoming these challenges? How will you take up the challenge that Internet Evangelism Day is presenting to engage your online communities?