Social Media Helps Us See More of God’s Work
By Matt Brown
We live in a time of God moving around the world in ways unprecedented in Church history, but most of us are stuck in the “bad news” media cycle that keeps our heads spinning with worry and concern for the future of our children.
With all the bad news that floods our TV and smart phone, God’s Word calls us to focus on that which is good. Philippians 4:8 chides our over-worried generation saying, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
How much of your life would change if you focused on the good?
What most Christians don’t realize is that there is so much good God is doing in the world today, and there is constant fodder for which to focus our hearts on, that would encourage and surprise us, and lift our faith to new levels.
I share many stories of the astonishing work of God in the world today in my upcoming book Awakening (releases February 10 from Leafwood Publishers).
One of the easiest ways to open your eyes to more of what God is doing is to simply open Twitter, and follow what God is doing in the Church on social media.
In my new book, I write, “Some of the signs of spiritual awakening in the world today can be found on social media. Local pastors that you’ve probably never heard of have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of real followers on social media.”
The business magazine Fast Company reports, “Celebrities aren’t the only ones who can claim royal status on Twitter.” Though he might not be Kim Kardashian, the Pope has already collected hundreds of thousands of followers for his Twitter account. It’s not surprising that holy high rollers are drawn to the medium: religious leaders on average pull more weight per tweet, with one retweet for every five hundred followers. In comparison, musicians typically get a retweet for every thirty thousand followers.
“We see a very high level of engagement with religious and spiritual content,” a Twitter spokeswoman told CNN. “Followers respond to these topics with replies, retweets, and clicks on links much more often than they do other subjects.”
The New York Times originated this study, stating: Why are some tweets more popular than others? When a Twitter staff member set out to answer that question 10 months ago, he thought the answer would emerge among posts from NBA players, politicians, or actors. Instead, he found a mystery: a set of messages that were ricocheting around Twitter being forwarded and responded to at a rate that was off the charts. “They were punching way above their weight,” said Robin Sloan, who discovered the anomaly but did not recognize the names behind the tweets. Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado, and Andy Stanley were not well known inside Twitter’s offices. But they had all built loyal ranks of followers well beyond their social networks — they were Christian leaders whose inspirational messages of God’s love perform about 30 times as well as Twitter messages from pop culture powerhouses like Lady Gaga.3 (Awakening, pp. 57-58)
At this year’s NRB Digital Media Summit, Lord Robert Edmiston, a member of the British House of Lords, will share his personal journey of transforming, literally overnight, his worldwide radio broadcasting ministry into a digital media ministry focusing on evangelism using short form digital videos on a mobile platform.
We don’t need to look further than social media to see that God is at work in the Church around the world in surprising ways. This is one of the many reasons it is important for Church leaders to engage on social media. It will encourage and inspire their faith. We need to be careful not to get too focused on our own ministry bubbles that we become disconnected from all God is doing in other places.
Matt Brown is an evangelist, author of Awakening: How God’s Next Great Move Inspires and Influences Our Lives Today (Spring 2015, Leafwood Publishers), and founder of Think Eternity. He and his wife, Michelle, are impacting thousands of people with the Gospel each year through live events and online. They also minister to more than 400,000 followers on social media daily.