There’s so much more to it than meets the eye.
Media can be used for so many more things than we give it credit for, and it opens up doors for us that would be locked tight without it.
My favorite thing about the chapter “Social Justice, Social Relief, and New Media” is that the author Stephen Shields gives readers real-life examples of organizations and churches that are using new media effectively to impact social justice and social relief issues.
It is hard to really conceptualize how to use new media in different situations, but Shield brings it to life when he describes the media efforts of Community 4:12, The Dream Center, Saddleback Church, and National Community Church.
Community 4:12, now a large church with multiple locations, has a heart for its members to really be the hands and feet of Jesus by having an active presence in social relief projects. The founder of this fellowship uses her blog to raise awareness for these issues and network with others with similar passions.
The Dream Center, founded in 1994, started as just a church, but now operates a 360,000 square foot facility that they use for various ministries to reach out to their community.
Saddleback Church, shepherded by Pastor Rick Warren, is walking out what they call the P.E.A.C.E. Plan– a vision for Planting churches, Equipping leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating the next generation. This program is held together largely through new media. New media makes it possible for people, who would otherwise have no clue about this program, to get on board by joining mission teams and registering for trips online.
National Community Church participates in the social justice effort through their homeless ministry and Week of Justice event. They also come together in Christian community through small groups called The Living Room. Both of these efforts make use of new media through their blog (“in-service”) and through online group discussions.
I love how Shields outlines these examples of groups effectively integrating new media into their social justice efforts.
It just goes to show that IT IS POSSIBLE.
New media can be such a great tool and honestly a gift from the Lord if Christ-followers would actively strive to claim it back for the cause of Christ.
Sure, it is raveged by sin and self promotion, but it is not too far gone.
Examples such as these show us that there is hope.
Justin Wise, “pastor-turned-social media strategist” says in a guest post he authored for Christianity Today:
“From our humble beginnings, the church has always found ways to communicate the Gospel message through any and all means available.
Now it’s our turn to shape the next era in church history. You have a role in determining where the church goes next and it largely depends on your response to two words: social media.” (2)
Consider those words and decide what you will do. Will you seize this opportunity as these others have done? Or will you turn an apathetic heart to this gift the Lord has given us for expanding His kingdom?