Making Online Connections
It’s easy to think our online interactions have little meaning. Our tweets join millions of other tweets sent the same minute. The blog posts we publish become old news overnight. Instagram photos of smiling children behind a sea of birthday candles are scrolled over only once — never to be seen again.
But every now and then an online connection makes a spark (and I’m not talking about online dating sites here). Sometimes the eternal makes its way into our “lol txt” talk. Occasionally, we type something, hit the enter key, and that blip can change a life.
These occasional sparks become more common when we become intentional about making online connections. Here are some recent experiences of people who’ve made themselves available to God’s work online:
- Answering questions about Jesus from a Muslim in the Middle East
- Praying for and sharing resources with a porn addict in Pakistan
- Sharing insight with spiritual seekers in a chat room designed to discuss a biblical message
As surprising as these opportunities might seem to you, the fact is, people everywhere go online to ask spiritual questions. I’m part of a team of hundreds of volunteers from dozens of countries who represent the global church – online.
Here are a few powerful and recent stories from our volunteer team:
- A person seeking baptism was connected to a local church in her village in Nigeria.
- Pastoral counseling was located and is being provided to a demon-possessed person in South Africa.
- A small group in Indonesia invited in a new believer to be discipled.
- A suicidal Filipino woman was ministered to and connected to local help and she eventually committed her life to Christ.
Here’s what I don’t want you to miss:
None of these people knew the resources in their area were available until an obedient, Spirit-led online volunteer made the connection for them.
Here’s the incredible news:
We don’t have to be the solution. We only need to be the conduit.
Pray. Welcome. Represent Christ and his church with excellence. Usher people into community. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. People everywhere need encouragement, biblical truth, restorative relationships, and the love of Christ. God’s plan to provide for all of these needs — and more — includes you and me.
When you make yourself available to serve, do you know what will happen in your online interactions? Suddenly, what some refer to as self-serving, personal platform-building, ego-enhancing social networking is transformed into a primary way the Body of Christ can guide the lonely, hurt, confused, and lost people in our world into community and a personal relationship with Jesus.
Prepare to be blessed in an indescribable way as God works through you, and as you connect to other online ministers. Together we can lead people all over the world to become followers of Christ.
God, help us to use the online platforms you’ve given us for your glory. We ask that you’d bring about eternal life change through our availability to serve others online. Use any influence we have to expand your kingdom. Help us leverage our resources, relationships, and social networks to meet the needs of hurting and lost people around the globe. Amen.
Dana Byers is the church online community pastor at LifeChurch.tv. This is an excerpt from the 2014 Winter Edition of Outcomes Magazine.
Learn more about the power of Internet and Technology at the 2014 CLA National Conference. Check out some of the workshops offered this year and then be sure register today!
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