In an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles (a rerun), the story closed as Kenzi made a compassionate visit to someone thinking of going Jihad. Hetty did a voice-over as the story ended, saying a timely intervention could save a life.
ISIS claims to have 71 “soldiers” in 15 states, according to Fox News:
““I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there,” FBI Director James Comey said yesterday, warning that thousands of people across the U.S. could be under the influence of ISIS. Comey explained that people are being radicalized by ISIS through social media. (emphasis mine)”
Every day I read or hear how church is becoming irrelevant; how seven million searches are done on the topic of loneliness; how 30,000 people a year commit suicide; how churches are closing; and how CNN reported that 10,000 people joined ISIS. What are Christians doing to live out the missional intent of the Bible? What can Christians do differently?
- Older people need someone to help them with technology. Senior Adults, your wisdom is needed by this generation. Get involved in your local youth group, get on social media, be someone they can relate to, and share your experiences. Don’t be afraid of technology. Learn how to use it.
- Younger people need someone to train them to be more missional and evangelical. Sure, teenagers and college-age know technology, but, for the most part, their use of technology are selfies and games. A recent show on a Christian radio station was talking about teaching our children to get involved in evangelism, know how to defend your faith, and to prepare to be a Christian in a world growing hostile. A noted psychologist said, “‘As far as foreign fighters are concerned, Horgan said, they are driven to join ISIS by the need to “belong to something special.'” ISIS is targeting young adults and teenagers. False cults are targeting youth.
- The paranoid need to step out in faith and use their social media to engage. Many people on Christian sites tend to be paranoid about social media. They are online only for family. They are deceived by every privacy scam out there which effectively keeps them off of major social media sites for fear of being hurt. The world in real life is no different than the world online. Danger does lurk on social media. You should be aware of those dangers and take precautions. Not everyone online is who they say they are, but that should not stop you from being a social media missionary or using your one social media site more missionally. Satan loves to toy with our fears and make us ineffective. Did you know that the internet is the only life disabled people, who are home-bound, can enjoy? How many of those know Jesus?
- We need to bring the social back to social media again. In my years of being online, I’ve noticed more and more how advertising has increased as people work to build up their online platforms and businesses. Lots of people share their blogs, photos, and cute animal videos. My husband, who is on Twitter, noticed how there is little interaction. As Christians, how much of your social media are automated, advertising books and novels, your business, and how much of it is interaction? The question I had to finally ask myself is: So I get a book published, what next? So what? It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get a book or novel published or am putting down the publishing world, but I wondered about my purpose. Why was I working so hard to see a dream happen and what would it accomplish in light of eternity? I wanted more than a book with my name on the front of it. I wanted more than an online platform. Every number on Google Analytics has a name.
So how can you not get involved in cybermissions?
As technology advances, we need to be aware that the first technology to ever intervene on a suicidal person’s intent was the telephone. Veterans Today reported 400,000 calls to a Veterans Suicide line in 2011. Social Media is the new normal–the new community, the new way to communicate.
A friend of mine could tell you stories of his efforts online. On Joyce Meyer’s site, a woman publicly stated her intent to commit suicide, and the community on that site discovered her location, and had the police do a welfare check on the individual. Billy Graham reported a short time ago that 6 million people came to know Christ online.
Some prejudicial attitudes remain where it concerns social media. The creatives online need to think outside the box to reach those who can’t see outside their box. Can we all get on board, work together as a worldwide church body, and reduce the stats I quoted today to zero; give hope to those hurting; and purpose to those who are searching to contribute something meaningful to the world?
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