By Nikole Hahn
Spring brings out the best in Arizona. The cacti begin to flower. The variety of wildflowers adds color to the brown landscape. Some flowers only bloom for a brief two weeks while others all summer. People don’t often think of the desert as a beautiful place to live. To them, it is a barren and hot place filled with sharp plants, venomous bugs and reptiles, and jagged mountains. Most of the beauty is missed because they fail to get past the city and explore the diverse landscape (and temperatures) offered in Arizona.
Like social media, most people miss the beauty of how social media connects people to church and to each other. They only see the sharp thorns and harsh landscape, oftentimes being part of the problem.
When Martin Luther nailed the 95-thesis to the church door, he was using his day’s latest and greatest technology to challenge the church’s policies and corruption at the time. He published books to answer theological questions. Today, we have social media. We have Virtual Reality. We have a pulpit, a Bible, a giving plate, and a platform in one small device that we carry with us. It’s a tool that is used in various places all over the globe to reach and connect people with the Good News. WorldVenture colleagues all over the world use this technology from teaching, training, online Bible Studies, to create art, etc. It’s a great discipleship tool that can reach unreached people groups, but it only works when we have conversations with people.
If we want to see social media bloom, we must be willing to care for the environment. That could be as simple as leaving thoughts on the sermon during your church’s Facebook or Youtube live to disciple lurkers and chatters alike to changing your habits on social media, so you and others grow closer to Jesus.
Suddenly, a social media platform looks less like a desert when one goes beyond to the higher elevations–the red cliffs of Sedona, the thick forests of Flagstaff, the high desert of Prescott with its pine trees, or other eye-popping areas that are Arizona’s best places to visit. Social media is as meaningful and rich as the effort we put into it.
I’ve used social media to meet people for coffee that I’ve never met, to share what I am learning in the Bible, to build something in common with others through light-hearted posts, and to dig deep into questions of life. I’ve also had to exercise a huge amount of self-control.
I not only represent my church, my mission org especially, but also my Jesus. What I do affects how people perceive them, just like my in-person actions.
So, today…explore social media. Get beyond the lower deserts and get into the mountains. Create an environment that is a place people want to hang out at and be the person people want to talk to.
How WorldVenture Is Using Technology All Over The World:
- Teaching to the Camera (Lebanon)
- Bible Translation
- WorldWide Prayer
- Connecting Refugees With Help
- 1for50 Trainings (Asia – Jonathan)
- Digital Outreach Teams in Georgia and Arizona at local churches
- Online Outreach in Creative Access Areas
- Digital Outreach to Japan
- Photography, Poetry, and Writing
- Exciting and New Developments at Russia Worship (Russia)
- How to Use Facebook to Reach Unreached
- Live Streaming
- Teaching (Puerto Rico, Ukraine, etc)
- Online Bible Studies (Middle East)
…and many, many more stories that we share on our social media platforms!
Photos by Nikole from areas of Arizona