With its standard-setting power and time-consuming tendencies, social media can be a dangerous thing. But what if the standards set on social media were based on Gospel-found hope? And what if time spent on social media meant time spent in community with the Church?
That’s the principal driving many ministries to use social media as a tool for good. Among them is Horizons International. Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says that many of the problems social media causes are found or amplified in the Middle East and North Africa.
That sounds like a bad thing, but actually, it gives ministries an opportunity. “What we’re able to do now is put the Gospel in front of them while they’re spending all these hours on social media looking at videos and pictures and having conversations, and we’re finding that a lot of people are really open to the gospel,” Houssney says.
New Power in New Technology
Social media is a tool not to be taken lightly. “Any power or any media, it could have a lot of influence for bad or influence for good,” Houssney says. Fortunately, the Church already has a track record of reaching the Middle East with technology.
In the 90s, satellite TV provided ministries with access points to the Middle East and North Africa, even beyond previously closed borders. However, that interaction was largely one way. Satellite TV ministries could provide people with access to Gospel hope, but responses were limited to written letters, emails, and call-in channels.
Those ministries still have effective outreach work to this day, but Houssney wanted to emphasize response and dialogue. “It’s a very low cost for the ministries, and it’s very easy for the people that are responding to the content to respond,” he says.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Alex Anhalt