In one minute on the internet, 87,500 people are on Twitter, 46,200 posts are made on Instagram, 1 million people are logging into Facebook, 2.1 million snaps are taken on Snapchat, and so much more.* Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a church of missionary disciples one tweet at a time.
It’s not an easy task, I know. How can we build a church of missionary disciples through all of the noise? I joke by saying building a church of missionary disciples one tweet at a time, but I’m also serious. We can impact someone’s life and help to create or lead them to an encounter with something as simple as a tweet, post, or photo.
If the phrase “building a church of missionary disciples” sounds a little familiar, you may recognize it from our parish mission statement; Building a Church of Missionary Disciples by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reaching the poor.
Hear me out, I don’t mean you literally have to tweet, although I’m not opposed to that. What I mean is our goal should be to live out our faith in an authentic way in every avenue of life, that includes social media. It doesn’t mean you have to post a scripture verse every day or snap a selfie in the church. What it means is being authentically Christian in an increasingly hostile online world.
So, if our goal is to cut through the noise and show what it means to be authentic in every aspect of our life, the question becomes how can we do that on social media?
It starts by creating a place where an encounter with Jesus is possible. Social media is hostile or at least it seems that way. Even companies like Wendy’s, yes, the fast-food restaurant, are being snarky on Twitter. By cutting through the noise with a positive and inviting conversation we’re being different.
It’s never a surprise to me when I hear an individual’s encounter happened at a retreat or a conference. But every once and a while someone will mention that they met a Priest or a layperson on social media and just started talking about the Catholic Church with them. That initial conversation or initial post that they saw was where they first felt a pull to the church.
I’m not implying every encounter should happen on social media, but if our goal is to help every individual encounter Christ, then we need to be open to making an environment where that encounter can happen, even if it’s online. Attacking others, sarcastic comments, or anything in between that adds to the noise and hostility will never create an open attitude towards the church. Simply being open to conversation about the faith is the direction we need to take.
Your mission is to make missionary disciples through an encounter with Jesus no matter the time, location, space, or tweet.
This blog was written by Joseph Barringhaus, Director of Marketing and Events here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org.