Entered by Christine Barrett.
I switched on the radio one Sunday morning to hear someone say that Christians shouldn’t be afraid of modern means of communication. I’ve no recollection who made the remark or why, but it lodged in my brain and encouraged me to make some decisions.
I opened a Facebook account. It was in any case the only realistic way of keeping in touch with the younger members of my family. And the only way of seeing photographs as well. Gone are the days when copies of the latest school photo were passed round the family. They’re all on Facebook now.
I don’t come from a Christian family and not all my friends are Christians. As I posted merrily on Facebook, mentioning Christian and secular activities, I began to notice who was ‘liking’ my posts. Oddly enough, the Christian events and photographs were often ‘liked’ by my non-Christian friends and family, rather than by the Christians. A light switched on in my brain. Aha, a mission field!
I’m careful of course. I don’t spray my Facebook page with Biblical quotes. But what a marvellous way of letting the ‘not-yet-Christians’ in my life know that my faith means everything to me, and gives me a lot of fun as well.
After Facebook came Twitter. That’s more testing. Facebook is relating to people you know. Twitter, on the other hand, is largely about people you don’t know. All of humanity is found on Twitter – the good, the bad and the ugly. It provides excellent training in putting a point of view concisely, but you may be ‘shot down in flames’ by people who don’t agree with you. Learning to be honest but tactful in 140 characters is a good lesson in lifemanship. I have to remind myself that I don’t know these people personally (although a few have become cyber friends) and it’s easy for misunderstandings to arise.
Having learned to stay afloat in the sometimes choppy waters of social networking, I now run Facebook and Twitter on behalf of my church. We’re a small, mainly elderly congregation so I haven’t picked up many church followers – not much silver surfing amongst our lot! But I have collected followers, and many of them are not Christians.
What attracts people to a Salvation Army site? I’ve no idea. But, again, what a fantastic mission field! Using photographs, quotations and descriptions of church events I do my best to portray the Christian faith as relevant and enjoyable. I ‘m not aware of anyone coming to faith as a result of something I posted. But I aim to be a marker buoy for those who are on a spiritual voyage.