I just linked up to the #write31days section that this series best fits into. It’s ‘Writing, blogging and internet stuff‘. I find myself shoulder to shoulder with an array of people interested in blogging and engaging with others online through social media.
Since I’ve been intentionally learning and exploring this field, both personally and for the organisation I work with, I’ve come across a number of ‘leading voices’. There are people in the digital world who are seen as authorities in the field, people with a large numerical following, some of whom are passionate Christians with a strong vision to empower God’s people to make an impact for good.
Alongside this, I’ve had the privilege of some secular training input too – so to compare the secular outlook to the Christian one is fascinating. Even in the hard-nosed business world (a culture shock for me, coming from Charity world!) I noticed that they had understood some principles about giving and receiving that come straight out of the Bible. They use these principles to their advantage, though may cross the line towards manipulation at times. Giving attention, follow back, Twitter ‘mentions’, inviting follows, participating with others intentionally, sharing knowledge and resources for ‘free’… But they just didn’t know that Jesus showed the way to go first.
Remember the Golden Rule? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength… and love your neighbour as yourself?” (Mark 12.30-31) This is also sometimes repackaged as the adage, ‘Do as you would be done by.’
Making worthwhile connections of any kind is a two-way thing. Jesus says ‘follow me’. Once we accept the invitation, there’s an ongoing two-way interaction that starts – and it includes resourcing, training, teaching… getting to know one another better. He doesn’t just want a list of followers on the books and then no further relationship! His invitation comes again and again through our lives. His intention is to capture our hearts and life-long commitment, and not to gain merely our lip-service or passing interest. He called it ‘making disciples’.
He gives the invitation to everyone worldwide. He has the capacity as God to deepen each one of those relationships and help us to know Him better. He’s not limited by geography, a human body, or even the limitations of social media. Yet as a man on earth, he invested deeply and intentionally in 3 friends, then in the 12 disciples, then the 72* who went out and minister. But that was about the extent of his reach, beyond which he was preaching to crowds of thousands – most of whom did not see the whites of his eyes or even shake his hand.
Social media allows for a lot more quantitative connection, that’s true. But it’s not true to say that having thousands of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ means there’s a real quality relationship there. Some rules still apply, and the biggest one is that real love and real discipleship is costly, and takes time and investment.
Are we clear in our own minds that the majority of our ‘followers’ are not real connections? Do we know who our top 3, 12 and 72 significant relationships are? Are we investing rightly in those? Or are we spread so thinly trying to maintain connection with the many ‘followers’ who aren’t really invested in us, nor we in them?
#write31days (What is Write 31 Days?)