The Social Network Gospel

Did you know that Twitter won the “Social Media Super Bowl”?

About 50% of the advertisements aired during the Super Bowl included a Twitter hash tag, outpacing other social media options like Facebook or Google+.

The world of social networking is a developing gold mine for companies and ad agencies.  Not only can social media tools provide a wealth of information that allows for targeted advertising to potential customers, it also provides an easy method for carrying out the best form of product advertisement:  personal testimonial.  If you like a product and share it with your “friends”, advertisers know that recommendation will be much more effective than any advertising campaign Madison Avenue could dream up.

Perhaps the church should be as intentional as television advertisers in reminding us of the influence we have.  Each of us has a “circle of influence” – people whose lives we interact with and impact to varying degrees.  At the center of that circle are our children, parents, and closest friends.  As we move out to the fringes of that circle, we find neighbors, co-workers, classmates, the mailman, the guy lifting weights next to us in the gym, and (yes) our Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  Just by being present to some degree in these people’s lives, we have the opportunity, through word and deed, to have on impact on them.  We can display patience, communicate love, practice forgiveness, model endurance, and share a word of hope and even, when the time is a right, our testimony of God’s presence and power.

Mordecai had to remind Esther, when the Jewish people faced extermination, that she was made queen “for such a time as this”.  She had an opportunity in this moment to act and speak to her circle of influence not for personal glory but to save lives and change hearts.  We sometimes think that only government leaders, preachers, and celebrities have an opportunity to make a difference.  But we don’t have to be a queen or king or missionary to influence others for the sake of Christ.  Before Facebook and Instagram, our God believed in the power of the social network, the influence we have on the people around us.

Who are the people in your circle of influence?  How can you share Christ and do justice and mercy at such a time as this in their lives?