Social Media and Discipleship?

Smart Phones, Email, Social Media and even Live TV are a large part of communication today.  Any discipleship relationship requires great communication.  So, here is the questions:  Can good discipleship happen through social media?

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  1. Chylene Ramsey says

    Yes. I myself have gone to YouTube sites and attempted to open dialoges with athiests and skeptics. It isa futile exercise, as they patently reject and deny any truth or evidence presented to them, and mangle and mis-quote Bible verses to prove their blasphemous views of God and Christ. At any rate, it is the best way to reach most of the unchurched, as it is the media most familiar to them. I would encourage Christians with the abilities to do so to make videos in particular, and post them on sites like YouTube, to counter the negative propaganda that young people in particular are being indoctrinated about the scriptures, God, and the Lord Jesus. Everything from the Bible is nothing but pagan myths, to God is a homocidal maniac. Pious verses and platitudes about “Jesus loves everybody” and “You are gonna go to hell if you don’t believe” do not impress these people a bit. They want reasons, and they want answers. These are young people who have been indoctrinated into secular humanism and scientific reasoning, and taught that anything that cannot be proved by scientific means is valid.

  2. Ian M. says

    With all due respect to my fellow-laborer who is quoted above, it seems to me that there is a definition problem inherent in the question. The response of Chylene is indicative of a prevailing view in the Church of North America that discipleship is a disemination of information about spiritual topics. The “sage on the stage” speaks to their audience and Truth is communicated to the uninitiated. Should the one recieving the teaching be “unsaved”, the process is called “preaching the Gospel”. It is further manifest by various “discipleship programs” in various churches as if it is the goal to get some discipleship badge to put on your spiritual resume’. While all this is good for Christians to pursue; the increase of knowledge about Christ through the teaching of godly people and the sharing of that knowledge in the greater culture, That would not be what I would consider discipleship. For me, discipleship is an ongoing relationship between Christians. It is the sharing, through osmosis, of the Life of Christ each one has. At times, one is the “discipler” and at other times, the “disciplee”. It cannot be done in the straight rows of pews but only sitting at a round table. Instead of being a sage on the stage, we become a guide on the side. We become intimately connected to the people around us, through love and commitment. We are more learning about Jesus by observing Him in our circle of godly friends than in some seminar. This notion has biblical precedence found in Mark 3:14. Jesus ordained the twelve whos job was to be “with him”. so they could learn enough to be sent out to preach. Paul had this kind of relationship with Timothy (2 Tim 2:2) Moses and Joshua had it also (see Ex 24:13). In actual fact there are numerous examples of the kind of relationship that can be described as discipleship and one with some knowledge of the scripture could add to this small list easily. To answer the original question, given the definition that I have laid down here, I believe that the relationship called discipleship cannot be done from any distance. How is one going to know “my teaching, my conduct, and my purpose in life; you have observed my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, my persecutions, and my sufferings (2 Tim 3:10-11) through social media? It requires hands-on sharing on a deep level and a high regard for, not only what a person believes, but how that belief is translated to the street level. Not that social media should be abandoned by Christians as a tool for reaching out as our fellow-saint showed above. It should be used for the purposes for which it was designed. The intimate connection of discipleship just isn’t one of them.

  3. alan says

    These things are just tools but their impact is probably overstated simply because they are popular in the culture. Communication is not necessarily connection, and discipleship is more than just receiving messages and info. Getting the Tweets from your favorite ministry may just feed your pride. As mentioned above by Ian, the hard work of discipleship cannot be done from a distance. That American Christian culture has so bought into this as a sign of ministry may be the best indicator of how shallow our spirituality is. It’s like watching your church service on the internet because it is easier and more comfortable than being with others. . . far removed from Jesus’ call to bring each other close, and wash them of the dirt they have from being in the world. Having said that, tools can do what they do very well and have their place. Even being together is not necessarily a guarantee that anything of a spiritual nature is really happening. What is needed in all cases is the genuine presence of the Spirit in all our connections and discipleship. . . with Him even tools can mean life. Discipleship is growing in all ways into Christ, and Ephesians talks about believers being held together and supplied and equipped by the joints as each one working properly comes together, and being built up in love in this way. Whatever place social media has, this growing into Christ is much more than the messages we receive and send.

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