Friday, April 20, 2012

More (Questions) on Social Networking

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post on Social Networking. Since then, I've continued to build my LinkedIn connections and tried to be more focused about both magic and ministry. I'm still a novice at the marketing part of networking so I'm looking for input from those that have been using social networks for promotional use.

I wasn't really expecting the calls and emails to start pouring in from the few connections that I've made. I'm just wondering if this type of marketing is worthwhile. So far, it would seem that I'm building good contacts; the kind that could actually call me directly or have some significant influence with those can. I also realize that many of the church organization decision makers are woefully behind the technological power curve and still consider email to be the advancement of the century. The generational gap in networking is growing greater with each technological advancement.

I am not (at all) a generational exception. I have a minimal cable package and no DVR. My home internet service is the slowest cable cable speed available and I rarely download anything that would require more bandwidth. I don't own a smart phone or an iPad or any other kind of tablet device. In spite of that, I am still taken by surprise when I request an address or information by text and am met with an "I don't have text messaging."

It's actually a little bit humorous that all of the Missouri Baptists Directors and employees seem to have LinkedIn accounts...but most of them have only a handful of connections, if any at all. It would appear that somebody is trying to get them connected but seems to be meeting with the old "you can lead a horse to water" problem. To be fair, there is a minority that is well "connected" but it is a very small minority.

Which leads me to my question(s)...
While social networking seems to be good for business, is it good for ministry?
Can sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and others be effective tools for evangelism?
Or are we (am I) wasting time using these tools (as well as blogging and others) for the purpose of reaching others with the gospel of Jesus?

I've always felt that the ineffective part of evangelism happens when we sound like we are pitching Jesus or marketing our faith. Using social networks somehow makes me feel like that's what I am doing. I don't want Jesus to be the latest, greatest thing until something else comes along. Jesus isn't a fad or a commodity to be sold or traded. Sometimes I feel that's what we've reduced the gospel to -- a pitch, and we are like carnival barkers or snake oil peddlers that are hired to gather a crowd in hopes that a few suckers will buy our wares.

Can I effectively market myself; my ministry of sharing the gospel, without marketing the gospel?

Just wondering...

John <><

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