This post is part 13 in the series 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online leading up to Internet Evangelism Day on April 25. We encourage you to tweet, share, blog & discuss these ideas in your church & circle of influence.
Where is your ranking in terms of influence?
When you think of influential what image comes to mind? Do you imagine people like businessmen, politicians, judges, actors, or athletes? You most likely did not conjure up the image of someone who is considered an average person. After all, how could an average person have any influence?
One real advantage of the Internet, social media in particular, is that it has become the great equalizer. People from all walks of life can become major influencers of others. So, it is now possible for a ditch digger to have as much influence as some well known politicians.
Influence rather than numbers is a major determination of ranking amongst many websites. Over the years many believers have used numbers to determine success within ministry. The Internet has made it evident that there are other ways of defining a successful ministry. So, what is influence, why is influence important and what are some of the ways we can improve our influence on the Internet?
What is influence? Influence can be considered the power to persuade others to some end. Within the context of Internet Evangelism it is having a good enough reputation that you will be given the opportunity to persuade others in a positive direction.
Why is it important, as a Christian, to be an influential person on the Internet?
• To earn the privilege of sharing Jesus.
• To effectively serve others (showing Christ’s love no strings attached)
• To encourage positive interaction
• To be available to minister to others.
• To demonstrate the remarkable opportunities God provides us to participate in His work.
How can believers improve their influence on the Internet? There are a number of factors that make a better reputation and improve influence. Some of these include:
Character: There are many character traits that are important for a Christian. These same character traits are important in building an online reputation and influence. Some of the traits include being authentic, transparent, persistent, honest, forgiving, well behaved, temperate and self controlled. The need to demonstrate Christian character online is as important as it is offline.
Courage: It is the courage to step outside ones’ comfort zone. Ministry online can be unpredictable. When possible and safe make the effort to meet people offline. It takes courage to adapt to this changing world.
Concern: Being concerned about others is a way of building healthy friendships. Take the time to discover what is important to someone else. Learn about the interests of your online friends. In other words do not just broadcast your message. It is vital to build relationships and to interact with those in your circle of influence.
Consistency: Earning a reputation that you can be relied upon is another way of building influence. Practical things can help here such as regular involvement online, following through on commitments and showing common netiquette
Creativity: There is a real need for creativity in every aspect of our lives. The Internet provides each of us opportunities to utilize our spiritual gifts and talents in very original and imaginative ways. It gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in a style that is unique and honoring to God.
If we want to impact the world for Christ we need to be willing to put ourselves into the forefront of this new technology and be willing to adapt without comprising our faith. Seth Godin shared in a recent email “Every interaction might be the whole thing.” Are we making the most of every opportunity?
So, who do you want to influence and how are you going to do it?