Creating a Jesus Revolution with Social Media – Response & Discussion

egypt revolution social media“The use of social media is credited with energizing the revolution in Egypt. What does that say about the potential of social media to create a revolution for Jesus in your community, one that leads to transformed lives? And what does is teach us about using social media for outreach locally and internationally?”

Those are the questions  posed to Jeff Gibson, Brandon Cox, and Chris Forbes in a panel-discussion-styled blog post titled Creating a Jesus Revolution with Social Media on Pastors.com

They’re great questions and Jeff, Brandon, and Chris provide some great insight. Unfortunately, pastors.com doesn’t facilitate discussion and comments, so here we are… let’s discuss.

My take…

1)  Social media has the potential to be used to facilitate a revolution, but it can’t create a revolution. Only people who would rather die in a revolution than live in the status quo can start a revolution. Do the people in your church want a Jesus revolution that badly? Do you?

2) While many church leaders say they want to see a Jesus revolution, I think most only want to see it on their terms. They want to make sure everyone is adhering to the correct doctrine and following the right protocol in worship, evangelism, discipleship, and so on. How do I know this? Because the vast majority of churches only encourage and fund their own initiatives or those of their denomination. Many churches won’t even allow their own members to take action without the approval of a pastor or board.

I don’t think revolutions work that way. They are rarely “led” in the conventional sense. Revolutions are more like wildfires. If you want them to burn, you fan the flames, you remove the obstacles, you throw fuel on the fires, you try to bring together small fires that could go out on their own in order to form one big fire.

I think if churches want to see a Jesus revolution, they ought to…

  • Recognize you cannot create a revolution, but you just might be able to help facilitate one.
  • Watch social media to see where the fires are burning brightly in your community whether they’re within your church or not.
  • Use social media to promote those people, groups, and movements that are producing results whether they’re within your church or not.
  • Use social media to tell inspiring stories and more importantly to share other people’s inspiring stories where the revolution is catching on.
  • Use social media to build relationships among like-minded revolutionaries.
  • Use social media to share ideas and strategies that have worked for you, not to sell them or get others to use them under your control, but so that others can freely use them.

What do you think of the post on pastors.com and the role of social media in creating/facilitating a Jesus revolution in your community?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

9 Responses to “Creating a Jesus Revolution with Social Media – Response & Discussion”

  1. Paul,

    Social media can not create a revolution on its own, but can act as a conduit or a "force multiplier" to amplify the message and coordinate actions to give the movement form. One of the interesting things about Egyptian revolution that applies to all movements is that there is a significant amount of behind the scenes work by activists, press and organizers to start the wave going. Social media helps amplify the wave of dissidence.

    The same is true for a "Jesus Revolution." Think about the whole "Advent Conspiracy" and Christmas is not your birthday sentiment. When it first started, people tended to laugh it off. Now, with YouTube, Facebook and websites, more are joining the movement. GInghamsburg UMC (in Tipp City, OH) has raised millions for the Sudan. Our rural church, Immanuel UMC (in Elida, OH) raised more than $7,000 to address barriers holding back middle school students like hunger, eye care and school supplies.

    In other words, it is turning into a seasonal movement. Now…how can we use social media to amp up the wave… Maybe we need to follow the blueprint by the Egyptians to create a digital movement…
    http://www.flockology.com/2011/02/egypt-social-me

    • PaulSteinbrueck Feb 17, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Good points, Eric about social media being a "force multiplier" and the amount of behind the scenes work by activists. And thanks for including the link to your post. Good stuff!

  2. A couple years ago, as I was finishing seminary, the big dream being thrown around was starting a "Church Planting Movement" where churches would exponentially plant more church, and they in turn would exponentially plant more churches, and so on. I still hear people use the term "Church Planting Movement" from time to time, but not as much as I did a couple years ago. These kinds of dreams are great dreams, but how do we turn these dreams into reality?

    We can't. Because it's not something WE can do at all. We need to humble ourselves and pray, and then God will heal our land.

    Will social media take a role in how that all plays out? Probably. But it's not something we can manufacture. It's something God needs to do through humble servants who are willing to give up a little control over the process (as you said).

  3. Jeff Hinderliter Feb 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Paul,

    I am writing a dissertation about social networking sites and church choice. I am intereseted in obtaining a copy of your survey from your article Church Facebook Survey Points to Opportunities for Churches in Social Media. Would it be possible for you to email me this?

  4. amelita mowatt Mar 4, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Powerfull article

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