It came via a Twitter re-tweet that I read entitled “7 Reasons Christians Should Twitter.” Before I make any comments on this let me say that, in all fairness to the author – whom I have never met – I can see a clear desire for ministry and creativity at work in life. That being said, I felt like the author’s framework for thinking about use of social media generally, and Twitter specifically, was simplistic.
The author of the article was essentially saying, ‘If we care about Jesus’ mission for the lost then we should be tweeting.’ That’s a bit like saying, if we care about Jesus’ mission for the lost then we should be bicycling. Now, I love bicycling, but the point of bicycling is not to connect with the lost. It’s to get from one place to another or to get exercise, to name a couple of things. Sure, bicycling – and Twitter – can be a means by which we share the message, but to say we should use those things solely because of that gospel reason, in my opinion, loses the tool’s purpose. This was not helped by having WWJD as the seventh reason, stating: “Jesus Would Twitter; the message doesn’t change, but the methods must change!” This could be happily rephrased as ‘What Would Jesus Tweet’!
Twitter exists as a means of social connection and community building. Bicycling exists as a means of transportation and exercise. If we ignore their purpose for existence with a missionary over-purposefulness, then we can easily abuse the means. It’s no longer redeeming the means. Twitter can be a powerful means for making connections amongst people, who otherwise would never meet or would not maintain connections. It can also be a meaningful force for social change and influence.
While Twitter is misused by many propaganda artists as a means of promoting a product, most Twitter users recognize that for what it is. We do not want to do that with the gospel. We should look for ways that thoughtfully recognize the tool for what it is – Twitter as a form of social media – and then use it within its purpose to achieve a greater end.
Given this, WWJT?