Social media can sometimes get a bad press and with some foundation. It can be misused, can be a platform for bullying, gossiping, speaking out negatively… Yet, the likes of Facebook and Twitter can be a real blessing if used in the right way. I believe that there is joy in the fellowship we can experience through social media.
Over the last fifteen years I have moved around a fair bit. The roles that my husband and I served in as youth ministers meant that we have had to live in different communities and be part of different church fellowships.
Moving can be really hard. It can take quite a long time to form close friendships and so being part of a new community can feel quite lonely for some time.
Then, after you have formed those deep relationships and grown to love the people you are in fellowship with, leaving can be incredibly painful.
This week at church we said goodbye to a lady who had been serving as youth minister for nine years. Even though she wasn’t actually leaving the church there were tears! Lots of tears! From her, the young people and even the parents as they expressed their appreciation for all she had done for the young people.
I know how she felt. I remember having to say goodbye to the young people and their parents whom I served as a youth minister. You invest so much into the lives of these young people, spend so many hours in fellowship with them, say so many prayers for them… parting is painful.
However, even though I have moved communities and these young people have grown up, gone to university and settled in new lives themselves I am still able to keep in contact with them. Through Facebook I can keep up with what is happening in their lives.
Ok, I know that it’s just a tiny glimpse into what is happening to them and it’s very different from the close fellowship I once shared when I knew how they were feeling and what was close to their hearts.
Yet, it is so encouraging to me to see the photos of their holidays, follow the paths of their new careers and hear of engagements, marriages and even new babies arriving in their lives.
I log on to Facebook and see the publicity photos of a young lady who sings in a band.
In my news feed I have seen the weddings of two young people just this weekend.
I see a young man who regularly declares his passion for the Lord in his Facebook posts – the joy of it all just overflows from him.
And it’s not just the young people I once knew – I see the photos and read the news of my friends who I long to see more often but my busy life just seems to prevent more than occasional visits.
This is why I love Facebook, Twitter and other social media. They bring me joy.
It is so encouraging to see the good things that are happening in the people who have meant something in my life. To read some good news on a daily basis when our world is dominated by a media industry that thrives on proclaiming the bad.
Paul experienced this kind of encouragement too. He knew the joy of seeing those dear to him grow in their faith, know blessings from God and live fruitful lives.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
There is joy to be had in fellowship. Even our fellowship that is long-distance. I’m not advocating substituting real face-to-face relationships with virtual ones, but I do believe that the blessing of our technological age is that we can keep in touch with people and witness their celebrations and successes.
And like Paul we can use these opportunities to pray for those who are dear to us. We can turn our browsing moments into times of intercession. Whether we see good news in our feeds or have read sadnesses that people have shared in their posts we can turn to God in prayer.
Can you relate to the joy I have described when you log on to Facebook? Or do you think that social media is all a bit of waste of time? Maybe you have seen too many ways social media has been used negatively and are sceptical about whether it can be used for good. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hey, I’m guest posting today over at Womanhood with Purpose -
“It’s easy to underestimate the importance of being a mum. It’s easy to think of those in the mission field or people who work for the church as people who have a “proper” ministry. Yet, I believe that there are few things more valuable than the ministry of motherhood. It took me a long time to recognise God’s calling to be a mum in my life.”
Why not pop on over to read the full post and leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts. God’s Calling to Be a Mum
Part 3 – Keeping Your Joy – Guard Your Heart
Photo credit – Gokhan Okur via Stock.xchng