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The kids sat around me in a pool of tumbled wooden blocks. They watched with gleeful smiles as I began to build a tower. How high could I get this tower? As I gingerly set the last block on top, the kids would laugh loudly as the tower tumbled down.
Life is like this. We’re balancing blocks of time on each other until the weight is too much and it comes crashing to the floor. We’re not building for a purpose but rapidly stacking one thing on top of another and our motivations for doing this are a little fuzzy.
Instead, stack your time for a purpose.
- What are you building?
- Why are you doing what you are doing?
- How can you do it better?
When the blocks tumble around you, learn from it and rebuild. Rebuild better.
Hey, church, missionaries, and church communicators!
Youtube has released their 2022 Gen Z report. Why is this important?
Because we want content for them, too! In any social media platform, engagement is important. Let’s build community together and inspire people to pray, serve, give, and go with our posts.
Gen Z is 18-24 year olds. If you are a mission org, this is a good age to begin to see how God wants them to serve others. Can you use the ideas (or come up with your own) to help move them to pray, serve, give, or go on Youtube?
This interpretation of the report comes from both a mission org and church communicator perspective.
- “65% of Gen Z agree that content that’s personally relevant to them is more important than the content that lots of other people talk about.” Can we create content in our contexts that are relevant to the questions being asked or searched for by Gen Z? For a church, this is a great jumping off point. You can engage them in the questions that are important to them.
- Youtube communities are groups that actively participate in a shared identity or interest online.
- Example was “Flightspotting”. When disaster happens in an area of the world, perhaps we can show videos of people helping with the recovery? Maybe inspire them with personal stories? Short ones?
- According to a marketing article, National Geographic shows video of beautiful scenery in stories to stop the quick consummation of online content. It causes people to pause and watch. In the Youtube report, Gen Z is looking for videos that help them relax.
- Is your church a “Superfan” of something? Gen Z videos that follow someone or something and gives a narrative of it is also popular. Watch some of the videos on Youtube to get some ideas of how you, as a church, can get into good discussion with Gen Z on movies, television shows, characters, books, etc.
- “Growing fan formats include videos about how to start your own K-pop fan channel, while fancam videos — fan edits focusing on individual band members — have billions of views. K-pop labels have even started releasing these videos as official content.”
- In a church conference I attended in Georgia, they talked about meming the sermon, but how about doing this via video? “63% of Gen Z followed one or more meme accounts in the past 12-months.”
- Short is better…most of the time, right? How about produce a quick 1 minute or less “complete” soundbite that people can preview and have in the YouTube description the link to the whole version or longer version? People are watching the Sunday services in pieces anyway. What about a several part Bible study? Or a topic that covers one of Gen Z’s questions? “59% of Gen Z agree that they use short-form video apps to discover things that they then watch longer versions of.” Maybe a missionary could produce a Bible Study and have a short form video to give a preview of the study with a link in the YouTube description to the longer version?
- “People are expressing themselves through metaverse content. In the Middle East and North Africa, gamers live streaming during Ramadan carry their fasts over to their digital avatars.” Missionaries, are you into gaming? Churches, do you have gamers in your midst that can reach out to people through gaming?
- “90% of Gen Z have watched a video that helped them feel like they were in a different place.” Mission orgs! Are you doing digital prayer walks or ministry tours? Are you sharing video that help them feel like they are there in that place?
- “69% of Gen Z agree that they often find themselves returning to creators or content that feels comforting to them.” Nostalgia, comfort media, and highly aesthetic “vibe” content. The example YouTube used was a Puerto Rican artist who used 360-video to enable the viewer to “vibe out with him and his friends on a tropical beach.” Church creators can do this with Bible teachings, Sunday School, prayer walks, women’s events, camps, men’s events, etc. Mission org creators can use this to get content from missionaries overseas who are willing to share videos that help transport someone to an area. Maybe a “hang out with a missionary” day or hang out with someone who lives and is native to the area that day to learn about a people group?
Many thanks to MII for having “The Connected Church News” each week which is helpful to both the church communicator and mission org communicator. To read week one of July where this report first came to my attention, click here.
We process information with our emotions. While an artist’s tools are paint brushes, paint, and a canvas or a camera, social media gives us video, photos, and words to help people feel a part of our story. We can learn much from artists when using social media. Social media is a visual space, and often we only use it as a platform to opinionate or as a place to reframe our life in a way that doesn’t reflect our reality. What can we do differently online?
James Coleman says, “When someone sees one of my paintings, I want them to really feel the place that I’m depicting. And so my desire is that they’re going to want to travel into that painting and become part of it. …” Note the words, “I want them to really feel the place I’m depicting” and “they’re going to want to travel into that painting and become a part of it”.
Rory Feek wrote, “What’s important to you? Don’t answer that…show us instead.” In writing, we say show us and not tell us what is happening in a scene. In social media show us without ego what’s important to you, like the artist with his paint brush or the writer with his words.
On social media, like in person, we all have different gifts. If you like helping people, you can use social media to connect with people you can disciple, share the Gospel with, or empower them to seek better choices and find practical help. If you like photography, you can use your gift to help people focus on positive things or help them see the needs in the community. If you are a writer, you can use your words and visuals to tell a story that may help clarify your friends’ or followers’ thoughts. If you are an artist, it’s more than a platform to share your work, but a place to invite people into your paintings and photography. Most importantly, as a Christian, it’s a place to ask good questions that let other people do the talking.
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Rather than reframe our lives to reflect something we are not or to opinionate, instead think of how you can show what’s important to your life. How can I connect with you at church or at the market without having something in common? To find some common ground, we need to ask good questions, post good stories, and be visual.
Suggestions to engage with others online:
- Show how prayer is important to your life.
- Show why church fellowship is important.
- Show why you love the things you love.
- Show vulnerability.
- Show what you are learning at church, in your Bible Study, or small group.
- Ask questions and listen. Show you are a good listener online.
- Use your photography, painting, drawings, graphic design, quilting, sewing projects, writing, etc to invite people into your life on a deeper level.
And while these suggestions might be helpful, remember that people judge us by our actions. What we post online reflects our heart because that is an action, much like our in-person behavior, and it also reflects on our church, our jobs, and our Christ.
Have fun and be discerning!
(If you like this photo, make a donation to Gospel Impact Publishing and send me the receipt. I can email you the high-resolution photo for you to print and frame at home).
A friend shared Proverbs 25:21-22 with me, and it helped me better understand it in light of the whole Bible. It reads, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
RedeemingGod.org said, “Proverbs 25:22 instructs us to give our enemy so many burning coals they have to carry them the way burdens are carried in the Middle East: in a container on the head. Then they can go back and immediately bake their bread without having to wait for the wood to become suitable coals for cooking. burning coals. This is quite different than setting someone’s head on fire.”
“When a person’s fire went out,” one commentary says in the article, “he needed to borrow some live coals to restart his fire.”
We should use social media to “restart the fires” of those whose coals are cold, even if they are our enemies. This is not an easy task, and the effort has a cost.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This verse makes it easier to view others as image-bearers of God instead of an enemy or someone that offends us mightily. The cost is in the effort of self-control and choosing our words and battles wisely, and investing our time in others. This means learning about the people we follow on social media, their needs, and how to love and pray them to heart transformation. It also means being patient.
Baptism is just the start of a journey. We forget all the interactions that lead up to that baptism. We also forget the journey that follows to surrendering ourselves to the Lord.
On January 15, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., I am hosting a workshop on “Five Habits to Change on Your Social Media to Transform Your Heart and Community.”
Registration is required. If you want to learn how to restart the fires of those whose fires have gone out, join me that day to learn more. Maybe it will help restart your own fire?
WorldVenture is about engaging the world for Gospel impact through multiple disciples compelled by the love of God and willing to risk all so that people are transformed by God, impacting their families, communities, and the world.
And, God has given us the technology to make meaningful connections with people from all over the world. What’s stopping you from getting more involved in what God is doing?
Watch this 2-minute video if you have been invited to an online Bible Study, online Prayer, or any church event that is using Zoom.
After you have watched the video, feel free to download this easy to use guide on Zoom. It was created with the help of Lynn Garner, the Digital Prayer Leader, at Grace Church for an online class offered to Grace Church on how to use Zoom. Click here to download.
You can also read this blog at worldventure.com on “Virtual Prayer For the Technologically Challenged”.
One-time donations needed for the Gospel Impact Publishing Project
You can help WorldVenture bring tidings of comfort and joy this Christmas.
In 2020, the WorldVenture family came together to produce a Christmas devotional, Simple Christmas, with encouraging, Christmas-focused writings from global workers throughout the world. We did not print the booklet; we only delivered it in digital format.
There was an amazing response to Simple Christmas:
- 994 downloads of the computer version.
- 932 downloads of the tablet/smartphone version.
- 1011 visits to our Christmas page.
- And we lost count of the responses from individuals and churches sharing gratitude for the booklet.
But there was another response that surprised us… we had numerous requests for printed versions. Some churches wanted to use it to for disciple-making in their communities by including the devotional in their outreach activities. Sadly, we couldn’t fulfill their requests at the time. But this year, we’d like to do so. And we’d like to invite you to help. We have created a new project called, Gospel Impact Publishing.
This year’s devotional, coming out ahead of the 2021 Christmas Season, is called “Every Good and Perfect Gift: Finding Joy in Our Trials” (from James 1:2-4 & 17). Like the previous devotional, it will include contributions from Global Workers all over the world. However, this year’s devotional is set up a little differently to include topic-based, longer form articles to help individuals who are walking through their own trials better connect with Jesus during Christmas. Your financial contribution to the Gospel Impact Publishing project between now and September 1st, 2021 will help cover the printing costs of that devotional for distributing to many in need. And if we receive additional funds beyond the need, those will be used as seed to help fund future development of printed resources that help share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Would you consider making a generous one-time donation to this project?
Go to www.worldventure.com/GospelImpactPublishing and click on the “give” button.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.
Digital Disciple-Making Coordinator
P.S. If you would like to be kept informed on the progress of this devotional, please sign up for my email newsletter by going to www.worldventure.com/nhahn and clicking “once-per-month email” on the page.
When I go hiking in the snow or the cold, it never fails that two of my toes will go numb. My shoes are good, the socks are thick, and my feet are dry, but it doesn’t matter, those two toes will go numb. Numb is a good word that describes the world today.
A news story will show on my Facebook newsfeed, like the one about the woman who was mauled by a Grizzily at a campground. Instead of reading it, however, I immediately click on the comments. Reading human behavior is more interesting than reading a sensationalized news story created for clicks. The comments show a lack of awareness and compassion. When a friend of the victim shared a comment, trying to bring humanity to the conversation, to jar people awake from their numbness, it was met with more coldness. From one-upmanship to “being right”, the chat section of a journalism news page is crawling with people who are okay with being unkind because they are anonymous. None of them will likely meet up in the same aisle of the grocery store.
I normally see comments from people who only read the headlines. I also see opinions from people who may or may not have read more than the headlines. It’s like trudging through the snow next to a frozen lake. I won’t find comfort here, neither will that friend of the woman who died.
Did you also know that, if someone leaves a comment on a Facebook public post, like a news story, their friends will see it, too? Even more tragic, if that person was a Christian and, on one hand, posting an unkind comment, but showing on his profile a whole bunch of Jesus-loving memes and quotes. We don’t often view our social media platforms from all angles to see what kind of picture it paints of us to others.
It’s time to warm up those numb toes and build a fire!
Using social media for good means exercising a lot of self-control. This is a biblical thing.
Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” A broken city brings to mind the recently viewed photos of a bombing in Asia or the blackened remains of a once beautiful forest after a fire. We can do better.
Using social media for good means deciding if what you will say will be helpful in building bridges, making good decisions about your tone in the text, and listening to others, even if you disagree with them. Building relationships online takes just as much time as in-person. A click of a button doesn’t give you the right to speak truth into a person’s life. Time might if you persist and pray. Until then, build a fire against the cold. Let the light contrast the dark and push away the shadows of night. Invite someone to share your light. It took a long time for a person to become numb; it will take an equally long time to thaw them into a human again.
Be kind and thoughtful. The struggle is worth it.
In 2020, during shut downs, Zoom saw 200 million daily meeting participants. Post-pandemic, our small community still struggles with how to use Zoom, except those who use it for their home offices or businesses. In other states, some were marginalized by technology and isolated because they never learned how to use the technology to use its face-to-face features, like video calling. We can continue to use Zoom as a tool for many ministry opportunities, including prayer and one-on-one discipleship or Bible Study meet ups.
I am teaming up with the Digital Prayer Leader of Grace Church‘s Digital Outreach Team on July 17 and July 28 to co-teach a Zoom class called, “What is Digital Prayer? And How to Use Zoom for Friends, Family, and Ministry.”
This is open to all Christians in the area. You do not have to attend Grace Church to take the class. We welcome pastors from other churches in the area as well.
Reading a scanned article that was sent by email, I was struck, not just by the funny comic, but also by these words. I have repurposed them for me, but it feels right:
I am willing to make tough calls in ministry. I am willing to be poorly thought of by some people. I am willing to give up my house and my relationships (except my husband as that wouldn’t be biblical nor loving, and why would I leave him behind? He’s my other half) to go across the world to bring this message. I will pay the price of leadership.
I so get the part where the article talks about ministry depression. I actually experience that here and there once in a while and in the past when I worked full time and served.
Rich Nathan said in this article, “I’ve come to accept that, following a conference or weekend of ministry, I will be subject to spiritual attack and feelings of depression. I try to give myself more time to be away from people.”
In 2015, I took a deep breath and said, “I can’t burn the candles at both ends or I won’t last. I. Must. Have. Balance.”
I like the reference of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:3-5. He had enough. I can imagine himself throwing his hands in the air. All he needed was a nap and something to eat to feel better. The Angel provided it.
However, my idea of rest is very different. I love isolation in the woods. I love doing photography and having the joy of sharing my good ones and bad ones with you. I love reading. I love spending alone time with my husband. I like watching brain-numbing tv shows or movies just to not think. I like writing. I like running. I like walking.
And sometimes, I even like people.