Wycliffe's profile picture for their facebook page advertises their Last Languages campaign. (Wycliffe image)
International (MNN) ― A recent study done by Drew Goodmanson Co. reveals that most ministries know little about Social Networking or the connected applications that enable social interaction such as Facebook, Twitter, or blogs. Wycliffe Bible Translators is working to stay up to speed, however, as the marriage of the Gospel and technology can lead to lots of opportunities for the Gospel.
"We, of course, have a Facebook page, and we maintain that as well. It's a way of keeping people updated, those that are on Facebook," said Bob Creson of Wycliffe. It helps followers stay up-to-date. Though Creson said they are not experts, they're trying to understand how best to accomplish the goals they have for social networking. "We have several people now who keep us focused on this issue, who are doing research and helping us understand how best to use it in terms of our own corporate mission and vision for Wycliffe."
Wycliffe is also blogging, but in the Twitter age, blogging may seem like a passive technology to the technologically savvy. Twitter allows users to send immediate "tweets" to single users or all their followers. Tweets can be viewed immediately on cell-phones or online.
Creson says Twitter allows Wycliffe to keep its supporters up-to-date with day-to-day activities and events. Social networking can feed people's desire for immediate news and information about the things that are important to them--even those who are passionate about Bible translation.
A concern with the constant rush of information that social networking provides is that important information just becomes part of the "babble." Creson said, "It can be a bit overwhelming and, I think, often why some people are ‘Twitter-quitters.' They don't see the need for it, or they don't take the time to start filtering information in ways that are helpful to them on a personal or professional level."
Creson visited a missionary couple in an extremely remote village in northern Uganda a few months ago. Still, "in the middle of nowhere," Creson said he had four bars on his cell phone and he was able to update his Facebook status and send tweets. After returning from the trip, Creson still gets constant updates from the couple; he was actually able to help them because of that connection. "I happen to follow them on Twitter, so when I saw something come up, I was able to report immediately to a group of about 300 people in Orlando who were gathered for chapel, and I indicated that the missionaries needed prayer for certain things."