USA (MNN) — CNN recently aired a special called “#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens” that exposed some of the vicious and obscene ways adolescents use social media.
The report provided examples of posts along with statistics that might have shocked a few parents, but what’s more is it revealed serious spiritual deprivation.
“It just exposed what is happening, in a viral way, between our young people,” says Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries. “I came away from that not surprised, because we are in touch with young people, but listening to the young people themselves, listening to the kinds of things that are posted routinely by young people, I just shook my head and I said, ‘It is unbelievable–the level of sexuality, the level of meanness, the brutalizing of people through the Internet.
“This is a reminder that they are so broken and so wounded and so depraved in many ways, and so lost, so young. It is a reminder to all of us that the battlefield has changed, and the acceleration of the efforts of the forces of darkness to capture a generation has just been mind boggling.”
The Internet, Hutchcraft says, is a powerful tool for evil and could play a key role in Christ’s return. But, he says, it also has great potential for good.
“I’m reminded of two explosions that Jesus said would happen just before He came back,” Hutchcraft says. “He said because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
“First of all, there’s going to be an explosion of sin…. There’s always been wickedness. What’s different? The difference is the pace at which it will be spread. And boy, you talk about viralizing that which is unbelievably outside of God’s boundaries! [It’s] infinite…how fast any single thing can spread around the world and go viral.
“But by the same token, as sin is exploding, there’s also going to be an explosion of Gospel. And so honestly I believe right now the race is on. The race is on to capture human souls between the forces of heaven and the forces of hell. And if the forces of darkness are going to viralize their vile messages, their life-destroying messages, how can the people of Christ be any less active and less committed to that battle? So in many ways, the primary battlefield for human souls right now is digital.”
So what’s the best way to reach people through social media? Hutchcraft says it requires a different strategy than conventional preaching.
“I think all of us, first of all, need to be thinking and praying about how we can effectively represent Jesus,” Hutchcraft says. “You don’t do it with preaching, because preaching in these mediums does not work. But from the standpoint of your own personal hope story, and aspects of the difference Jesus is making in your life.”
This isn’t just for the younger generation. Older people too can be a presence for Christ on social media. They can especially be influential in reaching young people, Hutchcraft says, by learning from millennials.
“We need to continue to just show up and preach the Gospel, but honestly, it takes some money to reach a world digitally, especially in the advertising…,” Hutchcraft says. “I would say there’s a young generation of millennials out there, and even teenagers, who could help coach us.
“And we need to give some of our leaders, especially in the millennial generation, freedom and creativity. And we need to always make sure that the product is in tact, that we don’t mess with the Gospel. We don’t change it, we don’t dilute it, we don’t edit it. That message is non-negotiable. But we need to understand that the package it comes in can always be changeable.”
RHM is sharing Christ’s love through a variety of digital content on its website. It’s also bringing hope to young people through its On Eagles’ Wings team. The OEW team is a group of Native American young people that share personal stories of hope on Indian reservations to people struggling. Click here to learn more about this ministry and how you can lend your support.