Why Facebook is appropriate for missions

By June 9, 2014

International (MNN) — After ten years of sharing pictures, updating statuses, Liking posts, and redefining Friends, Facebook has gained a broad international user base.

If you’re a Facebook user–which you very likely are, have you ever considered using it to reach people with the Gospel?

Courtesy of Wikimedia commons-- http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/Facebook_icon.jpg (public domain)

Courtesy of Wikimedia commons– http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/Facebook_icon.jpg (public domain)

Reach Beyond thinks it’s a great idea and tweeted about it in reference to an article by Joshua Project (read here).

The article, inspired by Laura Krokos, details how to take out an ad that will connect users of Facebook to ministry resources they would never otherwise see. Check it out!

This concept fits Reach Beyond’s Manifesto to reach the unreached which states, in part:

“We refuse to stand idly by as people enter eternity without Christ when we can share the Good News that transforms them through the media they use.

“We will leverage, to the best of our ability, God’s gift of media and medical technology to reveal His eternal wisdom to those who have never heard the name of Jesus.

“We will employ every resource, talent, and ounce of energy God gives us to shine the light of His grace into the darkest recesses of the planet.”

How appropriately that manifesto aligns with the idea of using Facebook as a resource for lost people. And according to extensive research done both in America and Globally, it has great potential.

PEW Research Center reported earlier this year that 57% of adults in America use Facebook, and the half of those that don’t use it live with somebody does. 73% of Americans ages 12-17 are on Facebook.

Each of these Facebook users reaches an incredible amount of “friends.” The networking is huge. For example, users age 18-29 have a median Friend count of 300.

And that’s just in America.

Started in America in 2004 as a way to connect college kids, it only took two years for Facebook to go global. Already in 2011 Huffington Post was reporting that 75% of users lived outside of the United States.

PEW’s research backs this up.

In 2012, they indicated that in many countries, about half of the population used Facebook and other social networking sites. The increase in social-network interest coincides with greater accessibility to cell phones and internet.

What’s even more interesting is that many low-income populations are especially involved with networking, and once they get internet access, they are connected to social media.

And get this: based on a poll of 21 countries in 2012, 14% of users were using social media to discuss religion.

That may not seem like a lot, but some Arab countries were rated for religious use as high as 63%.

As of this year, PEW finds that even in emerging countries, as they gain greater access to internet communication devices, there is a heightened interest in social media. It’s become part of their everyday life.

Countries like Egypt, Russia, the Philippines, and Tunisia have just under 90% of their internet users involved in social networking.

Of 22 emerging and developing countries surveyed by PEW, a median 43% of internet users share religious views on social media sites like Facebook. This is most popular in the Middle East.

This is why linking Facebook to evangelistic resources is such a good idea: it connects ministries with people in need, just like that.

Even in emerging countries where internet usage is low, there are people around who speak their language who are on Facebook and who can pass the word along.

Many ministries, like Reach Beyond, offer resources (like these) that help people understand the Gospel and know who Jesus is. However, there are so many people in need who don’t even know they exist.

Consider following the steps as outlined in the Joshua Project article to make people around the world aware of the resources that ministries like Reach Beyond are offering.

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