Last year I bought myself a smart phone and a tablet computer. I’d been holding out for a while but finally caved in. I didn’t think I’d really need either. Now it feels like I can’t live without them. Me and my stupid addiction to technology. One of the things I love about my devices are the apps – computer programs that do all kinds of weird and wonderful things that you download from the store and are accessible at the touch of a button. I’ve got apps for games, social network, email, photos and more. But there’s one app that I’ve wanted since day one. And it has eluded me.
This week, the 2 Ways to Live app was launched.
I want you to picture the internet not as a place where you go to watch Youtube clips and play Farmville. I want you to picture the internet not as a place where you check the football scores, book airplane tickets or Google the answers to pub trivia questions. I want you to forget about how you use the internet as a tool in your day to day life.
Instead, I want you to think of the internet as a country. A country with billions of citizens who have their own culture, language, customs and currency. A country where people spend their waking hours interacting with each other, sometimes in strange and unusual ways. If you think of the internet as a country, the next logical step is to think of the internet as a mission field – a place where the opportunities to reach previously unreached people with the gospel of Jesus are rampant.
The internet is a mission field. And if you’re reading this, it’s a mission field that you already have access to. There are some countries in the world that won’t let you through the door because you want to tell people about Jesus. There are some countries you can’t get to because the expense of getting there and living there is beyond you. But the internet is a country where you already live. You know the culture and you know the language. So how are you going to approach your mission field?
Last week I presented a lecture at Youthworks College for the Evangelism class on using the internet for evangelism. I had a great time, though it did take some time for the weirdness of going from student to lecturer wore off. The presentation used material that I’ve been working on and teaching for the last year or so. I thought that it might be good to get some of this stuff online for people to use. As always, this is a work in progress and I’m open to suggestions etc. I envisage this to be a 3 part series. The first part will be on viewing the internet not as a tool but as a mission field. In the second part I’ll discuss our online Christian identity. And in the third part I’ll look at how we use the internet and opportunities for growing God’s Kingdom online.
Part 1 should be posted next week. In the mean time, I’m keen to hear from you. How have you used the internet for evangelism? Is it appropriate to use the internet for these purposes? This is one of those online conversations we need to have!
I know starting the post with that sentence makes me look like a cranky old man.
And yes, if I did have a lawn, I’d be telling you to get off it.
But I’m sharing this nugget of old person information with you to show you how different it was for the pop culture junkie in the 90’s compared to today.
Pepsi have (rightly) received a lot of flack for their “AMP Up Before You Score” iPhone app. The app breaks women down into 24 different categories (or to be more accurate – caricatures) and gives you all the information you need to pretend to be a guy that they would want to sleep with. In other words, it was a tool to treat women as objects and deceive them into having sex. Classy move Pepsi.
But it got me thinking. Is there an app like this for evangelism? Let me set the scene. Your non-Christian friend sends you an SMS asking if you want to catch up for coffee in ten minutes. You know they’ve been struggling with issues of faith and that this would be a great opportunity to share the gospel with them. But you’ve only got ten minutes to think about what you’re going to say. Now say you had the Evangelism app on your phone. You put some info into your phone and the app points you towards Two Ways To Live tracts, apologetics sites, tips for opening discussions with people from different faith backgrounds, you name it. It could even give you a hand with follow up if things go well, such as churches near where they live that are offering Christianity Explained courses. It wouldn’t do the work for you, because the person you’re talking about isn’t a project that needs to be conquered. But it would aid in your relationship with them and help you introduce them to a relationship with Jesus. Would that be a helpful app?
Does such a thing exist? If not, does someone want to work on it?
There’s a good chance you’re reading this article either on a Windows based PC or on a Mac. (If you’re using Linux, keep reading. This will all apply to you as well.) For years, these two computer platforms have dominated the industry. Chances are you’re either a PC user or a Mac user. Rarely do the two overlap. It’s not uncommon to find people who are very passionate about their choice of computer. The kind of passion that leads to friendly rivalry. But after reading this article on Windows 7 and Mac users, I’m no longer convinced that this rivalry is friendly.
It’s a war.
And it’s a war we shouldn’t be fighting.
There’s been a lot of buzz going around about the new Windows operating system Windows 7. It’s meant to be a massive improvement over Windows Vista (which some would say isn’t hard). Microsoft seem to be taking a whole new approach with Windows 7, following on the heels of the success of Office 2007. What’s got my attention is how Microsoft plan on launching this new product. In store displays? No. A presentation to a packed out theatre of people? No. Tupperware style parties across the world? YES!