For years my electronic communications world, while in business and now in full-time ministry, has pretty much been through the use of two main mediums: websites and emails. However, heading into a New Year I am going through an “App-titude Adjustment” and trying to technologically get up to speed.
Lately, I’ve been paying close attention to my own kids, young people in our church and those we often reach out to in our efforts to mobilize or recruit. I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve been pretty much missing it when it comes to social media. Yes, we have faithfully posted a blog update and sent emails each month for the last three and half years. But I have to admit, it’s been evident to us for some time now that we’ve been limiting our ability to communicate by avoiding the various avenues some people are using to connect.
Maybe it’s a generational thing (I am a Papaw, you know!), but my delay in connecting via social media is also due to the feeling that I can’t keep up with everything I’ve already got going – why would I add new Apps, pages or gadgets to what already seems like a complicated schedule, only to become even more busy! For years I’ve resisted Facebook for fear that it would consume me through wasted time, non-relevant chatter and sifting through silly stuff that doesn’t really matter.
I can hear some of you now, “Tom, get with it. My grandmother has been using Facebook for years.” I know; both Nancy and I have parents that use Facebook! I just looked it up – Facebook has been around since 2004 and there are now 1.4 billion users worldwide. Seriously, I am the only person I know with a smart phone and a laptop who does not use Facebook. According to a recent article from Plugged In, “Instagram recently announced that it now has 300 million active users, sprinting past rivals that include Twitter. The Facebook-owned social media site added 100 million users in the last nine months alone and has quickly become the must-use App for teens and preteens, with 76% of teens using it regularly.” That’s a generational thing we should be aware of don’t you think?
Well, by now, you’ve guessed it. My New Year’s declaration is that I just signed up for Facebook, yeah! And I also started using Instagram. As we head into 2015 I will attempt to link the various mediums we’ve been using with these new medias so we can communicate more effectively, tap into a younger generation, and hopefully do it without trying to appear “cool” or “switched on” because we are into a particular App. My sincere hope and prayer is that I will maintain a balance and use these media outlets for God’s greater good without trying to promote myself or waste the precious time He has granted me. It’s my 2015 “App-titude Adjustment” and a resolution for the New Year.
So connect with us in a way that works best for you… make me a friend, like me, follow me, add a comment to a post, and all that other stuff people do. God is doing great things here in South Africa and I want you to be involved at the highest level possible. We have an amazing support system of churches, ministry partners and personal supporters, literally thousands of God’s people connected who actively pray and support our ministries here in South Africa. I am ready for 2015 and am as excited as ever. We hope you are too. Happy New Year and connect with us in a new way soon!