Rarely do missionaries choose where they will conduct mission work by closing their eyes and randomly letting their finger fall on a country on the map. Instead, missionaries who will be physically relocating take time to pray, discern their calling, and research their new location.
Then they begin to prepare for a change in climate, culture, and language. They consider possible challenges and figure out how they will meet those obstacles.
Even if the traditional missionary isn’t moving to an entirely new country, preparation must still take place to learn local colloquialisms, expectations, and more.
Choosing an online mission field is no different. Picture various online platforms as countries—each has its own dialect and culture. The demographic differs with each platform.
Now that you’ve decided to become an online missionary, the Holy Spirit must guide you as to “where” you should work. Here are a few things to consider:
- What gift or talent has God given me to use?
Knowing your abilities and gifts is important when deciding your branch of online mission work. God gave us certain abilities for His glory and to help others. When your gift matches your work, you will feel less overwhelmed and you give the Holy Spirit a greater opportunity to use you effectively. Christ has given each of us unique abilities so we could fulfill the roles He placed on us. By studying God’s Word and asking for His guidance, you can discover your gift and how to use it.
- Which platform should I use?
This is perhaps one of the most critical questions to answer. With more than 2.5 billion people using social media, choosing which platform you work with is like choosing which country you travel do. This list provides over 60 social media sites being used around the world. Ask yourself which platform matches your abilities and whether it will help you accomplish what God is calling to do. If you enjoy writing devotionals, you can consider starting a blog and sharing your content on Facebook. If you have skills in video production, YouTube or another video sharing site might be the best platform to use.
- What are the challenges I will encounter using this platform?
Like traditional missionaries, you want to consider the challenges you will encounter in the online “country” you will be serving. It’s easy to get distracted and to spend time scrolling if you are not deliberate about your purpose.
Develop a plan to help you meet challenges you will encounter. For example, if you know that you may get distracted by ads on YouTube, install a pop up blocker extension on your web browser. If you will be intentionally chatting with friends on Facebook about God’s Word, discipline yourself to avoid being distracted by the home page’s feed.
There are many ways to manage your time on social media. Being intentional about it can help you be a more effective missionary.
My talent lies mainly in writing devotional content for women. I have found that what works best for me is to contribute to popular blogs and write notes on Facebook. I then carve out a dedicated time to share the material. For now, my mission fields (“cyber countries”) are Facebook and a popular Christian blog.
What “cyber country” will you serve?