Social Media and Missionaries

I saw this on twitter the other day, and it made me think about the use of social media in missions.

My job as a missionary has many different aspects. I spend most of my time training youth workers (both formally and informally). I spend a little of my time working with young people (not as much as I used to). I also try to inspire people to be involved in missions.

Some parts of what I do are easier to talk about on social media than to actually do, especially given the culture in which I work.

Right now, for example, twitter in Mexico isn’t very popular. Facebook is coming of age in Mexico. But it would be weird for me to try to convince people here to use twitter so that I could connect with them and train youth workers through twitter. Could I do it? Probably. Would it be very effective? Right now, probably not. (Maybe in the future).

The part of my job that has to do with inspiring people (mostly in the United States) to be involved in missions (either by financially supporting, praying for, or considering going to serve in a foreign culture, among other things), is a little easier to do using social media. In fact, I believe social media has made this part of my job easier. I no longer have to be in the United States to remind people to be praying for our family or ministry.

But this part of my job basically requires talking about what I do in Mexico and Latin America. To answer Tony’s question, talking about what I do (using social media) to those in the United States and elsewhere helps me be able to do what I do in Mexico and Latin America.

I am definitely interested in using social web to train youth workers. In fact, we have a social network (in Spanish) set up on Ning that has various members from all over Latin America. We use it to help them with their ministries. I’m sure we could use it better.

As always, I need to continue thinking through the question. But for some parts of my job it is easier to use social networks than others.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

The World’s Most Dangerous Jobs

The World’s Most Dangerous Jobs

People actually do studies of the world’s most dangerous jobs.

Here’s a list I found in my research for my introduction to my sermon this week in chapel at the Seminary.

8. Roofers
7. Power Line Technicians
6. Farmers and Ranchers
5. Waste Management Workers
4. Structural Construction Workers
3. Loggers
2. Airline pilots and crew
1. Fishermen (a la Dangerous Catch)

In some parts of the world, being a pastor could be life-threatening. But even in the parts of the world that have religious freedom, the ministry is a dangerous job. Check these statistics (thanks to Into Thy Word ministries):

  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.

I don’t have statistics about missionaries or youth pastors, but I am convinced that people who are in the ministry full time need our prayers and encouragement.

So stop what you’re doing right now and send an email of encouragement to someone you know in the ministry. Go get a card for your pastor or youth pastor. Tell him that what he does is valuable and that you are praying for him.

(Photo by: Laura Travels on flickr)

St. Pete Times and Serving the Servants

Recently, the St. Petersburg Times ran an article on D&D Missionary Homes, a great ministry in St. Pete that provides housing, clothing, and other things to missionaries who are visiting the United States again.

D&D exists to “serve the servants” and operates on donations from individuals and churches in order to do so. They have furnished houses, a place for missionaries to shop for clothes (for free), and basically provide a home away from home for those who minister overseas.

Unfortunately, although they provided a phone number, the St. Pete Times didn’t link to the D&D missionary homes website in their article, so here is the link to D&D missionary homes. Be sure to check them out and donate if you want to support their ministry.

Here’s the St. Petersburg Times article.
Here’s the D&D Missionary Homes website.

Have you heard of any other ministries like this one?