- (Photo: Toni Birdsong)
The time for Christians to be engaged in online evangelism is now, says author and communications expert Toni Birdsong.
Christians who are still reluctant to use social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter need to look no further than their use of email or their phone to realize sharing the Gospel message is “part of their DNA,” Birdsong said.
Birdsong, the co-author of @stickyJesus: how to live your faith online told The Christian Post that she is thrilled to live in a time when people have invited other people, in some cases hundreds or thousands of people, into their lives through the use of social media.
“There’s something really phenomenal going on in the online world right now,” she said. “People assume that it’s harder to break through to see the real person, but what happens when people write is it’s as if they are more transparent. They don’t have those layers that you have to drill through in face-to-face [conversation].”
“In some ways it’s easier (to know people’s needs) because people will share their hearts and you don’t have all those layers to get through,” she added.
The Franklin, Tenn., resident has had careers that included being a reporter and editor of several newspapers, a communications specialist for the Walt Disney Company, and now a partner in a creative marketing firm. Birdsong said she loves to use today’s online tools to communicate her love for God.
“I spend an hour to an hour and a half a day in prayer before I allow myself to open my computer,” she noted. “I think in this day and age it’s become imperative to pray and fast and really ask God to be there with you. You may be in a room by yourself, but really you are with the Holy Spirit.”
Birdsong said that she takes social media, this new way of communicating very seriously. She believes other Christians should too.
“This is about a divine opportunity that God has given you and you need to handle that with His word and Scripture,” she stressed. “Every platform that we are on is social and as Christians it’s in our DNA. To not recognize the time that we are in as a relationship era is really neglectful of the time that God has brought you to.”
“We get to peer behind the curtain of people’s lives with their permission. These are the feasting days of evangelism,” she added. “Why not take advantage of that?”
In the book description of @stickyJesus, co-authored by Tami Heim, it states that people now spend over 110 billion minutes a month on social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. “Some are ranting. Some are raving. Almost all are revealing their hearts and minds as never before. This historic social shift is a dream come true for big brand marketers, political parties, and just about anyone who has something to say,” according to the authors. “So how do you – a Christ follower – navigate the noise, dodge the danger, talk the tech, and speak life and hope into the online space? You get sticky. Just like Jesus. You share the stickiest message ever spoken, the Gospel.”
Birdsong is also a contributing writer at Pastors.com, which is an online resource for church leaders. She recently wrote an article about overcoming the fear of evangelizing -- in this case, not simply online.
“The need (and want) of those around me for hope and healing is greater than my need to lay out the Gospel perfectly. While salvation is a big deal, it’s God’s deal. Salvation is the work of the supernatural Holy Spirit. Experiencing God daily and sharing that testimony is evangelism,” she stated.
Tips on evangelizing online can also be found at stickyJesus.com where the site is described as “existing to equip you, the Christ follower, to confidently live out your faith in the digital world.”
“We're here to infuse biblical perspective and daily inspiration into your online time. We'll help you grow your technical know-how so you can share the sticky love of Jesus Christ with others. We're teaching, listening, and collaborating with a fired-up community of digital scribes about culture, social media, and the kind of relationship building that will outlive cyberspace. Are you in?”