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Getting social media savvy

I've been doing some thinking recently about technology and social media.

Dave Gobbett | 08:10, 24 July 2016

Discipleship has always been about growing in our relationship with Jesus, and helping others to do the same. But the technological/social media explosion in the last ten years is forcing us constantly to rethink what following Jesus looks like. And you can multiply that tenfold if you've got kids (if you need convincing, have a reminder of this news story back in May).

Holiday reading

Given schools have now broken up, and you might get a chance for a little more holiday reading, I thought I'd recommend two brilliant new resources that I've found helpful.

12 ways your phone is changing you12 ways your phone is changing you, by Tony Reinke (Crossway) is a brilliant heads-up to the subtle ways the tools we've shaped have begun to shape us. Tony Reinke (who works for John Piper's Desiring God Ministries) is neither a technophobe nor a technophile, but a wise teacher and guide. Extremely provocative. £9.35 on 10ofthose.com.

The tech-wise family

The Tech-wise Family, by Andy Crouch (Baker) is a must-read for any parent, youth worker, or teacher. You might be a digital immigrant, but your kids are digital natives. There are few more pressing issues for parenting right now. Unputdownable! Life-changeable. £8.39 on 10ofthose.com.

Millennial generation

Last year the sociologist and management consultant Simon Sinek gave a powerful interview about the challenges of millennial generation. It's highly worth fifteen minutes of your time. He doesn't say he's a Christian, but has some challenging reflections we'd do well to learn:

Lastly, I thought I'd leave you with a quote from the Tony Reinke book that I felt was timely, given all the summer activity about to occur:

Jesus expressly wants us not to seek human praise by our obedience. He warns us not to flaunt our works online in order to be praised by others. "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 6:1).

Consider one example. Imagine setting aside a few weeks of your summer vacation to travel on dirt roads and bump around in loud jeeps, winding deep into remote jungle villages in Central America. You risk fevers, diseases, and heatstroke, all in order to help build an orphanage for twenty destitute kids. At the end of the month, you step back, take a selfie with your handiwork in the background, and post it with pride on Facebook. Poof!—the reward is gone. Think about it. In one humble-brag selfie, the trade is made—eternal reward from God is sold for the porridge of maybe eighty likes and twelve comments of praise. (Context is not the point; we do the same sort of thing with pictures of an open Bible in a coffee shop.).

Challenging stuff, eh? I found it so helpful making me ask why I do what I do on social media. The human heart can turn even great gospel work into an opportunity for self! May we be embark on all our summer outreach for the audience of one.

Your brother,

Dave

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