I grew up in the era of the televangelist. Rex Humbard and Oral Roberts. They were the pioneers of what was then the only streaming screen – the TV. Today we live in the era of Instavangelists. They are evangelists on Instagram and TikTok. Our screens have changed, but we’re still drawn to a spiritual force and the wonder behind the lens. Unbelievers watch too. Sometimes with disdain and sarcasm, but sometimes, they watch with curious interest.
God ultimately wants us to know Him personally. He wants our heart to know His heart, which sometimes means going through pain and suffering to hear His voice within us. In our cluttered and saturated media culture, it’s when we take the time to search, go through suffering, and are forced to turn off our screens that God’s voice cuts through. It’s why Satan – the deceiver keeps our screens and the noise on 24/7.
Christian media leaders and communicators have learned much since the early days of televangelists on how to communicate. Today I believe they are more honest as they share not just the joy and goodness of God, but the truth that we live in a broken world and that life is hard. They also share of what a life lived fully alongside Jesus looks like. It is a life of service, caring, forgiveness, love for all, and joy in the suffering and uncertainty.
Life changed during the pandemic.
The culture, particularly young people, who have been raised without ever being taught about God or a spiritual world, became curious as they were confronted with untimely death. Many who had been led to deny the existence of God and believe in science or the government to solve their problems instead found them untrustworthy. Many who had never stopped to think about praying, reading the Bible, or what motivated that passionate social media preacher stopped as they were confronted with a world they thought was stable, but was collapsing around them. They began to ask if God was real? Was there a higher power and the Creator of the world? Was there some truth to what those instavangelists were saying?
Social media is designed to tout a “me culture.”
As we begin a new year- 2023 can we who confident in our faith through God’s proven provision become more effective instavangelists? What if we who “know the truth and that The Truth has sets us free,” (John 8:32) began to use our social media accounts more effectively to tell others that it’s not about “me,” but the God who breathes within me that is the reason our life has purpose and meaning? What if our personal screens – “me” proclaimed God’s ability to overcome disruption, suffering, devastation, and death and that life wasn’t about the “here and now” of our imploding world, but in the world to come when King Jesus returns?
Depression and suicide rates are soaring today, and gender and identity dysphoria is rampant. TikTok, our latest screen and life sucking platform can only be watched for a short time before what we post is gone. Yet the average global TikTok user spends 3.5 hours daily watching videos that are largely mindless, meaningless, and will vanish. Could this continual use of vanishing videos be a subtle message to users of their life? That it’s a vapor and here and gone before ever being seen and known? Is the constant need to check these vanishing stories keeping us from seeing what is eternal – the eternal all seeing God?
Will God’s voice be heard before it goes away on TikTok or Instagram stories?
The truth is our life on the imploding earth is a vapor. We aren’t here long. But it is not meaningless. Our Creator God sees and knows us. A woman – Hagar names God El-Roi, the God who sees (Genesis 16:13). What if lovers of God become Instavangelists or TikTokvangelists and began sharing that God sees and never vanishes. That He is real and that He changed their thinking about life? What if believers posted how God was with them during disasters, health or financial issues, grieving, and times of endless uncertainties? What if they shared a peace that was unnatural and a calm beyond their understanding during those times? That they knew the “Who” that held their hand and holds the future? What if the followers of Jesus posted of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and hope? What if they invited their followers to watch an online church service or posted how a scripture verse challenged their thinking? Like this verse, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 23:8)? And… what would happen in 2023, by chance, if their scrolling eye stopped and instead of finding something silly and meaningless they found freedom, truth, and a peace everlasting?
What if… they found the Light of the World behind their screen?