The Great Pivot - The Influence of Digital Media

I've found myself over the last couple of years pondering the amount of noise in the digital space. I launched my blog back in January of 2012 when blogging was fairly new, and my podcast, Sandalfeet Ministries in 2015 when podcasting was just beginning to take off. I'm not super techy, and was extremely grateful my son (who was only ten years old in 2012) gave me pointers along the way. I have slowly plodded along over the past decade sharing what the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart through blogs, books, social media posts, and podcasts. However, when COVID hit, it seemed as though the world turned upside down in so many ways. One of the areas of change for me was simply the noise on social media and digital platforms. I am one to be cautious and careful of what I say or post because I know many eyes are watching, but 2020 and 2021 seemed to take a strange turn. The rise of "cancel culture" seemed to elevate the hysterical voices while at the same time silencing the voices of reason and truth. I know Satan had a hand in giving ammunition to those who walk with him while at the same time attacking and assaulting those who side with Jesus. It led me to get a little quiet and contemplating what the Lord really wanted me to continue to do.

As some of you know, I begin the journey of pursuing my PhD in Christian Leadership with an emphasis on Next Generation Ministry next week. I had no idea until recently this particular program was even available, and actually stumbled upon it by complete accident (perhaps divine). For years, I've been asked when people hear about my ministry. It's the "elevator speech" marketing experts try and teach people to rehearse so they have it down in one sentence or less. Ten years in, I still bumble my way through my response because ten years in, I still have no specific focus other than to passionately share how Jesus fills and changes a person's life. I can't particularly narrow it down to a group of people, age group, ministry topic, or anything like that. It frustrates me at times, and I've heard plenty of people tell me I need to figure out my "focus." 

I happened to be scrolling through social media the other day and saw Brian Barcelona posting about his latest book release. If you don't know who Brian is, he has an incredible testimony and an incredible ministry reaching high school students through Jesus Clubs and his speaking engagements. His book, The Jesus Club, is so encouraging. His latest book, Don't Scroll, Evangelism in the Digital Age, caught my attention since it is so in line with the journey I am about to begin. And although I have a stack of books sitting on my desk I'll need to somehow get through over the next eight weeks, I ordered a copy and read the words he had to say. Not only does Brian offer practical help in navigating the digital age and "reaching the ends of the earth" through digital means, his words are wrapped in encouragement for the discouraged...a word I needed and maybe something some of you need as well right now.
I wrote in my book, Spiritual Orphans, about a word the Holy Spirit gave me in January of 2011. As my heart has been tugged to pursue my PhD and as I read the words in Brian's book, I have been drawn back again to those words I wasn't expecting that night.

"You are a mother. You will be a mother to all of My children who are hurting, sick, scared, and lonely. You will know when you see them. You will see it in their eyes."

As I look around at our youth these days through a digital lense, I can see their struggles. The place where we will meet this generation is not the same place we met them before. The landscape has changed, but the mission has not. I firmly believe that as we adults continue to surrender our lives to Jesus, He will enable us to have fresh eyes and hearts to the youth in our presence so they may walk in a land that is full of revival and new birth instead of destruction and death. It is not lost on me that those who were born between 1997 and 2015 are known as Generation Z, and those who were born after 2015 are known as Generation Alpha. God has great things in store to begin something new.

My only question for you is what part will you play? Don't be limited by what you think you are capable of doing. Instead, be compelled by what He is capable of doing through the ones He sees as available and sent. This generation and future generations need us to step out of our comfort and love them well until Jesus makes His return.

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