A drone recently delivered the wedding rings at a marriage ceremony in San Francisco. Drones are being used to help farmers map their crops and firefighters monitor wildfires in remote areas. One father uses a drone to record his son's athletic prowess, apparently to make recruiting videos. A pastor used a drone to get aerial footage of his church's parking lot, so he can determine more-efficient parking strategies.
Now the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has gotten in on the act. LastMother's Day, it employed its new drone to videotape crowds celebrating the canonization of John the 23rd and John Paul II. The Church paid less than a thousand dollars for the drone, and intends to use it in efforts to increase evangelism through social media.
Sister Helena Burns is already ahead of the curve. This self-styled "media nun" has 13,790 Twitter followers and counting, and is on Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and multi-player video games. Her order was founded in 1915 by Italian priest Giacomo Alberione explicitly to help the Church begin using media more effectively. Sister Helena agrees: "I want to use the latest, most modern, most efficacious media and media technology to reach the greatest number of people with the Holy Spirit."
The Apostle Paul sought to "become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). In the same way, our ministry exists to engage intellectual challenges and contemporary issues with biblical truth, and does much of our work via the Internet and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagramand Pinterest. We applaud those who use all means and methods to share the timeless message of the gospel.
At the same time, I can testify personally to the down side of media-driven evangelism. While writing this Cultural Commentary enables me to speak to more than 86,000 subscribers in 203 countries, it does not exempt me from sharing God's love with my next-door neighbor here in Dallas or the waiter I encounter at my next restaurant meal. Paul wrote letters, but he also evangelized in person. Jesus preached to massive crowds, but he also ministered to individual souls.
I believe every Christian should have a media strategy for advancing the Kingdom. Your Facebook page, Twitter account, and other social media platforms give you unprecedented access to people around the world. But you have also been entrusted with God's word for the next soul you meet personally. The two are not competitive, but complimentary. The more we spread God's love through media and in person, the more effective we will become at each.
If Paul were alive today, would he use drones? Perhaps. If he were in the room with you, would he make time for your soul? Absolutely.
Publication date: May 27, 2014