Social networks help retired Christians pray for missions
Online social networks are useful for retired Christians as a means to pray for missionaries, seek prayer in return, and stay and
stay connected, the head of a prayer network for missionaries said recently.
Ed Cox, director of International Mission Board’s Office of Global Prayer Strategy told the Baptist Press that online networks is a key form of influence building, and it should be used to do God’s work.
Cox told Baptist Press that he hopes that Christians will tap social networks to build the much-needed prayer power that is necessary to back up missionary work noting, “[Social networking] is a major communication force within society.”
Cox told Baptist Press, “I really became convinced that if we were going to communicate with Southern Baptists we need to be where they are … and they are on Facebook. They are on Twitter.”
The Baptist Press noted that among the fastest growing age groups on Facebook is women aged 55 or older, recent studies show. To date, Facebook has over 500 million users.
One of them, June Livingstone, 79, became hooked on Facebook because of CompassionNet, which has a page on the social network where requests of missionaries and updates on their activities are posted, Baptist Press said.
Livingstone, who used to be an active missionary, visits the page daily and comments regularly. She told Baptist Press, “I can’t travel very much anymore, but I like to pray. I think it does me more good than it does [the missionaries].”
CompassionNet has a prayer app which lets people access it from iPhones, iPads and Android phones as well. The APP includes videos, MP3 prayer guides and missionary blog excerpts, Baptist Press said.
The prayer site is one of the endeavors of IMB’s Office of Global Prayer Strategy. Livingstone told Baptist Press that although she uses Facebook to catch up with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of her time is spent at CompassionNet, Baptist Press said.
A review of Compassion Net’s website shows that they have a strong focus on prayer, including prayer threads, prayer requests, prayer line, KOMpray for children, prayer products, and others.
The website’s home page is filled with regular updates on the situation in Japan, but there are also sections for people around the world, healthcare connections, stories, videos and photos, among others.
Of interest is its resources section which shows, among others, a Kingdom Women Kit to show how God uses women to make himself known to unbelievers, The Camel Workshop which shows how to minister to Muslims and how to ride a camel, and the book, Unveiled at Last: Discover God’s Hidden Message from Genesis to Revelation, the website said.
But social networking, Cox said, has a special role because it serves as a way to encourage missionaries on the field. “I think the powerful thing behind Facebook, as opposed to our e-newsletters and our website, is the fact that people have the opportunity to interact,” Cox told Baptist Press.
To date, CompassionNet on Facebook has 3,100 friends, but Cox told Baptist Press that considering there are 16 million Southern Baptists, the potential is rich and largely untapped.