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Log on to Christian e-ministry part 1 – Called to be a digital disciple

Written by Phil Dinham

Being far away from home in the early days of adulthood at age 23, with an on going war and considerable change in culture at the hands of media, I easily concluded these times to be the last days of life as we knew it. I had chosen to accept and represent the message of Christ when I was 18 years old while listening to Jamaica’s first Christian Radio Love 101 FM. Soon enough I came to Miami- Ft Lauderdale, lived here for a year while attending vocational school and studying broadcasting, hoping to become a Christian DJ on radio. I had graduated successfully and returned to Jamaica and then became afflicted with manic-depression, this was after I couldn’t find a job on Jamaican radio, and became despondent. Love Fm did call me up for interview after a second application. Although it didn’t go as I wanted, they said maybe in the future they would consider me. Within months I decided to come back to the United States to attend college. Concerned about the world and what was being described as the darkest and most sinful days in history. I prayed that even though I wasn’t able to make it into Christian Radio that God would use my life to inspire and offer hope to others whom felt trapped in the darkness of the dawn of the new century.

Spiritual warfare in cyberspace
While at Vocational school I met for the first time, the super interactive communication media or super information highway called the internet. Everyone back then was hailing it as fast and fully complete better than any other media invented. I didn’t like the internet, I didn’t like computers either, I was more into showmanship and didn’t think the internet would offer me the opportunity to share my creative talent with a large audience. Make it worse I was having a hard time accepting the pitfalls of this new media. It all started when I had seen an article in the local newspaper in South Florida describing how many people were falling in love with online communication while going on the net to explore mature discourse on topics including sexuality. I was impressed with the article so I typed in the reporters recommended web site addy thinking it would be intellectual mature content which would be helpful to my development. My encounter with this site called Nerve magazine would change my life.

The site had different links in categories which included taboo sexual content. Soon enough I realised that it was short of being intellectual and was really a tunnel of darkness with advertised links to pornography. I was so frightened that I had hit a sexual fleshpot that I quickly logged off. I later discussed this with one of my radio broadcast classmates who was more familiar with the technology, who lamented that the internet was filled with smut. I couldn’t understand why everyone was hailing this as the ultimate information tool and yet a culture of sexual rendezvous was overshadowing if not lime lighting its purpose. Little did I know that porn was the biggest business on the internet.

Before my return to the USA for college, I still had dreams of participating in media communication which would help define the Christian purpose in these most difficult times. I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale for school a second time round with the dream of being able to work with a Christian organization which was involved in communicating news about the end times whether in print, on radio, TV or the internet. I knew that media communication was powerful and also knew that I wanted to not just reach a local audience but I wanted to communicate to the world. I wanted to be a Christian e-reporter or watchman, the more I began to use the internet to communicate with friends and linked to web sites I felt the special importance of net communication. I began thinking I had to take this media little by little and learn how to best use it to get out the message which God had placed on my heart. The message from God was that he was giving me the opportunity to shine the light of hope in a personal and interactive way with others on the internet. I, however, was very afraid of the tunnels of darkness which I would mistakenly surf into from time to time.

The Internet an end times battle field
The enemy has been using communication tools of media to pollute our minds and weaken our Christian resolve. From lewd and lascivious music, gambling, illegal trading, to “X” rated film and pornography on the internet, mankind’s future is being challenged by sinfulness and the temptations of the devil.

With the internet, Christians are faced with a battle ground like no other. A digital battlefield in the end times mean that we as Christians must be awake and be prepared to escape the tactics which are being deployed by the enemy. The immense changes to culture via the internet, was happening at such a fast pace. When I began praying to God and asked my savior to let me participate in Christian life online without being a hypocrite, I knew it was going to be a challenge. My Father God soon enough showed me that I couldn’t just sit back and have frivolous idle talk with folks on the net, but, I had to engage everyone in Christian discourse. I didn’t want to profess and preach scripture online without fully understanding what other brothers and sisters, believers and non believers were feeling and going through all across the planet though, so I made an attempt to do some research on the subject of online evangelizing, sure enough I found the book, “e-ministry, connecting with the net generation” by Andrew Careaga . I hadn’t attended bible school, nor did I grow up in the church. This book not only made the case for engaging young people in particular, it also spoke about Cyber church and just how Christians were well represented on the internet and making a steady attempt for evangelizing the cyber generation. I was encouraged. My heart was yearning to serve the Lord and meet and greet people while offering hope in Christ Jesus, and while reading this book I felt it didn’t take much, but, that I too was qualified for taking part in online Christian witness.

Careaga believes that because we Christians are called to relate to the world in which we live, we must understand the culture and society of our times and do all we can to influence them for Christ. He argues that the church is seeking to accomplish making disciples of men in diverse places and with peoples virtually living online no such place is more important than the internet. Jesus calls all Christians to seek out and teach believers to observe his teachings while bringing them into an intimate relationship with him. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

http://kregel.gospelcom.net/e-ministry/

About the author

Phil Dinham