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BY Matthew Warner
You don’t have to have any technical expertise or a theology degree to evangelize online. Just like in the offline world, God can powerfully use any of His creatures to reach people. Life and love on the digital continent is no different in this regard.
But upon entering this technologically intimidating mission field, where the rules are continually being written, it can be difficult to know where to begin. There is good news.
You don’t need a blog. You don’t need a lot of followers. You don’t need a national audience. You don’t have to have a website. You don’t have to come up with any great big idea. None of these are barriers to entry.
Don’t get me wrong. We desperately need Catholics with technical expertise on this mission. And we certainly need our spiritual leaders. But they are only one part of the Body. The rest of the Body has a different, and in some ways more important, roll to play.
Here are 3 things that any Catholic can do to serve this great need in the Church online:
1) Participate - As I mentioned above, you don’t have to be the blogger. You don’t have to manage the website or build a social media mashup. Just read them. Use them. Comment on them. Be present. Be the voice of Truth. Catholics must be fully engaged out there on every front. Somebody has to represent the Catholic voice. And our leaders can only speak so loudly. It is up to us to do the rest.
All a light must do to destroy darkness is to shine. Just shine. Lovingly and humbly speak what you know to be true. Be honest about what you aren’t sure about. The Truth will speak for itself, even if it is just the little tiny bit that you know. Share it. When you have God, your five loaves and two fish are more than enough. Just give Him something to work with.
2) Share - We don’t all need to produce a life-changing book, an insightful article or a thought provoking website. But we do all need to share such things with others. Follow your favorite Catholic Fan Pages on Facebook. Share their posts on your wall. Encourage others to share them, too. Pass them along.
That’s what I do a lot with my Facebook Fan Page and blog: I simply pass along good stuff others have passed along to me. Same thing with Twitter. RT (ReTweet) the things you like. Email-forward links you like to those in your address book. Pass them along to your parish leaders. Put them in your status messages. Bookmark them to reference later. Link to them from your parish websites. Just use them. There is so much amazing Catholic content out there. Now we need to share it with the world.
3) Love your neighbor - With the latest social media technology, it’s easy to reach people all over the world. That’s a powerful thing. But in the process it also makes it that much easier to ignore or step on those who are closest to us. Don’t forget about these people. You personally know them. Maybe you went to school with them. You may be a friend of a friend. They may be family. And you are in a position to reach them where Chesterton, Mother Teresa, Scott Hahn, Pope Benedict or your parish priest cannot. Every person in your life is a gift. An opportunity. A blessing. Don’t waste it.
If everyone took care of loving the ten people closest to them, the world would be a much better place. So don’t worry too much about how many people you reach. Focus more on reaching the right ones. Don’t miss that person God places in front of you today. Perhaps the greatest benefit of social media is that it gives greater opportunity to love your neighbor.
Mother Teresa said “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” If we all do these small things with great love, God will change the world through us.