The sound of the 56k dialup modem connecting to the internet is a haunting nostalgia that past generations share and experience. The patience it required to load one photo or download a single song was not questioned—it was expected. It makes one wonder how the internet became a staple in our current time and people.
The current reality of the internet is that it is (generally) so much easier to connect with others online, especially with the rise of social media and other means. I don’t think I need to provide any statistics to prove my point. But the deeper truth is… we are so much lonelier now than we have ever been. A 2019 survey by health insurance Cigna found that 61 percent of Americans reported feeling lonely. Western society is so lonely that the United Kingdom implemented a minister for loneliness.
For my ministry, I mainly use the platform/website called Twitch.tv to live present my video game play, with a camera on my face, and I get to talk to people in live time where I am present, right there, with them.
“I have been a huge follower of (big name Video game Streamer) and I have never been called friend” is what one of my viewers recently told me.
There are many streaming platforms/websites like YouTube, Facebook gaming, Dlive, etc., but just on Twitch alone, there were 2.5 million average viewers every minute and a total of close to 2 billion hours watched… just in July.
So, Why online?
My best friend, who has Cerebral palsy and Autism, and I couldn’t connect well if it wasn’t for the online space and our common love of video games–our relationship/communication would be under constant tension because he lives all the way in Kansas. But because of the internet, we get to go on virtual problem-solving adventures together (video games) and he gets to hear me wiggle into spaces to call him and everyone watching/listening to the joyful life that is found in the wellspring of Jesus.
In Jesus’ time, the common means of communication was travel or circulatory letter, some of which we are blessed with today (gospel and epistles). Our modern form of communication is the internet. And I wonder, if circulated letters can bring forth redemption to those who heard them read, can redemption also be brought through live streaming and proclaiming to an audience who desperately needs to hear it? So here, join me friends, in using the modern letter (the internet) to call everyone to King Jesus, the Wellspring that gives refreshing life that doesn’t leave us thirsty at the end.