Open Invitations

My friend Kyle Goen recently posted about his experience using the internet to meet people in Belgium. I’m proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone (even further) in order to build relationships with people in Belgium.

The concept is simple: lots of people are using the web to meet people. Sure, many (most?) of them are not looking for platonic, Christ-centered relationships. Some are, but don’t know it yet. Skydivers, moms, coffee enthusiasts, and Abba tribute bands are looking for others who share their interests. Many are simply out to find a friend. Forums, message boards, and social networking sites across the internet are full of open invitations to personal relationships. The opportunity for ministry is tremendous.

Kyle used meetup.com to start his own group. Dozens of people responded. Eight showed up to the fist meetup. He admits that he wasn’t initially a fan of the idea. It wasn’t long ago that only perverts and nerds met people online. You often hear about predators, scammers, and worse lurking around on social sites. It turns out that the virtual world, like the real world, is not safe.

We were never promised safety. In fact, we have been sent like sheep among wolves. So be smart. Be courageous. Never go alone, even (especially?) into cyberspace. Don’t give out too much personal information. Communicate well in order to establish expectations. Lead with Jesus, He’s a great filter. Love whomever God brings you.

It’s funny- “meeting people” is often cited as the biggest challenge to mission and ministry around the world. Yet there are meetup opportunities in your city today. Why not take people up on their open invitations?

About E. Goodman

Ernest Goodman is a missiologist, writer, teacher, and communications strategist.