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Facebook as a Mission Field
CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA Why Facebook Realy Could Be the New Mission Field
After ten years of sharing pictures, updating statuses, Liking posts, and  redefining Friends, Facebook has gained a broad international user base.  If you're a Facebook user–which you very likely are, have you ever considered  using it to reach people with the Gospel?  Reach Beyond thinks it's a great idea and tweeted about it in reference to an  article by Joshua Project. The article, inspired by Laura Krokos, details how to take out an ad that will  connect users of Facebook to ministry resources they would never otherwise see.  This concept fits Reach Beyond's Manifesto to reach the unreached which states, in  part: "We refuse to stand idly by as people enter eternity without Christ when we can  share the Good News that transforms them through the media they use.  "We will leverage, to the best of our ability, God's gift of media and medical  technology to reveal His eternal wisdom to those who have never heard the name of  Jesus. "We will employ every resource, talent, and ounce of energy God  gives us to shine the light of His grace into the darkest recesses of the  planet."  How appropriately that manifesto aligns with the idea of using  Facebook as a resource for lost people. And according to extensive  research done both in America and Globally, it has great potential.  PEW Research Center reported earlier this year that 57% of adults  in America use Facebook, and the half of those that don't use it live with  somebody does. 73% of Americans ages 12-17 are on Facebook.  Each of these Facebook users reaches an incredible amount of  "friends." The networking is huge. For example, users age 18-29 have a  median Friend count of 300.  And that's just in America.  Started in America in 2004 as a way to connect college kids, it only  took two years for Facebook to go global. Already in 2011 Huffington  Post was reporting that 75% of users lived outside of the United States.  PEW's research backs this up.  In 2012, they indicated that in many countries, about half of the  population used Facebook and other social networking sites. The  increase in social-network interest coincides with greater accessibility to  cell phones and internet.  What's even more interesting is that many low-income populations  are especially involved with networking, and once they get internet  access, they are connected to social media.  And get this: based on a poll of 21 countries in 2012, 14% of users  were using social media to discuss religion.That may not seem like a lot,  but some Arab countries were rated for religious use as high as 63%.  As of this year, PEW finds that even in emerging countries, as they  gain greater access to internet communication devices, there is a  heightened interest in social media. It's become part of their everyday life.  Countries like Egypt, Russia, the Philippines, and Tunisia have just  under 90% of their internet users involved in social networking.  Of 22 emerging and developing countries surveyed by PEW, a  median 43% of internet users share religious views on social media sites  like Facebook. This is most popular in the Middle East.  This is why linking Facebook to evangelistic resources is such a  good idea: it connects ministries with people in need, just like that.  Even in emerging countries where internet usage is low, there are  people around who speak their language who are on Facebook and who  can pass the word along.  Many ministries, like The Chuch Guide offer resources that help  people understand the Gospel and know who Jesus is. However, there  are so many people in need who don't even know they exist.