Witness Online vs Face to Face

With the  invention of the internet, chat rooms, Blogs, Facebook, Skype,  and other social media, sharing your faith can be done in a variety of ways including,  not the least of which, still face to face.  I’m not here to stir the debate whether sharing the gospel online is better or worse than sharing it in person.  I view it like missions both near and far, both need to be done, the more you can do to share the Gospel in any way is good.   If you have access to a computer and feel confident in using it to talk with others about what you believe, go for it!  What I do want to point out is the differences between the too and also caution you about over the computer sharing.

BODY LANGUAGE & EMOTION:
When you talk with someone face to face you can look them in the eyes, change the inflection of your voice, body language.  It is easy for you to show someone you really care for them.  You have taken time to visit them, or perhaps give time out of your day.  The old adage that, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” is true.   When you are talking to someone online, there is a loss of body language, emotion, and depending on of you are using Skype or some other video program your voice.  You also have to be careful how you type.  For example, TYPING IN ALL CAPS CAN GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE YELLING, to many young people online.  Depending on your grammar usage,  it may also be hard to understand what someone types out.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS:
Building relationships is key in sharing your faith with others.  Often times it will take many conversations with people to get them to understand or trust your worldview.  Relationships can be built both in person and online.  I do believe that they can be built faster in person.

ONLINE INFORMATION:
As you talk to people online one of the advantages is that you can have a lot of information at your fingertips from your personal collection of notes to websites that hold endless amounts of information.  As you may have already discovered, not everything on the internet is true.   I wish  I had a nickel for every time I see a Facebook post telling me to click here if  I don’t want to have to pay for Facebook.  It is so easy to put things online today.  It is also much easier for people to write blogs and articles online rather than in an actual book that can be examined closer by more people.   Knowing your information is key to catching lies and false information on both your view and others.

CUT AND PASTE MEMORY:
How many of your good friends or family members cell phones do you have memorized?  Not many I bet.  Thanks to the great inventions of cell phones, contact lists, and other electronic devices studies have shown that we are not using our minds like we used to use them.  With everything now digital you don’t have to remember many things because most likely you have them in your pocket or on your computer.  Cut and Paste is a great time-saving feature, but it also has its negatives as well.  We might not memorize scriptures as much, if we can just cut and paste them from our favorite website.  The same is true of arguments of apologetics as well.

You also run the risk of overloading the person you are talking with too much information.  You can cut and paste so much information that it can become a turn off, that no one wants to read.  (That’s why  I try to keep these blogs short, easier said than done.)  If you are a slow typist you will also run the risk of losing people’s interests also.

CLOSING THE DEAL:
As you talk to people and began to show them the evidence behind your worldview or beliefs.  You may bring them to a point where they become frustrated and just log off the internet.  While someone can do this in person, it is harder to walk away from a live person.

Got any other ideas or examples that you want to add?  As always, questions, comments, and discussions welcome.  Online or face to face, if you know where to find me.

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