It’s not a complicated instruction.
In Matthew 28 Jesus told his followers to, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The instruction is clear. Go everywhere. Tell everyone.
A high price
In obedience to this command the followers of Jesus have taken the Christian message to every corner of the globe. It’s a simple command but it has a price.
According to a 2021 report by Open Doors 13 Christians are martyred for their faith each day, that’s 400 every month. This is largely the result of activity in nations hostile to the Christian faith.
The nations most hostile to the Christian faith are predominantly found throughout Africa, the Middle East and in parts of Asia. Christians in the western world face different challenges but have the same command. Go everywhere. Tell everyone.
Throughout history Christians have used every tool at their disposal to proclaim the gospel. In recent times technology has enabled Christians to make their voices heard online.
Social media has changed what’s possible in terms of who we can connect and engage with. Many Christians are very active on social media and have had no trouble using online platforms to find their voice. The question is whether the proclamation of God’s good news is being drowned out by Christians sharing their COVID views.
COVID COVID COVID
Glancing at some of the posts from God’s people in the online space leads one to wonder if Jesus commanded us to go into all the world to fight vaccine passports.
We all have opinions. We all have our views on lockdown measures and vaccine mandates. Most of us feel strongly about the pandemic which has dominated the news over the past two years.
But the question needs to be asked: does the world really need your COVID opinions? Because as much as you might want to express your views, is doing so helping advance the kingdom of God? Is complaining about lockdowns helping people to hear about the hope of Jesus? Is your online resistance to the COVID vaccine helping you fulfil Jesus’ command?
Unnecessary culture wars
I wonder if the command to go everywhere and tell everyone has been lost as Christians jump online to fight unnecessary culture wars. It’s simply a fact that Australia has a very high rate of vaccine uptake. At the time of writing over 83% of Australia’s 16 and over are either partly or fully vaccinated.
When you turn your social media account into a vaccine culture war who are trying to reach? You’re preaching to a choir the size of a poetry reading. There’s already fewer unvaccinated Australians than there are Disney Plus subscribers. Unvaccinated Australians are soon set to be a club smaller than Vodaphone users, vegetarians and lefthanded people.
Your conscience might be greatly troubled by lockdowns, vaccines and authoritarian policies but are these matters of weightier significance than the good news of the gospel?
As an ambassador of the way of salvation for all humanity do you really want to make COVID grievances the major soundtrack of your online voice?
Alienating the mission field
Online ranting about COVID grievances may get you some likes but you’re likely alienating a large majority of people who follow the government restrictions and are double jabbed. Alienating people is a problem if Jesus has called you to reach them.
Remember: Go everywhere, tell everyone.
For some Christians the good news can’t be heard over the top of all the noise they’re making about COVID culture wars. Some Christians are so noisy about unnecessary topics, there’s no one left to listen to them about the topics that do matter.
Devoting all your energies and voice to non-essentials culture wars is what I call an act of EVANDALISM; You’re making a mess of the message.
Don’t miss this moment
God has called you to reach people who vote differently to you and who have different COVID views. Surely such knowledge should give us pause for thought when we share our views online. We are living through one of the most consequential times in history. A time of significant uncertainty where people are looking for hope and meaning. They don’t need your political opinions and they don’t need your COVID views.
Don’t miss this moment, people need the good news of the gospel. They need to see Jesus and nothing else.
Next time you jump on social media, maybe it’s time for you to give the COVID posting a rest and make the gospel great again.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.