Texting for Grown-Ups

May 4, 2012 by Paul Chappell

Several weeks ago, I was privileged to lead a man to the Lord for whom I had been praying for over six months. That was on a Sunday afternoon. A couple of days later, I was preaching out of state and two time zones away. I woke up early with this man on my mind, and I texted him a Scripture verse.

Less than two minutes later, I received a response. He and his wife had just been spending time in God’s Word together and were reading that very verse when he received my text.

Despite all the pitfalls of electronic communication and social networking, this story illustrates one clear benefit: immediate and edifying communication.

Fifteen years ago, I did not have a tool that would have allowed me to have this kind of immediacy in communication. I could have sent an email with the Scripture verse and let him know I was praying for him, but it is unlikely that he would have received it at the very moment he was reading the same verse.

When Spirit-filled Christians use the technological communication tools of our day, those tools can become powerful means of encouragement, edification, and spiritual influence.

In fact, my favorite person to receive a text message from is Dr. Don Sisk. Not only is Dr. Sisk an encouraging friend, but I just love the fact that at almost eighty years of age, he is texting! To the point that a new piece of technology is useful to him for ministry, Dr. Sisk is an early adapter. (It was Dr. Sisk who encouraged me to start using email a couple of decades ago—he was already doing it!)

I’m always hesitant to embrace new technology. As a pastor, my first exposure to a new mode of communication or tool of networking is often counseling people who have fallen prey to its pitfalls.

And yet, I’m thankful for the many modes of communication we have via today’s technology. Many of today’s tools allow for an immediate response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to share a Scripture verse, a testimony, or a word of encouragement.

Why then are we so prone to use the resources at our fingertips to be negative or caustic? When we make social media about self-promotion or our personal channel to get a load off our chest, we let opportunities for God slip right through our fingers. Literally.

If you use and enjoy social media tools, look for ways to make them centered on promoting Christ, encouraging Christians, and uplifting God’s Word.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.—Ephesians 4:29

Perhaps we should think of social media as a channel of grace—our opportunity to “minister grace unto the hearers.”


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