Netflix and Missions

Yesterday I read Rachel Kleppen’s article in Christianity Today entitled, Netflix Is Making It Harder to Be a Missionary. Kleppen is a missionary in Taipei, Taiwan and the article was and focused on how the internet and social media (among other advances) make being a missionary challenging. There was a lot of great stuff in […]

by bob

Sep 14, 2019

Yesterday I read Rachel Kleppen’s article in Christianity Today entitled, Netflix Is Making It Harder to Be a Missionary. Kleppen is a missionary in Taipei, Taiwan and the article was and focused on how the internet and social media (among other advances) make being a missionary challenging.

There was a lot of great stuff in the article and I want to use it as a jumping off point to share a number of things I’ve been working through since our family landed in Ireland 7 years ago. If you haven’t read it, I invite you to do that before reading any further. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The article has started a bunch of thoughts and ideas bouncing around in my head. I won’t get to them all in one post, but I do want to share a few of them over the next week or so. However, I need to start with my one frustration and get it out of the way…

Let me say at the start that I in no way take issue, with anything Kleppen wrote. Again, I thought it was a great article on an important topic. That said, I do want to challenge the title of the article “Netflix Is Making It Harder to Be a Missionary.”

Netflix is not making it harder to be a missionary.

Netflix and social media are a new challenges that missionaries face. In many ways they present challenges…but they also provide opportunities. Since Netflix is ubiquitous, it can serve as a point of connection and a conversation starter, and even an opportunity to discuss spiritual themes in some of the shows.

While I found the headline frustrating, I assume that as with newspapers, the writer didn’t write the headline. There was nowhere in the article where Kleppen indicated she views missions today as harder. In fact she points out that there were some things that previous generations had to go through that we don’t. Sadly headlines often have far more weight than they should.

The Apostle Paul shared the gospel in a Gentile world that had never heard of Jesus…and as he wrote, it was often seen as foolishness. We share the gospel in a world that believes they already know all there is to know about Jesus, and can point to some pretty horrific things people have done in his name.

We can agree they are very different challenges without getting into which is harder.

So clearly I can learn a lot from what Paul did and said. But I have to take his context and mine in to consideration. We simply have different challenges (one of my challenges being that I am not Paul).

Like I said…there was a lot in the article that got my brain moving…I’ll share more soon. But for now, I need to do some enculturating and watch the All-Ireland! (Up the Dubs!)

What about…

I grew up in Western New York and have started and led missional church planting efforts for a little over 30 years. As you might gather, I have opinions about the church, and I share some of them here.

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