Reaching The Online Generation

An Initiative of CityTeam Ministries

Struggling with Pioneer Ministry

Posted on | April 28, 2009 |

When you get into any type of pioneer ministry (as most of my readers are, so you’ll understand), you find that you battle two groups of people constantly - 1.  Satan and his demons, 2. Christians.  Frankly, the attacks from Satan are easier to bear, because they are expected.  The attacks from Christians, on the otherhand, always surprise me.  Maybe they shouldn’t, but I don’t want to get to the point where I’m so cynical that encouragement from Christians surprises me.

So, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.  I’ve been patronized and patted on the head by Christian ministries.  I’ve heard the snickers about some of my ideas.  And, to tell the truth, it hurts.

Yes, some great things happened the last couple of weeks, but today I’m feeling the weight of disappointment in people who should be my brothers and sisters.  And that is a really heavy weight.

And a bit of anger.  I clearly heard God call me to reach the lost through the internet.  I know it with all my heart.  When they laugh at what I’m doing, they laugh at the God who called me to do it.  When they patronize me, I feel they patronize the Creator of the Universe.  And that burns me up inside.

I’ve been talking with God quite a bit, asking Him for help and encouragement.  These Scriptures came to mind:

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”   Luke 19:10

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  John 20:21  

God reminded me of four things:

Seek

God wants me to seek the lost.  This is why I get on the internet every day.  It’s why I spend time learning social media, Second Life, and World of Warcraft.  For me, it’s not about play.  For me, it’s not about whether real community can happen online or not.  For me, it is simply about seeking the lost.  The lost are on the internet.  I can talk to millions of people around the world who don’t know Jesus without ever leaving my living room.  If I’m to seek them, I have to be on the internet.  It really is that simple for me.  I just have to be obedient.

Serve

God wants me to serve the lost.  He wants me to listen to them, meet their needs, and show them His love.  I have this great listening device - called the internet - and people are crying out for help all day long.  And my King has said to meet their needs.

Once again, it’s that simple.

Save

This is about life and death!  I don’t care if it isn’t P.C. to say that people need saving.  I needed it!  I need it! I am saved by grace!

 How can I keep that to myself?

Sent

Jesus left heaven to save people that had rejected Him and would reject Him again.  I’m not sure we have any excuse big enough to get around the mandate, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

We are the “Sent Ones.”  Think about that for a minute.  Talk about purpose.

Anyway, God used this post to encourage me to stay true to what He called me to do.  I am created to reach the lost through the internet.  As far as I can tell, unless my King tells me otherwise, I will do it to the day I die.

It’s all about Jesus, and He is all about the Lost.

And so am I.

How about you?

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Comments

10 Responses to “Struggling with Pioneer Ministry”

  1. Brandon Donaldson
    April 28th, 2009 @ 11:22 am

    Paul, be encouraged! I just came to your site today looking at the summer missions program. Man, I love that, and I love what you are doing. Then lo and behold I caught this latest post. I came to your site because I was excited about your call online.

    Thanks for your unwavering passion for the Word of God. Thanks for your wisdom and drive to do only what lines up with scripture for the glory of God. Thanks for stepping up to the call God has for you. Now if everyone would focus on just that - their calling, we will see some big things for the kingdom of God. God bless, brother!

  2. Paul
    April 28th, 2009 @ 11:24 am

    Thanks, Brandon. That means a lot! I appreciate it.
    -Paul.

  3. Katy
    April 28th, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    Paul, thanks so much for posting this. I was very moved by it. I appreciate your openness in sharing the struggles and feelings you’ve had as you’ve begun this movement. I would love to go bop some people on the head for giving you a hard time about it, but that’s another matter entirely. I pray for you, particularly now for encouragement and strength as you pursue this calling. I believe very strongly it is a calling, and like most ground-breaking, Spirit-led visions, it is (unfortunately) rarely understood or supported on a large scale right away. I was also inspired and moved by the verses and four points God gave you. You are clearly called to this, and I believe your obedience and desire to honor God will be rewarded. May He grant you courage and peace and joy as you pursue the great task He has given you, with enough results to keep you going and eyes of faith to see the unseen fruit. Bless you for your passion and vision, and for sharing that with those you bring alongside you.

  4. Paul
    April 28th, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

    Thanks, Katy! You and the other online summer missionaries are always an encouragement to me!
    -Paul.

  5. Nathan Edwards
    April 28th, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

    The church has many good tactics for getting rid of passion… usually accompanied by the phrase… “we love your passion but…”

    I haven’t really read much of your stuff… but you have great vision, run with it… The internet needs more christians… It’s hard to run against the grain with the way the internet is going (I’ve found that with http://j516.com) but it’s a harvest waiting to be picked

  6. Brian Vasil
    April 28th, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

    Paul… I LOVE this post…the transparency and the heart in it is so genuine…

    As someone on the front lines digitally with you, I share your passion and your frustration. There have been so many people before us who have tried a new way to reach people for Christ and have been told “we don’t do it that way.”

    Be strong and take courage… Online ministry is real ministry. Online community is real community. Salvations are happening…people are growing…the world is connecting…one login at a time.

    Don’t be discouraged..there are many people with your same call who are praying for you…and with you.

    I am one of them. Blessings to you and your ministry.

    Brian

  7. John King
    April 29th, 2009 @ 10:39 am

    Paul,

    One of the guys I disciple in jail wept tears of discouragment this morning. He’s feeling lonely because of some verbal abuse he’s taking over starting a Bible study group and doing Prayer Call every night. He also found out he will be in 90 days longer than he had anticipated.

    I took him to Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a gret cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not lose heart.”

    There is a crazy line in there–”for the joy set before him endured the cross.” Remember the joy God’s calling has set before you. Focus on the dream of online faith communities reproducing online faith communities. Claim God’s promise to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). Keep on keeping on!

    He is able! We will march through hell for the joy set before us. Let these disappointments in people re-focus your gaze on Jesus. He’s at the finish line cheering you on!

    Your brother,
    John King

  8. Anglican Bible Study in Second Life
    April 29th, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

    You’re nuts.

    The lot of you.

  9. Paul
    April 29th, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

    Yes. We are exactly that! And so are you, by the way. I love working with you in Second Life.

    Be blessed!
    -Paul.

  10. Anglican Bible Study in Second Life
    April 29th, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    [ as to the above, please note who posted it ]

    nb - I saw one guy who was posting very silly things regarding a mention of the great stuff you’re doing, Paul, someone who apparently has issues with the thought that God is interested in redeeming His children - anyways, please be assured, my friend, that this guy tends to use the word “Anglicans” when he quite possibly means, “a tiny group of Episcopalians who tend to confuse Christology with Crystalogy.” We Anglicans DO believe in salvation. Doh.

    That’s one of the especially challenging things about this, btw. Not only do we deal with skepticism & patronizing remarks from those who don’t understand - our field also attracts a lot more - persons of flamboyant opinion - than most - and we have to field their concerns as well.

    I loved the way you responded to the guy, you showed a lot of class, more than I usually do.

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    Who is God?' was one of the top three sentences googled in 2007, according to Google Zeitgeist. According to Alexa, the top two religious websites are Muslim, with BibleGateway coming in at a close third. The Online Generation is spiritual. They are seeking. And the church is the last place they would go to find spiritual fulfillment. This site is dedicated to those walking with The Online Generation and living lives of obedience to all the commands of Jesus Christ.
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