Digital discipleship

Friday, December 8, 2017
Why Facebook is my personal pulpit

I grew up feeling a bit lost in the middle—the third of six children, left-handed and with a hearing impairment. Even though I wondered what God could do with me, I remember as a seven-year-old telling Him, “Here I am, use me.” And He is.

I’m a balloon-twisting children’s pastor with a soapbox on Facebook—a digital disciple. My mother, the best disciple maker, is partly to thank. She’d read with each of us for at least 20 minutes a day. I’ve loved reading ever since—I complete a chapter of a book and a devotional each day before work. Much of the content I post on Facebook comes from this reading.

I discovered the social media and social networking service the year its Sydney office opened, and another obsession was born. Facebook is my personal pulpit. I use it to speak for those—children, in particular—whose voices are muted.

Being an advocate isn’t easy—I’ve copped flak—but often I get told, “I can’t like or comment on what you say on Facebook but you spoke into my sphere of influence, you spoke to me, you spoke to my church.” I like what Wess Stafford says. He’s the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Compassion International and the author of Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing. “I spend half my time comforting the afflicted and the other half afflicting the comfortable.”

The Bible verse Micah 6:8—“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV)—inspires me. Other creatives do, too. English Anglican cleric and theologian John Wesley had a so-called “rule of life.” It went something like this: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

This is why I do what I do, this is why I am who I am. To be honest, to be authentic, to be real, to lie straight in bed at night and know I’ve done all I can to make a difference.

Time to get off my soapbox and get on with it, again.

Gabe Reynaud Award

Pr Daron Pratt received Manifest’s Gabe Reynaud Award in 2017 for excellence in faithful creativity. Manifest is a creative arts movement celebrating faithful creativity in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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Daron Pratt

Pr Daron Pratt is Director of Family and Children’s Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in northern New South Wales.