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How Would Jesus Communicate?
By: Christina McMahan and Amanda C. Washington

The Bible shows us that Jesus used different ways to communicate, or share information. His communication was limited to few forms, due to lack of technology. Conversely, exchanging and sharing information in the 21st Century is the easiest it's ever been. By the stroke of a key, we can publish anything to the Internet. 

Social media sites promote this, encouraging us to post "status updates" and "check in" at locations. The average Facebook user has 130 friends, of which 50% log into their Facebook accounts every day (Facebook Statistics). With social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, the ways to connect with your family, friends, and congregation have become increasingly easier. But, with these types of communication comes lack of personal connection. 

Is the impact of our apparent lack of personal communication affecting the way we present the gospel? And, is it affecting the way the Gospel is received?

Although it might it sound trite, one of the best ways to determine how a Christian should model their methods of communication would be to ask "W.W.J.D.?"  Or, rather, how would Jesus communicate?

Types of Communication
Although there were no blogs, email, or Facebook pages in Jesus' time, there were written forms of communication. Parchment, rock, and animal skin were all used to convey messages. Permanency gave these forms their appeal. For example, one could write on parchment and save it to share with others or refer back to later. The disadvantage to this method of communication was the lack of widespread availability. Reproduction was time-consuming and susceptible to human error.

Although true mass communication was not available, one could stand atop a rock, crate, or other item to gain height and shout in an attempt amplify the voice to reach those out of immediate earshot. Several accounts in the Gospel tell of how Jesus used this particular method of communication to convey the message of Salvation. However, this was not the only method of communication that was available.

In John 8, we see that Jesus wrote on the ground before a group of Scribes and Pharisees. We are able to gather that Jesus could write, but in most of the biblical accounts, He chose to communicate by using spoken words. Just as today, the spoken word conveys a more personal message. Jesus understood that to make a personal connection, we must use the power of voice and person-to-person contact. Voice and person-to-person contact are not independent of one another, but rely on each to establish a personal relationship with others.

Establishing Personal Connections and Relationships
One of the first things Jesus did when He began His ministry on earth was to call 12 disciples, 12 men whom He would mentor. These men had the most intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus. In fact, Jesus modeled how to establish close relationships by interacting with the disciples, creating personal connections with each of them in such a way that they would go on to tell His story for all to hear.

Personal connections carry great weight in the effort to get a message across. People are much more likely to listen to those with whom they have a personal relationship, like their friends, family, and pastors. Sometimes words alone are simply not enough.

The words themselves are strong, yes, but when conveyed by voice with tone, they are magnified. Utilizing multiple senses, Jesus shared His message; he used sight, sound, and touch when speaking to people. He was compelling, and His voice gave His Word greater impact. 

Reaching Out to Those in Need
Throughout the ministry of Jesus, we are able to see His healing power; He healed many sick and crippled. We notice in the Bible that every time Jesus healed a person, He spoke. He knew that people needed to hear His voice just as much as they needed healing. 

With so many people in need of healing and salvation, Jesus used what was available to get His message out. Reaching out to people through mass communication allows you to essentially cast out a net, reaching multiple people at the same time. Just as Jesus used a rock to stand on in an effort to amplify His voice, pastors use voice messaging, text messaging, email, and Facebook to cast their nets. Jesus understood that it was imperative not to stop with the initial message and that it was just as important, if not more, to follow up with the personal touch.

The Gift and Curse of Technology
The gift of technology allows us to blend what Jesus used, voice with mass communication methods, in a much grander scale. Jesus could reach the masses by standing on a rock and shouting his message, where we can utilize technology to record a message in our voice and send it to thousands. Technology enables us to use the widespread accessibility of the Internet to communicate with people who we would never meet face-to-face, which is ultimately a gift.  The curse of technology is that it can keep us from ever having personal interaction with those we share our lives, and sometimes even our home. There must be a balance; the last thing technology should do is take the place of personal interaction.

Which brings us back to our initial question: What would Jesus do? He would use the tools available to spread His message of forgiveness and love, never forgetting the power of His voice in proclaiming a worthy message to a world in desperate need.

Christina McMahan is a client services executive with CallingPost Communications and a pastor's wife.  Amanda C. Washington, co-author, is the marketing manager for CallingPost, which provides communication services for thousands of churches across the United States and Canada, www.callingpost.com.

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