UBC Mission Stories Shared Through Global Village
Billions of minutes are spent each year on Facebook. Sites like Myspace and YouTube use the lure of videos to draw in millions of visitors. And reality shows have taken over the television airwaves, captivating audiences and turning average, unknown people into household names.
Over the past few years, a trend has emerged that illustrates human beings’ innate desire to know everything about everyone - right now.
“There are positives and negatives about technology and people’s fascination and thirst for instant knowledge,” said UBC Campus Pastor Tyson Beesley. “We’re on the cutting edge of technology and this is an opportunity that just wasn’t around years ago.”
Beesley, who helps to lead University Christian Ministry, a student club at the University of British Columbia (UBC) that is overseen by BC Campus Ministries, has joined dozens of other missionaries who are using the rising popularity of social media to spread God’s word.
Thisglobalvillage.com was launched in the summer of 2010, and the site uses videos, blogs, text messages, and photos to instantly and constantly connect missionaries with supporters, donors, organizations, and anyone who is interested in experiencing raw, uncut stories from the mission field.
Think of it as reality TV for Christians: using real people telling real, undiluted, and timely stories, thisglobalvillage.com allows contributors to share their experiences, motivates and inspires prayers and donations, and encourages online visitors to make a difference in the world through awareness, accessibility, and authenticity.
Beesley joined Global Village at the start of the school year and posting under Tyson @ UBC, has been using everything from poems, stories, and text messages, to videos and amusing photos to challenge visitors, make them laugh, and move them towards a deepening relationship with Jesus.
What is most exciting for Beesley is the opportunity to share what is happening with young Christians at UBC with the rest of the world.
“I see UBC as a missionary field,” said Beesley, a 27-year-old University of the Fraser Valley grad who has been serving on the UBC campus for two years. “It may not be as romantic as going to a place like Africa, but there is a need in our backyard. A lot of people have no understanding of what the Christian message is, and there is a lot of misinformation about who Jesus is. We are making Christianity and the person of Jesus known: who he is, what he did.”
Using Global Village not only provides Beesley with an opportunity to get involved and tell the stories of what God is doing in the hearts and minds of students, it has changed the way he works: “The classic way of informing supporters and people praying for you is to send letters and mail things. Now with technology, they love to hear what’s going on day to day. I’ll write a quick text and post it to the Global Village site and my subscribers get it almost instantaneously in their email.”
“Before, I would have to sit down, remember what I wanted to talk about, piece it all together into a letter or news update,” he said. “Now it’s nice because I can spend five or ten minutes on a quick message, and have time to do other hands-on things where they are needed.”
“People love to see videos,” Beesley added, and the multi-media approach of Global Village presents everyone with a fuller picture. “It’s giving people a better understanding of what the job looks like. It shows the climate of the ministry and what people are talking about.”
“The world has become a very technological place,” said Beesley, who has numerous “champions,” including friends, family, students, and real-life supporters who follow him on Global Village, but would like to see the growth of a world-wide audience.
“I would love to see people subscribing across the globe, who have the passion to pray for and support me,” he said. “I love the idea of people following my ministry, but the heart of it is we are all learning about what God is doing.”
“It’s all one story: the bigger story of God. Thanks to thisglobalvillage.com, we’re hearing the different chapters and that is exciting.”