Utilizing the internet as a potential tool to spiritually nurture Christian young adults in Hyderabad, India
Kollabathula, Jesin Israel
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In the New Testament, Paul’s missionary commitment for nurturing the believers is directly demonstrated by the existence of the letters that he wrote. Paul’s ministry was significant because he ministered to his congregations both when he was present with them as well as when physically separated from them. When present, he personally nurtured their faith but when separated, he wrote letters and sent them through his messengers. As Paul exerted his spiritual influence through his written Epistles delivered over the Roman road system of the 1st century, youth leaders and church administrators can exert similar spiritual influence bi-directionally using the Internet in the 21st century. Exploring the history of the Christian church in general, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular, reveal the use of media-based communication through the printing press, radio, television, and satellite to fulfill the great commission of Jesus Christ. It also revealed that the ministry through the old and traditional means always continued while new means and methods were added. This shows that using the Internet for spiritual purposes in the 21st century is acceptable, legitimate, and necessary. This research examined the perceptions of 263 young adults, 6 youth leaders, and 15 church administrators in Hyderabad, India. The results of the survey showed that 95 percent of the respondents were using the Internet. The pattern of Internet use per day showed that more than 50 percent of their time spent online was for email, social networking and chatting which indicated that the Internet is being used as a good tool for building relationships regardless of educational attainment, gender, age, and marital status. The older and married respondents showed higher perceptions than the young and the single about the use of Internet for personal spiritual growth and as a tool to share their faith with others. This study recommends that seminars and workshops be conducted to create awareness, clear misconceptions, and to furnish ideas about the responsible use of the Internet as one of the potential tools for nurturing the spirituality of the young adults.