Twitter brought them (by Mike Ellis)

I connected with Mike on Twitter. I’m going be honest. I follow a bunch of people on there. If you want my attention, you have to actually talk to me directly. Which he did. (I think it was something sarcastic, which pretty much always gets my attention.) Anyway, I think Mike’s story about connecting to folks on Twitter is pretty cool. Here’s Mike:

Before I became a Tweep I had no idea that Twitter could be used as an evangelism tool. After I created my Twitter account in May of 2009 it didn’t take long to see that Twitter is chock full of Tweeps who will connect with you if you’ll take the time to find, watch, listen, engage and share with them. Tweeps on Twitter are waiting for Christ followers who will be real, authentic and transparent. What else? If you want success in Twitter evangelism you must be non-judgmental, loving and willing to connect with people that don’t believe, think, look or live like you. In my opinion we need to “love people to Jesus”. I am going to share stories about the people who come to bible studies, volunteer at the homeless ministry and go to church due to connections they’ve made with my friend, my pastor and me through Twitter.

Kelly’s Twitter name is @pagankelly. Her Twitter bio reads: “Wiccan, Wife, and Mother”. I connected with Kelly on Twitter and then had coffee with her and other Tweeps at weekly Tweetups in Daytona Beach, Florida. After a few Tweetups she eventually asked me a question, “Mike, my kids have been talking about going to church. What is the name of that church you belong to?” Kelly, her husband Jeff (@the chef_ on Twitter), daughter Teri and son Michael came to church. It was the first time that Kelly, Jeff and the kids came to church together as a family. Along with regular visits to church, they’ve attended Sunday school and volunteered their time during special events. After the connection on Twitter why did Kelly and her family come? “You knew who I was and you invited me. You knew I wasn’t a Christian and it didn’t matter”, Kelly said. Kelly sent this Twitter direct message to me today, “Thank you for being my friend.”

Christine’s (@ChristineBlake) Twitter bio is unique: “Selling drugs out of the trunk of my car”. Before you make any judgments, Christine is a pharmaceutical sales representative. Christine is Catholic and her son attends Catholic school. Due to parent concerns, her son’s school discontinued a tradition of the kids preparing and serving lunch to the homeless. It was a disappointment to Christine. She began looking for other opportunities for her son to serve the less fortunate. Prior to this Christine and I connected through Twitter but she took notice when I tweeted about the homeless ministry at my church. Christine and her son helped serve dinner several times, donated clothing and even rounded up cots for our homeless friends to sleep on. Lately I have been tweeting about a weekly bible study at my friend Russell’s home and Christine is coming. It’s the first time she has ever been to bible study. Last night she told me, “I didn’t know Methodists had bible studies. I thought only Baptists did that!” After the Twitter connection why did Christine serve the homeless and come to the bible study? “You knew I had a church and you were cool with that. I also knew you weren’t going to Jehovah witness me,” said Christine.

Elaine (@ebmk16) and I met at one of the weekly coffee Tweetups. She was attending another church not too far from mine. Elaine watched what my friend, my pastor and I were tweeting. What I didn’t know was that she was struggling to connect and get involved in the church she was attending. Elaine began to see my tweets about getting involved in the homeless ministry. One night she came to our church to serve. She took her involvement to another level when she began knitting scarves for each of our homeless friends. Soon Elaine was attending church on a weekly basis and just recently became a member. After the Twitter connection what brought Elaine to church? “You were demonstrating God on earth. You pulled me in by making it easy to get involved and connected.”

After 13 years of being away from church Twitter, Nascar and a tweeting pastor brought Dana (@Dana88) back. It was the 4th of July. Dana was watching the Pepsi 400 on TV and watching tweets on Twitter about her favorite drivers. She noticed that someone new was following her. She checked out his bio and the website listed on his Twitter page. It was Tom Nelson ( @TomForPeace) the pastor of my church. Earlier that same day I spent several hours with Tom teaching him how to use Twitter. I showed him how to intentionally find people, begin following and connecting with them. One of those people was Dana. The next day, Sunday July 5th, Dana came to church. Since last July Dana has been attending church on a weekly basis. After the Twitter connection what brought Dana back to church? “You didn’t pressure me or use fear. You shared openly and were real, “Dana said.

When Christie moved to Daytona Beach, FL she began attending a singles group at church. It wasn’t long before she was being judged about having a TV, her work schedule and the probing questions she asked about the bible. She stopped attending church. I met Christie by connecting through Twitter. Not long after that we met in person at coffee Tweetups. At the Tweetups and on Twitter, Christie heard about the homeless ministry at my church. She traveled to thrift shops and stores to round up and then donate clothes for the homeless. Christie hasn’t been to a church service yet but she plans on doing it soon. She’s been away from church since 2001. After the Twitter connection what would make her consider coming back? Christie said, “You aren’t uptight, pushy or try to put unrealistic expectations on me. You’re friendly.”

Jane (@SeeJaneSell) stopped attending church 25 years ago. I met Jane at a coffee Tweetup and didn’t see her again until she showed up at a cold weather shelter for the homeless at the church. She had a horrible day at work and saw tweets about helping at the shelter. Instead of sulking she came to serve others. The next step for Jane was attending church. She now attends church weekly. Last Sunday Jane became a member of the church. After the Twitter connection what brought Jane back to church? She said, “I felt like something was pointing me there. You weren’t pushy. You opened up your arms to me and I felt like I belonged.”

What are you doing to intentionally find, follow, connect, engage, share and reach out to people through social media?

How do you search and find people on Twitter? Click here.

Would you like to see another post I wrote on Twitter Evangelism? Click here.

What is a Tweetup? Find out by clicking here.

Mike Ellis is a messed up Christ follower. The church he writes about in this post is First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, FL. He has been working in promotion and marketing for 31 years. He is not a social media expert but he does know enough to be dangerous. You can connect with Mike through his blog and follow him on Twitter at @MarketerMikeE.

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36 Responses to “Twitter brought them (by Mike Ellis)”

  1. Sharkbait June 2, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    Twitter, in the right hands, can be a powerful force of good and beauty.

    Not unlike spray paint or dynamite.

    But that still doesn’t mean everyone should be allowed to play with it.

    Just sayin’
    .-= Sharkbait´s last blog ..Caffeinated Randomness – I can’t hear you. =-.

  2. Candy June 2, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Love these Tweetup stories – lots of hands and feet of Jesus happening there. I’ve had local ones, as well as a wonderful tweetup with a new friend when traveling to Seattle (Hi, @buzzbyannies!)though my husband feared I was meeting up with an ax murderer. All was wonderful. Rest assured, you’ll hear from me Mike – if I ever venture so far as Florida. And if you’re ever in Iowa, you know where to find me.

    Agree with Sharkie though, you have to be careful.
    .-= Candy´s last blog ..In Search of Full =-.

    • Mike Ellis June 2, 2010 at 8:48 am #

      God has compelled me to go many places but in the going I have never felt any fear. Its because of His strength and not my own.

  3. Sarah Salter June 2, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    Just awesome, Mike! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for following my Methodist preacher dad, @nealsalter. I pointed him specifically to you when I set up his Twitter account for him. And if he ever figures out how to use it, he’s gonna be a pretty awesome Twitter-vangelist! 🙂
    .-= Sarah Salter´s last blog ..Emptiness: Anna’s Story =-.

  4. Mary DeMuth June 2, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    I love this post. I love the hope! I’ve heard so many naysayers about Twitter that I began to feel guilty about my enjoyment of it. I’ve made some similar connections, though not quite as overt. Your post encourages me to slow down and see how God might be connecting me to folks. Thank you.

  5. Michael June 2, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    “I didn’t know Methodists had bible studies. I thought only Baptists did that!”

    Okay, so dude, I love the post and that statement above. That totally made me laugh because I have heard that about Nazarenes (A break off of the Methodist Movement)

    I think I’m still learning how to connect on twitter.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..Ringxiety =-.

  6. Nick the Geek June 2, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    I think this is my first time commenting on Katdish’s new blog. I need to take a moment to tell her that I like it.

    Now to Mike.

    I strongly agree with the statement “we need to love them to Jesus” but I also believe we need to be open to everything else God might call us to as well.

    I like that you don’t leave it on twitter, you move past that. You take opportunities to build relationships that lead people to Christ.

    I think most Christians figure they can love them to Jesus without actually moving past the most superficial relationship or ever mentioning Jesus. “How can they believe if they have not heard?”

    Of course, I know that you don’t live that kind of life. This is why people are challenged to change around you.

    Two thumbs up.
    .-= Nick the Geek´s last blog ..Back from the undead =-.

    • Mike Ellis June 2, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      I agree with you on this statement:

      I strongly agree with the statement “we need to love them to Jesus” but I also believe we need to be open to everything else God might call us to as well.
      .-= Mike Ellis´s last blog ..God Speaks To Me Through Pearl Jam =-.

  7. Dusty Rayburn June 2, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Awesome post. Thank you for sharing the stories and encouraging us to to connect.

    It is always amazing to see how God uses people and things for His Kingdom.
    .-= Dusty Rayburn´s last blog ..The Christian Atheist – Doubting God’s Love =-.

  8. Duane Scott June 2, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    I love this!

    I too, have many pastors following me and I follow them. Although I don’t discuss spiritual things with them much, when I get in a bind, I know that they will be receptive and helpful.

    Sometimes, I can almost feel a bit guilty because I don’t have this same relationship with my local pastors. In fact, I feel guilty now. But there is something so nice about having spiritual leaders that are first your friend, and second your confident.

    Great post and encouraging stories!
    .-= Duane Scott´s last blog ..the dark side of emptiness =-.

  9. jasonS June 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this, Mike. Challenging and so encouraging. I appreciate it!
    .-= jasonS´s last blog ..Struggling with God’s Love =-.

  10. Maureen June 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Kathy, thank you for introducing us to Mike.

    Mike, excellent post. You set an example to others, no matter which church they may be affiliated with or not, on how to create community by living the values of community. Pleased to meet you.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..A Powerful Pull (Poem) =-.

  11. Joy June 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    This is really inspiring, Mike. It’s great to read about people like you who are genuine both on and offline. Thanks!
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..Empty =-.

  12. Kathleen June 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    What Maureen said. iLike x 1000~
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Asking =-.

  13. mcProdigal June 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Thanks for a great post. I see equally encouraging stories on Twitter regularly and I’m blessed to be a part of some. I concur that social media is a great way to hook up with people and to see lives change for the better.

  14. Michelle@ Graceful June 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Hey, this is cool. I have to admit, I am not adept at using Twitter for any purpose, never mind evalgelizing. I’ve always thought of it as a social club, a bit clique-ish. I feel like a bit of an outsider on Twitter, probably because I don’t know how to use it well and am a little afraid of it. But your stories shed a new light on Twitter. That’s a lot of hope for a mere 140 characters.

    Thanks, Mike — nice to meet you here. I’m following you on Twitter now. 😉
    .-= Michelle@ Graceful´s last blog ..Red Light, Green Light =-.

  15. Helen June 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    Nice to meet you, Mike. You are doing an incredible job using the twitter to bring the love of God to people. Very inspiring. God bless you.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Vacations: A Public Service Announcement… =-.

    • Mike Ellis June 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

      God compels me to do this. If it were up to me I’d be scratching myself, grunting and living in a cave.

  16. pagankelly June 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    mike, thank you for being my friend. thank you for being there not just for me, and my family, but everyone.

    i can honestly say that i shock people twice over, once that i’m wiccan, and twice, that i go to a methodist church. you, tom, and russell are the most generous and kindest men i have met.

    twitter started as a ‘thing’ for me. a way to just say stuff that i needed to get out with out any fear of hurt feelings.

    i didn’t count on making friends. and the last thing i expected was to find a church that was comfortable with me and my beliefs.

    thank you for including my family in your blog!! i’m honored!!
    .-= pagankelly´s last blog ..pagankelly: =-.

  17. Emily June 3, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    If you ever need any assistance on Twitter let me know. 800 353 1420 Thank you for encouragement.
    .-= Mike Ellis´s last blog ..God Speaks To Me Through Pearl Jam =-.

  18. Kevin M. June 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    It is so exciting to see how God is using you Mike! May God continue to richly bless you as you live for Him! 🙂
    .-= Kevin M.´s last blog ..3 action steps to take when your blog stats drop =-.

  19. @nicolewick June 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    I loved this post. I totally agree about the power of Twitter… which I had totally underestimated before using it. I’m especially glad I has connected me with friends like you!!

  20. Amy June 6, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    Thanks for your kind words. Genuinely zany and a whole lot nuts? Thats me.
    .-= Mike Ellis´s last blog ..God Speaks To Me Through Pearl Jam =-.

  21. Bridget June 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    Awesome! Twitter can be a terrific tool if used properly. Keep up the wonderful work, Mike.
    .-= Bridget´s last blog ..Sunday…Worship =-.

  22. Andrew Rogers June 22, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    These stories are incredible. Thanks for sharing!


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