Human mobility and migration are closely associated with and reciprocally influenced
by globalisation. Add the relentless connectivity facilitated by the proliferation of mobile
communication and the emergence of social media to this mixture, and an emerging
new ‘glocal’ culture is evident. People are not only migrating to new localities and
territories, but simultaneously into a new culture. We are witnessing the greatest mass
migration in the history of humanity – from the real to the virtual world. It is a shift from
shared space to shared interest.
The metaphor of a river in flood has been used to describe the fact that migrant
communities are a point of convergence of some of the biggest challenges facing the
church and society at large: globalisation, hyperdiversity, interconnectedness, a
Google culture and postmodern tribalism. Culture flows like a river and the church
functions as a bridge connecting humans striving to make sense of life and Scripture
as well as the tradition transmitted over the centuries. Some of the missional
challenges will be to incarnate the gospel in this emerging culture. This study was
positioned at the convergence of two important processes – the rise of the network
society (especially social media) and migration. It took up two of the challenges posed
at Edinburgh 2010, namely to “fruitfully” integrate the role of media in modern society
into overall missiological thinking, and to think about the “call for a structural reform of
the church” to grapple with the challenges of migration.
The network society represents a profound social transformation. New
technologies deliver connectedness in the palms of our hands and social media serve
as an expression of the passion for connection, community and knowing others and
being known by others.
This research is a theoretical and missiological reflection on the role and
importance of social media such as Facebook in migrant communities. It investigated
issues such as:
• contextualisation and inculturation in a Google culture;
• the foundational role of relationships in a network society and migrant culture;
• the ability of social media to facilitate connection to the multiple cultural and
religious belongings of migrants;
• the role of social media to help migrants to find meaning through shared, self
• the role of social media in facilitating hospitality to the stranger.