The world has changed. And we feel it in our homes, schools, and congregations.
We can hardly remember a time when we didn't feel the influence of that back pocket device. The average social media user spends about two-and-a-half hours a day using social media. That's more than enough time to shape our values and desires. Pastors, teachers, and parents feel their influence slipping away. We're seeing increased loneliness, disunity, and self-absorption. But where do we go from here?
In The Wolf in Their Pockets, Internet expert Chris Martin examines the many ways we are being changed by social media. With a biblically informed voice, Martin both exposes the ways the Internet is distorting our life in Christ and shows us how to faithfully respond. Martin teaches us how to care for people who are obsessed with followers, views, and likes—and how to love those whose online influences have filled them with cynicism and contempt. Martin looks at how the social Internet is changing how we understand sex and beauty—what to do about the epidemic levels of anxiety—and how to redirect our hearts to worship Jesus Christ.
Shepherding and leading people has never been easy, but the social Internet has brought new challenges. We need the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and a powerful prayer life. Martin provides the biblical wisdom, direction, and hope necessary to combat The Wolf in Their Pockets.
"We cannot avoid the fact, we cannot downplay it, we cannot even do a whole lot to change it. The fact as Chris Martin expresses it so well is that 'social media is not a fad. It's not going away. And it's arguably the most pervasive discipleship force in the world right now.' That being the case, those responsible for teaching kids to live well in this world—parents foremost, but also pastors and teachers and youth leaders—need to deliberately inform and equip themselves. I'm convinced that Chris is just the right man and The Wolf in Their Pockets is just the right book. I can't recommend this resource too highly."
Author of Seasons of Sorrow and founder, Challies.com
"I talk to pastors often, and the impact of social media on their churches is a common topic of conversation. I trust Chris Martin, and I know that this book will help all kinds of pastors, parents, and other Christian leaders lead people faithfully in an age in which social media seems to disciple people as much as Christians do."
Wheaton College; host of Moody Radio's Ed Stetzer Live
"Much has been written recently warning us about the misuse, abuse, and effects of social media—a lot of it helpful and good. I welcome Chris Martin's voice to this wake-up call. And yet, in The Wolf in Their Pockets, Martin does not merely warn us, he provides us with a simple, clear, biblical response. Parents and pastors, educators and administrators, and all concerned about the harmful effects of social media, pick up this book, read it, and implement the wise and biblical counsel offered in its pages."
—JUAN R. SANCHEZ
Senior pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, TX
"Social media is probably the most powerful force of discipleship in the average American's life. Chris Martin calls our attention to this crisis of discipleship with fantastic and practical advice on how Christian leaders can point people back to the God for whom they long."
—JUSTIN WHITMEL EARLEY
Business lawyer, speaker, and author of The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction
"There's a lot of wisdom in this book. Not just information on the impact of social media, and not just instruction on what pastors and church leaders can do to counter some of the negative effects of the social internet—but wisdom, the kind of knowledge and discernment that will help us live according to God's design for the world and His revelation to us in Scripture. Chris Martin is one of my go-to thinkers on matters related to social media and discipleship, and this book shows why."
Vice president for research and resource development at the North American Mission Board; visiting professor at Cedarville University; author of The Thrill of Orthodoxy, Rethink Your Self, and This Is Our Time
"In our social media saturated world, we need voices that speak with clarity and conviction about more than what these new technologies are doing for us; we need voices that speak compellingly about what they're doing to us. Chris Martin is such a voice, as he helps us think critically about and respond practically to 'the parade of distractions that . . . vibrates in our pockets every day.' The Wolf in Their Pockets is a book I'll be recommending to many in the months and years to come."
—JAY Y. KIM
pastor and author of Analog Christian
"This is a very helpful book, and you will want a pen in your hand as you read it because you will experience 'light bulb' or aha moments where you more clearly see the connection between your role and the cultural context surrounding us. Chris has a keen understanding of what social media has done and is doing to our souls and the souls of those we shepherd and serve. And because Chris also has a deep commitment to people being formed more into the image of Jesus, he is able to articulate how social media has impacted and heightened our responsibility as parents, leaders, and pastors to disciple the people we serve well."
Senior pastor of Mariners Church
"Media literacy is the biggest gaping hole in our discipleship, and it has been for decades. We are just now beginning to wake up to the damage this neglect has caused, and I am incredibly thankful the Lord has raised Chris Martin as a leader to begin closing that gap in our churches. The Wolf in Their Pockets excellently captures how the social internet fuels some of the most common sources of pain and division among Christians today, and what pastors, church leaders, and everyday Christians can do to respond to these problems in a constructive, hopeful way. If you want to address the problems the social internet has caused for you and your church, The Wolf in Their Pockets is the perfect place to start."
Producer of Mending Division Academy and writer/host of Breaking the Digital Spell
"Chris Martin has the incredible and timely ability to connect complex digital and psychological concepts with theology in a way that answers the 'so what?' question for Christian leaders today. It is not enough to know that our devices and our social media engagement is discipling us or even how they are discipling us personally but also how they are discipling the people we lead. In The Wolf in Their Pockets, Chris has distilled a lot of complex information in a way that's clear, compelling, and actionable for the good of God's people and those who lead them. If you've been wondering how to disciple in this digital and social media age not just in theory but in practice, The Wolf in Their Pockets is essential reading."
Pastor of Adult Ministries, Wheaton Bible Church, West Chicago, IL
"If you've realized your congregation is being discipled more by what they see on social media than your church and feel lost on what to do, The Wolf in Their Pockets is your guide. Chris Martin poignantly diagnoses the ways social media poisons our faith and prescribes timely, wise, and Christ-centered antidotes."
Writer, social media marketer at Truth Over Tribe
"This book offers helpful, actionable advice for anyone who leads others in a world that's shaped by social media. We can't afford to ignore the advice in this wise, insightful, and encouraging book. I can't wait to apply its lessons in my ministry."
Pastor of Liberty Grace Church, Toronto; author of 8 Habits for Growth
"We live in a society that simultaneously offers less personal access than ever while allowing more digital access than ever. This has caused us to be numb to the reality of virtual reality. It is here to stay no matter how much we love to hate it. I can think of no one more qualified to help us navigate the dangers of our delusions than Chris."
Speaker and founder of Through-line Cohorts
"We live in a culture that lives on social media. Reflection and thoughtful engagement seem to be absent from most users, even those in the church. This is why I am so grateful for Chris Martin. He is one of the voices helping the church reflect on social media's impact—good or bad. The Wolf in Their Pockets is such a vital tool for the church."
Author, Director of Resources for Reformed Youth Ministries (rym.org); host of The Local Youth Work Podcast; series editor for the Track series, a booklet series for student discipleship
"Big Tech pantomimes God, shepherding Christians through a digital valley of death, but never guiding them to life. Unfortunately, seminaries didn't train us for ministry in the era of pervasive digital technology. But Chris Martin fills the gap, helping leaders to understand how the social internet deforms Christians by discipling their desires, forming bad habits, and feeding them Spiritually malformative junk food (or worse). The Wolf in Their Pockets is a necessary guide for leaders seeking to train disciples in the way of Jesus, not the algorithm."
Pastor and coauthor of Truth Over Tribe
"Chris Martin targets a dimension of discipleship Christians can't afford to ignore. Continual, uncritical use of the social internet is forming us—subtly yet powerfully—in ways contrary to Jesus. Here is biblically rich guidance for recognizing and resisting these forces and helping others to do likewise. I'm grateful for such a valuable and much-needed resource for pastors, parents, teachers, and ministry leaders."
—KEITH W. PLUMMER
Dean of the School of Divinity, Cairn University
"I appreciate the faithful guide Chris Martin provides through the increasingly complex morass of the digital world. The Wolf in Their Pockets is the latest in that journey together. Chris makes a persuasive argument that those we lead—in our homes, workplaces, churches, and communities—are immersed, formed, and persuaded through the powerful force social media plays in life today. If you're looking for well informed, practical, pastoral help and a companion for the journey into the challenges of discipleship today, Chris provides both. He will equip you to more effectively assess the threats and lead those entrusted to your care in the spirit of the Good Shepherd, through the valleys and the shadows of the social internet age."