Friday, July 28, 2017

Ministry in the World of Social Media

     I went into full time ministry in 2005.  When it comes to social media, it was an entirely different world then.  MySpace was the popular site and it was a bit of a big deal to choose who your "top friends" were.  Facebook was new and you had to have a university email address to use it so it wasn't nearly as easily accessible as it is now.  Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter were not even much on the radar yet if at all.  So, to connect with the world around you, it was necessary to actually go out into that world.  Email was an easy way to communicate, but folks did still send actual letters from time to time.  However, in order for people to really get to know who you were, they generally had to talk to you face to face.
     Today, it is a different story.  Now, most people (though not all people) are on some form of social media.  They use it to connect with people all around the world and it is now a necessary tool for many types of jobs...ministry included.  However, the thing about Social Media is that you have a platform from which to talk to the world...the whole world.  And our circle of influence for the Kingdom got a lot bigger.  We "like" or "share" posts we find interesting or funny.  We comment on world events.  We cheer on our favorite sports teams or promote our favorite entertainment choices.  We are pretty transparent when we are online.  And, that is a good thing...but it is also something we need to be aware of.  Because our witness can be damaged by the choices we make online.
     Now, I am not saying that we should not be authentic when we are online.  Hypocrisy is not good in any form, but when we sit behind a computer screen, sometimes the filters that we use in our real life, seem to disappear.  But living a life of Holiness, doesn't pause when we sit down at our computers.   We, as Christians, are meant to live all the parts of our lives in such a way that everything we do points people to Jesus.   Here are a few things to remember when it comes to our online witness:

     1)  Be Christlike in your online speech. 
          This is maybe the biggest thing I see online.  Can I tell you how often I have seen something that a fellow Christian has posted and been disheartened?  From politics, to sports, to family interactions, it is important to look over what you are posting and ask yourself: 
   A) Does this really need to be said?   And if it does, is this the proper forum in which to say it?
   B) Am I venting simply because someone else thinks differently than I do?
   C) How would I react if my child/grandchild/neighbor kid were talking like this about a classmate? 
   D) Is this building up the Kingdom of God?

     2)  Don't Steal
          Do you own the rights to the picture you are posting online?  If not, you are stealing.  It is very easy and inexpensive to create photo graphics for your church or blog through sites like  If you share a picture online through a share tab, that is fine...after all, that is what the share tab is for.  But if you save it to your computer, then share it as if you created it, that's not ok. You wouldn't steal it from a store, so don't steal it online either.
    3)  Do a quick social media check on yourself from time to time
         Every so often, go through the items you have posted online.  Do they reflect who you want to be?  What would your impression be if you saw those same posts on the social media account of someone else? 

    4)  Fact Check
         If you see a news article, warning, or alert about something, check it out before you share it.  There are a ton of bogus "warning" articles and lots of inaccurate news/stories out there.  Before you "share" at least check out the story on or some other fact checking site and find out if there is any truth to it. 

Living a life of Holiness is not something we turn off and on.  If we really want to be like Jesus, then we have to include our online world in that journey as well.  After all, in today's day and age, the first place someone may meet you could be online...and as they say, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."  

Until next time!

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