By Luke Holmes
I had a conversation with another pastor about two church members of my church who were fighting on Facebook. He lectured me a little about the need to be careful with social media.
He’s 30 years or so older than me and told me “That is why I’m not friends with young people on Facebook; they just don’t know how to control themselves.”
What he didn’t know was that the two church members at odds with one another on a public forum were a 75-year-old and an 85-year-old.
The world of social media is difficult for almost everyone to navigate. Even for “digital natives” the rules change so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with—figuring out how to handle conflict, differing opinions, and even threats on social media.
The world we live in is increasingly divided, and it’s easiest to see those divisions online. There are many ways a person can get in trouble online, and social media often makes it all worse. But there are also many advantages to sharing online; social media can be a blessing instead of a burden.
Paul gives an admonition to the church in Colossians to “set their minds on things above,” and social media can be a tool that you can use to help others do that.
Jesus’ command to go and make disciples made no provision for the which methods to use to do that.
Social media can be a valuable addition to other discipleship methods. It even allows us to have a presence with those we wouldn’t otherwise.
Social media is often the first thing people check in the morning. For most it’s a habit, one done without even thinking.
If we know we are to start out our day in God’s word, but we know that most of our friends, family, and fellow church members are going to check Facebook first, how can we work to combine the two?
Social media and God’s Word could not be farther apart, except for the fact that it enables us to put Scripture in front of people in ways we never could have a few years ago.
Sharing a Bible verse instead of your thoughts on last night’s game is a good way to help people focus on things above.
Sharing short clips from sermons, songs you sing in church, or quotes from different people are all great ways to help people turn their mind off the world and onto God.
It’s also a way to introduce people to writers, thinkers, musicians, and theologians that they would never have heard of otherwise.
Social media can be a tool to broaden people’s mind instead of just narrowing their viewpoint to one side of the facts. Here are some ways you can share positive things to help encourage people in their walk with God.
1. Share a verse from you quiet time in the morning.
Don’t spend 20 minutes getting the right shot of your coffee and open Bible through the right filter, just type in the verse and share it.
Many people won’t reach for a Bible in the morning, but they’ll reach for their phone, so do what you can to make sure they see something that edifies.
Don’t make a big scene about how God showed up in your quiet time. Just let the power of God’s Word speak for itself.
2. Share something that challenges.
A verse is good, but easy to scroll by. Share something that makes them think, that challenges the heart and the head, and shares the gospel.
3. Share something you’re thankful for.
Social media is often full of negativity, so share about a blessing in life you’re thankful for. Or better yet, share with someone in particular how you’re thankful for their life and witness.
4. Share a song that edifies and glorifies Jesus.
What you hear first in the morning often sticks in your head all day. When you share that worship song you can help place God’s word in someone else’s mind all day.
Go and find a version of the song and share it first thing in the morning.
Let me be clear: Sharing spiritual growth content on social media isn’t a substitute for real-life, face-to-face, in-person discipleship. Don’t share a verse and think you’re fulfilling God’s commands.
Social media is an additional way to get God’s word in front of God’s people. I’m not saying you shouldn’t share your thoughts on last night’s game. But be intentional about your social media use.
Social media can be a gift and a tool to continually put Christ in front of friends and family. Use it wisely.
LUKE HOLMES (@lukeholmes) is husband to Sara, father to three young girls, and pastor at First Baptist Church Tishomingo, Oklahoma, since 2011. He’s a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and can be found online at LukeAHolmes.com.