Social Media: 3 Important Concepts
A few years ago I attended a social media conference held online. It was drilled into us over and over that social media was all about 3 key concepts. As I thought about these areas of social media as a Christian, they made perfect sense. Here is an overview of the three and how you can use them to reach out for the Lord….
1. Social Media is About Relationships
We have already entered a new era of relationships. In the western world it’s rare that someone grows up in an isolated location with just a handful of friends around them. The goal now is to find, build and maintain many different forms of relationships through personal contact and social media.
I have personally communicated with numerous people for business and personal reasons through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and chat (MSN, Google Talk and Skype). I have located and hired many contractors through all of these various methods. Just recently I Skyped with a person in Halifax, Nova Scotia (from Niagara, Ontario) to discuss some business opportunities. A few of my main developers live in the Netherlands.
There are different kinds of relationships being formed which can greatly expand our area of service for the Lord and our outreach. Some friendships are casual and go no further than just observation (such as on Facebook or Twitter). Some relationships are online only and exist to keep up with what’s going on in their lives.
Other relationships, however, once established online can grow very deep and even last for a lifetime (and some even find spouses online– but that’s another story).
Social media tools can be the perfect way to jump in and offer the hope of Christ. One of the ladies in our assembly noticed a girl on Facebook, who she didn’t know very well (one of those very casual relationships), was coping with loneliness and depression. A timely word of hope and encouragement was sent that could very well have ministered to her in a deep and profound way.
That simple contact would never have happened without the means of social media. Many Christians are effectively using these new tools to witness and share Christ with people they would otherwise have never met.
While there are obvious dangers and concerns with the internet, the careful Christian can harness the power of the internet to present the Gospel and build up fellow saints.
2. Social Media is About Transparency
So this is a buzz word these days but it’s one that I really like and find applicable. To put it another way, “Be real“. It’s easy to hide behind the walls of the internet, but for those who are willing to be themselves and open up they can make a profound impact on those they build relationships with.
Of course, we need to have wisdom and discernment not to show our “moments” when Christ is not honored. But being open and honest is the best way to gain their trust and open doors to allow the Lord to use you. The more honest you are, the easier it will be to affect someone’s life.
This also applies to every area of life. Being fake builds walls and creates a barrier to meaningful relationships. The point is, be yourself and let others see Christ in you.
3. Social Media is About Abundant Communication
It’s a bit strange to add this concept here but social media is not just about the transfer of information (or the Gospel) to as many people as possible. It’s about generating 2-way conversations that have a specific purpose and goal. Be ready to respond to issues that are presented so that you can share the Lord. After all, He is the answer to all the problems people are facing.
Social media has given us many opportunities as a Christian to be active in serving the Lord and spreading the Gospel. There are so many ways to engage. I hope you will explore some of these tools and start connecting with the billions online to win them for Christ.
Have you used social media to reach out to the world with the message of God’s Good News? Let us know what tools you have found to be helpful in a comment.
Disclaimer: The internet is a place of many dangers and great care needs to be taken to ensure that you and your family are kept from the many pitfalls that exist. We in no way recommend a careless attitude towards these dangers. With the proper measures in place the internet can be a powerful tools for evangelism and encouragement within the Church.