Pastor's Blog

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A Christian's Guide to Social Media - Facebook (Part 1)

A Christian's Guide to Social Media - Facebook (Part 1)

Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny) How many of those come from people who claim to love Jesus and how many of those actually honor Him? From my research… Christians need some help.

 

THE DAILY ROUTINE

It’s another morning. So, I wake up, take the kids to school and then head to the office. Now it’s time for an extended time of personal Bible study and prayer (on the days when I have my priorities in order) and a nice big cup of coffee (which is the third spiritual discipline I try to keep on the regular). Time for the daily check-in.

Phone messages — Check!

Text messages - Check!

Email — Check!

Now to do a quick social media check and then my day can really begin.

While a lot of folks shoot right over to Facebook, I’m a Twitter guy (which when you say it out-loud sounds really goofy), so I check my personal Twitter account, I check the church account that I manage, and now it’s off to Facebook (you can’t avoid it forever).

Here is where my morning typically gets derailed.

 

A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP

No, it’s not because I enjoy Facebook stalking people that I went to high school with and, frankly, I don’t have strong feelings about whoever’s kid did whatever silly, sweet or disgusting thing. I’m also not a huge fan of funny pet videos (I know that this makes it seem like I’m dead inside).

None of those things throw me off my day. Instead, without even scrolling down on my news feed, at least twice a week I will come across some status update from a professing Christian that knocks the wind out of me, breaks my heart and makes me want to respond with a rant about turning on your brain before you turn on your phone or computer.

Now, I never actually go through with the rant on Facebook (although, if my office walls could talk they would beg you for some noise reduction panels), but the idea that these posts are visible and accessible to the general public and may shape people’s opinions about God or Christianity… it gets to me!

Sometimes these posts force me into an immediate season of prayer. Other times I have to get up and walk around or I need to call my wife so she can distract me with a story about the antics of my children. Then, of course, there are those times that I write blogs and post them online.

Needless to say, as a Christian and a Pastor I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love how I get to engage and connect with people. I hate that Facebook doesn’t have a stupidity or bad theology filter.

 

WHAT YOUR STATUS SAYS ABOUT YOU

Listen, I know that Facebook is supposed to be a fun site that people can go on to disengage from life. I get why most of the important and socially conscious posts or the deep thinking status updates receive fewer likes and shares than a sneezing panda (I don’t understand it, but I get it). I’m not advocating that this change.

Instead, I’d simply like to suggest that whatever you post on social media has implications and may effect your testimony as a Christian and even what people think of you in general. What you post actually matters.

So, for those who use Facebook primarily for recipe swapping, keeping up with family, sharing silly videos, cheering on your favorite team and so on—more power to you! If you don’t have any intention of using Facebook as a platform for opinion, or for letting your voice be heard concerning Jesus or other topics, then feel free to ignore what follows and go have fun!

If, however, you are going to use your “wall” to address religion, politics, world events, business, social issues, etc., then please consider the following:

 

10 Rules for the Christian who wishes to use Facebook to make much of Jesus:

  1. Pray before you post. I know, I know… we pastors are always telling people to pray. Honestly, it’s like we have some sort of bee in our bonnet about prayer and stuff. I think it’s probably a conspiracy… shhh… don’t tell anybody… we’re trying to get you to talk to God more. A quick prayer for wisdom and for God to be glorified in and through you sets your mind right and reorients your perspective.
  2. Be positive, find the praise. Wouldn’t it be awful if you were known for having joy! The old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” applies here.
  3. Talk about God not for God. God doesn’t need you to protect Him. He’s not up in heaven saying, “If only someone would tell the world I’m a good guy.” You don’t need to be the pit bull (the animal not the musician) at the gates of heaven. Instead, talk about God in a way that shows your relationship.
  4. Use Scripture to point to God not to make a point. Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to use God’s Word? Stay on the safe, God-honoring side and use the Bible in your posting to make much of God. Don’t use the Bible to make your point… in fact… stop making a point (see below).
  5. Don’t engage with haters. Listen, there is a lot to be said for online evangelism and apologetics. Leave it to the pros. If you want to invest in the great commission and explain or defend your faith to someone, go talk to your neighbors. Instead of arguing with someone who disagrees just tell them that you respectfully disagree, Jesus loves them and you’ll pray for them (people hate that!) The best response, if any at all, is love!
  6. Use your account to advertise your church. We don’t knock on doors anymore and leaving handouts in people’s mailboxes is illegal (as well as tacky). Why not make much of the place where God is made much of? Your Facebook feed might be the only Christian thing that makes it into people’s homes. You don’t have to do it every day, three times a day, but once a week maybe?
  7. Use the Private Messaging feature. Sometimes you need to say something (hopefully in love) that is corrective or instructive to someone. Please don’t do it publicly. It might make you feel good but it isn’t loving or helpful. And just so this point doesn’t get swallowed up—DO IT IN LOVE WITH THE SAME GRACE THAT GOD IS POURING OUT OVER YOU RIGHT NOW!
  8. Pictures speak louder than words. You might be smokin’ hot with a body that just won’t quit but your body is the dwelling place of God and it might just make a brother or sister stumble. I know… I’m an old stuffed shirt conservative sort a fella. But you are not an object, you are a treasured son or daughter of the King, so don’t turn yourself into an object for someone. I mean it! You are valued highly and loved deeply… there is no need to “market” yourself.
  9. Keep your political opinions to yourself. I know that this rule is going to cause a flurry of questions for some. If you’ll save your questions (and wrath) for a week I’ll write more about this in Part 2. For now I’ll simply encourage you to vote and vote informed. If it’s not face-to-face with someone who already has a relationship with Jesus then keep your opinions to yourself… Jesus is your candidate!
  10. Turn off your computer and give someone a status update over coffee. I constantly hear how people are crunched for time. You have time, you’re just using it poorly! The world won’t stop revolving because you went off the grid for a day. We could seriously use a regular technology fast once a week… all of us!
A Christian's Guide to Social Media - Facebook (Pa...
A Christian's Guide to Social Media

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Monday, 10 December 2018