Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. ~ Romans 12:15
Child Falls Into Gorilla Cage
Deadly Alligator Attack at Disney
Deadliest Mass Shooting in American History
Writing these headlines causes my heart to sink. So much hurt, so much pain, so many questions and so many opinions.
After each incident, our social media newsfeeds were filled with story after story and comment after comment. As I scrolled through my feeds, my heart broke even more. What I saw were posts and comments that were filled with hate, pride, shame, blame and pointing of fingers. Comments and questions like:
Where were the parents?
That would NEVER happen on my timetable!
The parents should be charged!
Lack of supervision!
That would NEVER happen to me!
This is what happens when you don’t watch your kids!
You gays need to leave now!
If you’re gay, you need to die!
And that’s not all. From these posts and comments, we then were bombarded with arguments about gun laws, presidential hopefuls, black lives versus white lives, animal lives, etc. It just went on and on. And if I’m honest with you, this is the part of social media that I really despise because it goes against EVERYTHING that #BeWorthFollowing stands for and it goes against EVERYTHING that Jesus stands for.
We’ve become a society that thinks it’s ok to point the finger behind the keyboard because it’s easy to point shame and blame behind a faceless screen; there’s no accountability. But what’s not easy is getting up and doing something to help someone, to #BeDifferent and to go against the “norms” of culture. It’s easy to write words, not so easy to take action.
“Finger pointing behind a screen accomplishes NOTHING.”
And as Christians, we have been called to #BeDifferent. We should #BeWorthFollowing. There should be something different about the way we react and respond online to tragedies, events, challenges and obstacles. Ultimately our goal for being online should be to #BeMissional; to share the hope and freedom that can be found in Jesus Christ alone. And in this day and age, we have a great opportunity to do just that.
According to a survey that was conducted in May and June of 2014 by the Pew Research Center, “In an average week, one-in-five Americans share their religious faith online. And nearly half of U.S. adults see someone else share their religious faith online in a typical week. Fully 20% of Americans said they had shared their religious faith on social networking websites or apps (such as Facebook and Twitter) in the past week, and 46% said they had seen someone else share ‘something about their religious faith’ online.”
When I first saw these numbers, my immediate thought was “this needs to change.” Yes, it’s great that 1 in 5 Americans share their faith online, but if I’m honest with you, I think this needs to be higher and I think it can be higher. As more and more believers realize the impact that they can have online as a #DigitalMissionary, the more of an impact we can make for the Kingdom of God.
Never has there been a time in our history where we have the opportunity to connect with people all over the world, instantly. And as online influencers we have a great opportunity to bring to life the words that Jesus speaks to us in Matthew 28:19-20:
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20
Before we can #BeMissional on social media, we have to realize that we have been commissioned by Jesus to go out and train everyone we meet, whether they are far or near. And this includes using our social media influence and presence for good. Our profiles can’t be all about us; they have to be bigger than who we are. As Christian women in business and ministry, our ultimate goal should be to lead others to a lasting relationship with Christ. And we can do that by sharing the ways of Christ on social media. When we do, we are living out the Great Commission that we have been given.
Here are 6 ways that you can be missional on social media:
- Offer hope and encouragement: Refuse to allow yourself to get caught up in the nonsense of arguments online. Social media should not be about having our voice be the loudest, but rather having the voice of Jesus shine through. And one of the best ways to do this is by offering hope and encouragement on your profiles on a daily basis.
- Offer to pray for someone: I’ve said this before, but people are hurting on social media. They are walking paths that they never imagined and sometimes a prayer can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let someone know that you are praying for him or her. And don’t be afraid to write out your prayer for them. I’ve had women do this for me and I can’t even begin to explain the difference it made in my life that day.
- Become known for whom you’re for, rather than what you’re against: There are FAR too many posts on social media that scream everything we’re against. Is it no wonder people have a sour taste in their mouth when it comes to the followers of Christ? Instead, let’s become known for whom we are for, Jesus Christ. Instead of spewing what we’re against, let’s share why we are a Christ follower and how He changed our lives for the better.
- Share how God is speaking to you: Don’t be afraid to share what God is showing you and speaking to you. Many times what He shows you is something that others need to be shown too. Be real. Be authentic. Be transparent.
- Be Intentional: Being missional on social media doesn’t just happen, it requires being intentional. It means thinking before you post and comment. It means seeing your platforms in a new light; a light that shines on Jesus and not always you. It means thinking about others before thinking about you. It means seeing your platforms as an opportunity to serve others on a daily basis.
- Turn your words into action: On social media, it can be so easy to respond to cries for help with, “I’m praying for you” or “thinking about you.” But what if that cry for help needed more than just a statement saying that you are praying for them? What if that cry for help comes from someone local that needs action behind your words? Or what if that cry for help comes from someone who needs a word of encouragement via a letter or card? Or maybe even a gift certificate to help them get back on their feet? Don’t be afraid to turn your words into action.
There are SO many barriers in our world that are keeping people from coming to know and experience Christ. Maybe they had a bad experience with the church, maybe they’re fearful of what people will think, maybe they question whether or not the church will accept them, or maybe they are housebound due to illness. Whatever the issue is, you have the opportunity to change that as an online influencer; to breath life and hope into the people who are watching everything you write and everything you share. You could be instrumental in breaking down a wall that someone has been holding onto for far too long. You just might be the person that God wants to use to do just that!
Friend, don’t take your online leadership lightly. People are watching and people are wondering if you are worth following. We have been given much and we have a BIG responsibility when it comes to our online influence. Remember, you’ve been called to reach the nations for Christ; social media gives you the opportunity to do just that.