Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Witness Through Social Media

It’s been said that social media has changed the world in a dramatic way that has not been seen since the Industrial Revolution. At the very least it’s changed the way we’ve looked at communication.

People live on Facebook or Twitter. A lot of the time people use it to dump information about events or shamelessly self-promote, but as Christians, we must remember that we are called to be witnesses to others. Jesus calls us to live in the world -- in the culture that we are born into -- and witness to those around us. A large part of today’s culture is social media, and we need to treat it as the great opportunity it is to use our daily lives as a way to witness.

We need to show non-Christians, with all their stereotypes and negative experiences of Christians, what Christianity really is.

Twitter and Facebook are perfect media to do this. Christians can use social media to show the rest of the word what we're really about. Or, we can perpetuate the stereotypes we're fighting against. Here are some do’s and don’ts for witnessing through Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t: Fake being perfect. One of the stereotypes about Christians is that we are hypocrites who act like we live perfect lives because we have Jesus. We all know this isn’t true. We all know that we struggle just like everyone else. Let’s not pretend we are not broken just because we can edit our lives online.

Do: Talk about your struggles. Now, some people think your status is a place to post vague, depressing commentary on your life. I’m not saying we need to be downers, but we do need to be real. Talk about how you are struggling to find a job, but also talk about how you are praying on it. If we talk about our lives realistically, it gives us a way to show what God is doing in our lives. You can then go back and post about how God placed the right job in your lap or how your church family has been your support through a rough time.

Don’t: Hate on people. If you are a Christian in “real” life, you need to act Christian online. It’s easy to say things viciously or put others down online because it doesn’t feel as real. We would never say some of the things we say online in person. Remember: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” Ephesians 4:29.

Do: Praise the wonderful things Christians and churches are doing. Christianity gets enough bad press from fringe groups and fallen leaders. Make your page a place to show that not all Christians are like those that end up in the news.

Don’t: use Christian terms any more than absolutely necessary. Christians, like most groups, have our own terminology -- fellowship, edification, sanctification, etc. Try to keep this off of Twitter and Facebook. Non-Christians (and even some Christians) don’t know what these terms mean, so using them will only alienate people following you. Put your faith in plain language.

Do:Make sure that you are not being vulgar or cussing either. We want people to understand us but we do want to be examples of what God calls of us.

Don’t: Just dump Scriptures on your status. Many people will just throw some scriptures online. Many people will do this multiple times a day. This can be a good thing that will speak to someone, but for many out there, they will just ignore or unfollow you. If you are trying to use your social media to evangelize, try something a little different.

Read more at Wesleyan LIFE

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