Last week I had the opportunity to chat about witnessing through social media with Pastor Mark Wood, director of Witness and Outreach Ministry, on his KFUO show, Witness Wednesday. Specifically, we talked about “the good, the bad and the ugly” when it comes to using social media for witnessing opportunities. Here are a few nuggets from that conversation:
Be human. This is an idea that Justin Wise coined in his book, The Social Church, about leveraging the use of social media in the church. When thinking about being a faithful witness online, be human. Live in the vocations that you have in your “in-person” world and let that carry over into how you live your life online. When we do so, we connect with people and groups of similar interests and let relationships and conversations naturally form from these points of connection.
Question to ask: Why am I sharing this? What do I hope this will accomplish? How is my “online presence” an authentic reflection of my “in-person” life?
It can be easy to hide behind a computer screen and press enter on a controversial or confrontational comment without having the other person’s best interest in mind. The 8th commandment applies to our social media activity. Let’s think before we type and check our motivations before responding to someone’s blog, tweet or status.
Questions to ask: Why am I responding in this way? What’s my goal? Am I doing this in love and respect?
What breaks my heart is seeing arguments amongst the church carried out on social media. I wonder what might be a better platform to work towards reconciliation. Again, let’s check our motivations and purpose.
Question to ask: Will this build a relationship with this person? Will this build a relationship with the church? Is this a faithful witness to our Savior?
We are always sending messages whether we realize it or not. This is true of our face-to-face interactions as well as those online. Take a moment to scroll through your own profile and do an inventory. What do you see? How are you sending a consistent message online that gives a faithful witness of who you are as redeemed child of God?
Keeping a Bible verse or note near your screen is a great way to keep these things at the forefront of your minds as you interact online.
Let us consider the words of the author of Hebrews as they relate to our lives and interactions online:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25
May the Holy Spirit keep us firm in the faith and grounded in the hope of Jesus Christ without wavering. Let us not neglect to meet together, in person and online, and consider how we may continue to stir up and encourage each other on in the faith.
Listen to the entire 10-minute conversation here: http://archives.kfuo.org/mp3/HT/HT_Oct_15c_2014.mp3