In today’s culture, we share our lives over social media.
To share the gospel, we have to go to where people live and so that now means Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the social platform of your choice.
As I was preparing to enter college, I felt like God showed me how I could tell others about Jesus by treating social media platforms as a means of passing on the gospel. In fact, I could explain my faith to far more people this way than I could face to face. It started with posting announcements of campus-wide outreach events Cru was hosting. I wanted more of my classmates to have a chance to explore the gospel without any pressure, so I posted the Knowing God Personally presentation on my Facebook page. Eventually, I had the confidence to be more vulnerable about what my own walk with Jesus looked like.
A wide variety of people see what I post: friends from the Kinesiology department where I study, my Christian sorority sisters, my friends on the baseball team. If what I post on social media points towards my relationship with Jesus, I’m pointing them towards exploring knowing God themselves.
The power and connectivity of social media can bring the gospel to every end of my campus and our world.
Here are some practical ways I’ve learned to use social media as a follower of Jesus.
Posting a picture with a caption of an event on your own page is more of a personal invitation than something on a group page. Your personal page is also likely to place that invitation in front of people who would never see your group’s page.
Send a text to a classmate God has put on your heart, personally inviting them to come spend time with you during the outreach you’re planning. It’s important you always let people know when you’re inviting them to a Christian event. Trust is easier to lose than to gain or rebuild.
Social media can also be made personal through continuing a discussion about a post. When the conversation takes place in person, you get to see past the filtered screen, but one-to-one conversations via something like Messenger can still allow you to build trust. Your aim is to gradually move things offline.
If we’re being honest, if the post is more than a few sentences, no one reads it. Keep it short, and try leaving an opportunity for the reader to engage. End your post about how you’ve seen God come through for you with a question such as, “Have you ever chosen to trust God for something, and how did it turn out?”
Don’t presume everyone reading your post has had positive experiences of God that they want to share. If you write blogs, including a link at the end to related articles, podcasts or passages gives your non-believing friend the opportunity to look further, if something you wrote caught their attention.
Trusting a Christian is often a threshold non-believers cross on their way to trusting God. How does your social media feed enable people to trust you?
On social media, people are looking to be known and simultaneously, are afraid to be known. Taking the risk to share hard times when following Jesus isn’t easy, but it will allow you to connect with people in a more authentic way. Not everything you post has to be a sunset with a verse.
Look at your own social media accounts, and ask yourself what reality these platforms are presenting to others and how much they display what God is doing in your life.
People who don’t know God need reasons to move towards Him.
How will your social media help someone else to trust the God they don’t yet know?
Many people have pushed Google+ aside and with good reason, it's been dubbed a "ghost town" platform by social media scholars, but there's still worth in this platform.
It’s no longer about the coolest looking fliers you can print up or even the innovative prize you offer to get the word out about what’s going on in your ministry. It’s about how you’re using social to get your audience’s attention, and a big part of that is the hashtag.
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