Posted in theology

Social media is not ‘an extra’

By Elizabeth Prata

A friend was permanently suspended from Twitter recently. He is a pastor, boldly unashamed of the Gospel. So, you know what happens next…Twitter, intolerant of religious views of Christians, suspended him. I’m not sure which tweet sent Twitter over the edge, probably something about judgment and eternal death. The world isn’t fair to Christians and we don’t expect it to be.

CC0, public domain

Update: He wrote about his banning, here.

Whenever I remind folks about using social media before we lose it to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus, inevitably I receive dismissive replies along the lines of ‘we don’t need social media’ or ‘there are other ways to proclaim the Gospel’. etc. The all-too-often stance from the public square who think either-or, not both-and, is weird. Other times I see comments decrying social media, saying it’s a pit. Well it’s not ONLY a pit.

It’s not that if we don’t have social media we can’t proclaim the Gospel. It’s not that since we do have social media we can proclaim the Gospel. We have other ways, traditional ways, that have stood the test of time- AND we have social media. That is not the issue.

The issue is that social media is an invention that disseminates more Christian material to more people more quickly than ever before in human history. Losing it would be, well, a loss.

The issue is, HOW do we use it? Do we have a plan for our social media, personal standards, self-control, and Bible verses that are the foundation of our use?

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in Godless New England. I’m serious about it being Godless, all 6 of the New England States are consistently listed in the least spiritual category of all 50 states. I can’t impress upon you more, dear reader, how easy it was to avoid any and all things related to Jesus. Stores did not carry Bibles. People did not speak of Jesus. No radios played hymns, (unless a scratchy AM station waaaay down the dial), no stores played them over their sound system. There were no billboards, signs, or handbills related to Jesus that I ever saw. Of course, social media did not exist since the internet did not exist during the time period I am speaking about.

What I’m saying is that it was easy to escape hearing the Gospel. (I know that whoever’s name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life before the foundation of the world WILL hear it because God WILL orchestrate it). My point is two-fold: first, if a person lives in an unchurched area it is likely they are not exposed to anything edifying, and two, social media ratchets up the probability they will hear or see something edifying by 2 gajillion percent.

Weak Christians, baby Christians, undiscerning Christians, and deceived Christians can be helped by social media’s reach to put out great material. We have an unprecedented opportunity in these internet days to pump out sermons, verses, quotes, ministry links, memes, and conversations with people based on strong biblical concepts like no other time in history.

Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

The pitfall of social media use is when we fail to stop our own unwholesome talk (anger, slander, gossip, pride…) and when we fail to remember that others can hear (read) what we say.

The opportunity of social media use is to be able to train ourselves in speaking only wholesome talk, and in fulfilling those opportunities to give grace to reading bystanders scrolling through our social media streams.

The country preacher in the 1800s would drool over our ability to reach people with Bible material so fast. The ejected pastor in Puritan times without a congregation and relying on expensive book publishing processes taking months or years would covet our ability to type a few verses and press enter where the whole world can see it. And pre-Gutenberg printing press? Forget about it.

The Lord has allowed men to invent the internet and along with it, social media. Use it well. It’s a gift.

I love the opportunities social media gives us. I know that it also affords satan an opportunity to do his worst, too. That’s where self-control kicks in, as with anything.

I love being able to post Bible verses and my blogs, and to witness online, and have edifying and encouraging conversations, and see love being modeled. Once in a while I look through my media accounts to see if I’m drifting from my intended standards of publishing about Jesus, His word, and the concepts and doctrines along with it. Scroll though yours with fresh eyes of a new believer or a non-believer to see what they might see on your threads.

As I was writing this essay over several days, Reagan Rose of the podcast Redeeming Productivity published an episode dealing with this very subject. I love when that happens. Reagan interviewed Dustin Benge, with an episode called “The Godly Use of Social Media with Dustin Benge.” The summary for the episode states,

“In this episode, I talk with Dustin Benge about how Christians can utilize social media in a God-honoring way, not get sucked into the outrage mob, and operate online with integrity. Believers often decry social media as a waste of time, but in just a few short years Dustin has accrued over 75,000 followers on Twitter by just following the strategy of simply “posting truth.” Dustin shares valuable insights into how he thinks about his social media presence as an extension of his ministry and a stewardship from God.”

Two strong men of God discussing the issues I spoke about above, what could be better? I recommend the conversation. Dustin gives practical tips about using social media and both men encourage its mindful use.

Some words are highlighted because it was a video and the word being spoken was highlighted. These are stills from the video

The takeaways here today are:

  • Social media isn’t all bad,
  • Have a plan and intention for your social media use,
  • Social media is what you plan and intend to use it for,
  • Social media gives us opportunity to give grace to hearers,
  • Social media gives us opportunity to flesh out concepts and doctrines we’re learning by either writing and tweeting about them, or visiting other good social media accounts.

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

5 thoughts on “Social media is not ‘an extra’

  1. Hello Elizabeth,Thank you for this article. I wonder if you know of a resource that lists trustworthy non-social-media organizations, such as Trans World Radio, who use the “old” methods of getting God’s word into “closed” or persecution-heavy countries. I figure it’s good to work both sides of things :-).Blessings and thanksgivings for your work among us,Deb

    Like

    1. Hi Deb,
      Thank you for the question. I really am not aware of any organizations, not even the one you mentioned by name. I’d be hesitant to recommend any for that reason…

      Like

Thank you for reading The End Time!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s