Social media has been a terrific discovery for sharing information and keeping large numbers of people up to date on current and future happenings. Christians have fully embraced the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for personal and ministry applications.
Like any other technology, social media outlets are amoral. What we choose to do with them will determine whether they bring hope or discouragement. The danger of social media is that often we are willing to post a comment or information that we would never share with someone face to face.
A few months back a lady from our church posted a “prayer request” publicly on Facebook asking everyone to pray for her “poor husband who needed to quit smoking but wouldn’t.” I felt so bad for the husband whose wife threw him under the social media bus. He might need prayer, but Facebook was the wrong forum to ask for it.
So here are a five guidelines that I’ve found helpful when determining what to post on social media:
1. Is this post informative, encouraging or funny at my own expense? If the post doesn’t fall into one of these categories, you should think twice before hitting post. I’m often shocked at how negative Christians can be online.
2. Is this post bragging about myself, who I’m hanging out with, my church, my pastor, my wife, my kids, or whatever. If I don’t attend your church, I don’t care how perfect your pastor is and I surely don’t need to know how hot your spouse is to you. Compliments are best paid directly to a person instead of blasted out to thousands of people who could care less. Also, remember your brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling in a bad church, having marital problems, or heartbroken with a wayward child. Your bragging post is going to heap discouragement on their heads.
3. If the post is informational, is there a better way to communicate the information than a social network? There’s no reason to post to Twitter reminding six people about rehearsal tonight. You should use texting or email for this.
4. What would someone outside of Christ say about your Twitter feed? If your posts are often controversial or opinionated, you are giving non-believers ammo to lump all followers of Jesus into the same category as you. The best forum for sharing your opinion on heavy matters is over a beverage of choice, not in the public arena.
5. WWJP – What would Jesus post? This sounds cheesy, but honestly, if Jesus wouldn’t say it, we shouldn’t either. Remember, that Jesus told us to be salt and light in the world. We are to bring life and light to a dark world, not add to what’s already broken.
What have you found helpful when using social media personally and in your ministry?