Most teenagers have some type of social media account (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Myspace) they use to exchange information and cat pictures with their friends and keep up with what is going on in their world. Some consider these networks to be the opening of a great world of information sharing while others cite them as examples of the downfall of civilization. In truth, they are neither good nor evil but are simply tools that can be used and abused.
Like anything in their lives, Christians must use social media properly to be bright lights in a dark world and reach out to those who have no relationship with Him. Because of the connecting nature of these tools, we have opportunity to use them to connect others with God. Here are five ways we can use social media to glorify God and teach others.their spiritual life instead of polluting their heart or distracting them from God’s service.
- Remember that the things that come out in social media are the things that are within your heart. Let your heart be filled with good things and let them be evident to others.Be a good example. Social media posts reflect the things that we want the world to see about us. They often reflect our interests, beliefs, principles, and loves (and too often our meals–whatever). Do the things we “like” reflect whatever is pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent? (Philippians 4:8)
- What do the musical groups, television shows, movies, actors/actresses, etc. that we like say about what we put into our hearts?
- Do the things that we share include profane or foul language?
- In our pictures, are we dressed modestly?
- Edify others. The word “edify” means to “build up.” Do the things that we say encourage others or do we gossip about r insult others? When we know that someone is going through a difficult time we can offer words of comfort or let them know that we are praying for them. As people discuss their needs, we can see opportunities to serve them. Perhaps we can ask our parents to help us prepare a meal for them if they need one or go over to their house to visit and pray with them. When things are going good we can rejoice with them (Romans 12:15).
- Invite them to teaching opportunities. Facebook is a great way to announce Bible studies and worship services to your friends. You can lead them to teachers of truth.
- For example, you could post “We’re having this great study in our Teen Class on ___________. I have really been learning about ___________________ and it has helped me a lot! Our next class is this Sunday morning at [time]. We meet at [address] -or- give link to the church web site if you have it.”
- You can also advertise special Bible classes, gospel meetings, or sermons directed towards visitors. Post the invitation several times over a few days and especially the day before the event.
- Reflect the excitement you have in how it helps you as you try to interest others in attending.
- Teaching others. Facebook’s sharing features are a great tool for sharing articles (like these on GodlyYouth–hint), Bible verses, links to audio/video sermons, books. and other material useful for teaching others. When you read a good article that educates or encourages you, share it with others and note the things with which you agree or disagree or important points to consider with this resource. Some people share quotes, hymn lyrics, and Bible verses which can be a positive message on the Facebook wall. You can also take opportunity when someone is saying something wrong about what the Bible teaches, use the opportunity to correct them in a spirit of meekness (2 Timothy 2:23-26). When someone says they don’t understand something about the Bible or what’s going on in the world, offer to study with them privately online or in person.
- Be a peacemaker. Jesus blessed the peacemakers in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:9. Social media gives us opportunity to cause problems with others or be at peace with them. If our focus is on the salvation of souls, we will not have a spirit of bullying others or tearing them down online. We cannot control what others do but “as much as depends on us” we can live in peace with others, Romans 12:18. Don’t use social media to gang up with others on another person, to tear down or insult others, or senseless arguments. There may be times when you must disagree but can do so without being disagreeable. Be careful in your choice of words and the tone of your message so even if you speak things that are not acceptable to the recipient, your attitude will be honorable. Realize that you may still be misunderstood, reviled, and insulted, but don’t answer in kind. Respond in humility as Jesus did, 1 Peter 2:23-25.