In the past several years, the Church has seen social media explode. Before social media, there were forums, then groups, blogs, and now Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and the list goes on and on. I’ve been online since I was sixteen years old, and now that I am thirty-two, I have seen how our interactions on the internet have changed over the years. Thus, I thought it may be helpful to write out a post presenting five ways one can use social media to the glory of God.
My first point is the necessity to be who you are by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10-11). This is the same Paul who faced an immense amount of suffering and hardship and yet didn’t back down from just being who he was. Social media is all about community, and the concept of community is also vital for the Church. The Church is a community of Redeemed people. Social media is a community of people made up from every tribe, tongue and nation on earth. The Church is called to “go” into the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The natural extension of the ministry of the Church and thus all Christians is to proclaim the Gospel that transferred them from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. If we pretend to be something we are not, then we miss out on the real blessing of using our gifts, talents and abilities truly to the glory of God.
Second, be personable. It may seem that my first and second points are similar but in reality they are not. Being who you are by the grace of God means grounding your life in Christ, but being personable is the result of living out your identity in Christ. Some non-Christians think some Christians are stuffy Bible-thumpers. Just be yourself. When you meet people in person what they appreciate are those who are real, honest and personable. Some feel they need to be someone they are not online and another person when they speak to someone face to face. This is wrong. The Gospel calls us to be who we are by the grace of God, with the result that we will be personable and hospitable towards others in order to win a hearing for them with the Gospel. If this is so, then as Christians we should be who we are in Christ by the grace of God by being personable.
Third, be Christ-like. The only reason the Christian must be Christ-like is because they have been transformed by Jesus Christ. In my experience being online, this is the hardest thing for Christians to do especially in an online environment. Many Christians think, “Well, I will get a blog and share all my thoughts.” Yes, a blog is a place to share thoughts, but sharing thoughts should never be our aim. The aim of blogging is the same as that of all ministry, namely to glorify God and point people to Jesus Christ. If our goal is to slander our brother or sister in Christ then we have failed to understand what it means to glorify God. Our goal as Christians is to make much of Jesus. This requires that we not only grow in our identity in Christ, but also minister from our identity in Christ.
Being Christ-like leads me to my fourth point, that of being biblical. Many Christians hold to the belief that every word is inspired by God and authoritative for faith and practice, and yet undermine that belief by making much of their opinion without ever engaging the Bible. Whether you are blogging or updating your social media make sure you are either reflecting on what the Bible teaches or quoting it explicitly. Make sure all you share with God’s people is from His Word. It’s perfectly fine to ask for prayer, and share your testimonies but don’t make much of your own thoughts. Rather, make much of God and teach His Word through all of your work.
Finally, the reason we use social media is to glorify God. Christians have an aim and that is to glorify God and enjoy Him. The goal is not to lift ourselves up before men, but to lift up the name of Jesus so that He will be brought glory. Christians do not minister to please men or to gather people to follow them.
Sadly in my experience, many Christians seek their own glory. They purposefully try to build a platform or gather people around them so they will gain a hearing among men. Such ministries are built on sifting sand. The goal of all ministry is to handle the Word of God with care and always point people to Jesus.
How then do I use social media for the glory of God? Be focused not on yourself, but on God. Grow in your understanding of God by reading, studying and mediating on God’s Word. Don’t make social media your idol. Don’t sacrifice your family for the fleeting idol of social media. In other words don’t spend all your time on social media. Spend time unwinding offline with family and friends enjoying them. Use social media but don’t be used by social media. Social media is a tool that God can use to expand the Gospel, but with everything , be wary of it becoming ultimate. Thankfully there is good news for the person struggling with overusing social media instead of focusing on God. The Gospel confronts our idolatry by calling us to turn from it to Jesus Christ. The goal of ministry, and this includes social media, is to glorify God by using the tools He gave us to advance His kingdom for His glory.