Spreading the Good News through Social Media
by Ellen McDowell
Are you thankful for social media? It’s a question we may struggle with as Christians. I rely on social media for my livelihood, so I have several reasons to be grateful. The important thing is to use social media for good, not evil, and to use it to spread the good news.
Romans 12:2 (NIV) tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world” and the patterns on social media are of the world. When we are on social media, we need to remember John’s prayer… “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15 NIV) So we need to be “in the world” and demonstrating our faith in God for others to see. We should not be spreading bad news or judging others. We should not be craving everything we see. We should use it to show God’s love for us and how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
So what should you do if you find someone is so distracting that they make it hard to demonstrate God’s love? Facebook has a wonderful tool – Unfollow. Go to the person’s profile page and click on “Following,” then select “Unfollow.” This way you can preserve the “friendship” but you don’t have to see their posts. They will not get a notification that you have unfollowed their posts. Luckily, I have many friends sharing good things going on in the world (and many whom I have clicked on the “See First” button so they are at the top of my news feed each morning.) Social media gives us a way to connect with old friends who are no longer living near us. I had lost touch with someone after she moved to Australia, and now, through Facebook I am able to watch her kids grow. My best friend growing up now lives in south Texas. We don’t call as often as we should and probably would have lost touch if not for seeing social media posts from each other. I can give thanks each time I see those posts.
Think about these verses from Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
Social media gives us a place to be the light of the world and we should take advantage of this gift. The Bible App, for instance, has a share button for a daily Bible verse. One of my friends goes live on Facebook with a morning prayer every school day between 7 and 7:30 a.m. She encourages us to share them so more of the world can be praying together (and I do.) Many churches broadcast their services each Sunday morning. If your church does that, share it when you get home. Give everyone a chance to watch the video, hear God’s word and the message that your pastor is sharing. Let’s fill our Facebook feeds with prayer and the gospel. We can be thankful that God gives us a way to easily share his message with so many.
Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine distributes its print edition around the city each month, but social media allows us to share it online so that its reach is beyond south Louisiana. i encourage you to share the articles with your friends online.
We need to share more of what is good in the world on our social media. I believe that as Christians, we can be part of a movement to share more stories about how God is working in our lives and how we see him in the actions of others. We can be the light of the world that God asks us to be. I look forward to seeing your positive posts in my newsfeeds.
Ellen McDowell is a Baton Rouge native who earned her Bachelor of Interior Design from LSU and her Master of Historic Preservation degree from the University of Georgia. She is a contributing author with Journey to the Stage (volume 2), a certified professional speaker, certified SCORE mentor, a sustainer for the Junior League of Baton Rouge, and proud chapter leader for the Baton Rouge Women’s Prosperity Network. She is also an active Lay Eucharistic Minister at Trinity Episcopal Church.