Social media is a frothy cauldron of outrage right now.
But if you consider yourself a good Christian, you don’t get to quit social media — even if you are at a loss for words, even if what other people post makes you mad or uncomfortable, even if you’re confronted with images you don’t want to see or stories you don’t want to hear.
It’s been a rough year. I get it.
COVID-19 shut down the global economy. Unemployment in the U.S. hit an all-time high, and the political climate hit an all-time low. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Aubrey (and countless unknown, unnamed others) lit fire to the powder keg of structural and systemic racism in the United States. Police officers have been arrested and charged with felonies.
What is the impact of social media on Christianity?
Black people in the United States are fed up. And the scales have fallen from the eyes of many who consider themselves good Christians.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I had no idea” or a variation, I’d knock at least a year off my college debt.
People who thought they knew what was right and what was wrong suddenly don’t know what to believe. I see it on social media, and I know you do, too.
It’s big. It’s scary. It’s overwhelming.
Good Christians Can’t Quit Social Media
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light” (Luke 8:16 NIV).
As a social media consultant for Christian authors and speakers, I’ve noticed a trend when current events make good Christians uncomfortable: Their first instinct is to quit social media.
“I had to quit Facebook. It’s just too political.”
“I quit Twitter. Everyone is too angry.”
“I quit Instagram. It’s too negative now.”
“I quit LinkedIn. It’s no longer just about business.”
Should Christians use Social Media?
I understand the desire to protect oneself from the unfiltered commentary from those on your timeline. I hate discovering people I know and love are less compassionate and I loving than I thought they were.
But good Christians, especially Christian communicators, can’t quit social media — even when it feels like the world is on fire. We need you, and the beacon of light you bring to the darkness, now more than ever.
Imagine what Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn would be like if you and every good Christian you know quit.
What would be left? More importantly, who would be left? The mere thought makes me shudder.
The ultimate test of a good Christian’s commitment to their audience is what they do when social media gets uncomfortable. So what will you do? Will you continue suiting up and showing up, being a voice of reason, encouragement, and care for your followers?
To quote Stan Lee in The Amazing Spider-Man, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” You have the opportunity to use your powers for good while others would rather use theirs for evil.
Christian Communicators are Ministry Leaders
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV).
God didn’t call you to be a writer or speaker because he thought you needed a hobby. He placed a message upon your heart to share with the world. Whether you have a platform the size of Beth Moore’s or are still trying to get your Facebook following to triple digits, you have been appointed shepherd of a designated flock.
You don’t have the luxury of quitting social media when your audience is in desperate need of direction. You have an obligation to lead them like only you can.
At a loss for words? I bet they are, too.
Not sure what to say? Afraid of saying the wrong thing?
Like attracts like. I guarantee your followers feel the exact same way you do.
To quit social media out of discomfort is to abandon your followers when they need you most.
Positive Impact of Social Media on Christianity
Instead, consider sitting in discomfort with your readers. Share the angst and disappointment. Create space for others to explore and process. When appropriate, make room for voices to be heard that might otherwise be drowned out.
That’s what leaders do.
Need help here? Watch and learn from others who do it well.
For those struggling with how to grapple with racism publicly or privately, Latasha Morrison, author of Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, offers simple instructions:
Good Christians Practice Self-Care
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31 NIV).
As ministry leaders and beacons of light in the world, Christian writers carry a heavy burden.
Self-care is the key to avoid being crushed by the weight.
You can show up consistently on social media and take care of yourself and your needs. The two are not mutually exclusive.
When Jesus instructed us to love our neighbor, he added an important qualifier: “as you love yourself.” Your ability to love others is dependent upon how well you can love yourself.
Self-care looks differently for everyone, and it’s critical that you honor what you need. Here’s what self-care might look like for a good Christian who isn’t quitting social media:
- Designate two to three times a day for checking social media and limit each session to 15 minutes. It’s more than enough time to stay current and serve your audience without getting lost in a rabbit hole.
- Extend your prayer and worship time. A daily practice of prayer centers you and makes room for God to show himself. Need a quick lift? Watch Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer recite Psalm 91. Her voice is like nectar for my soul, bringing about instant feelings of peace.
- Journal. Christian writers can synthesize deep emotions and thoughtful considerations through journaling. Give yourself 15 minutes a day to write down your thoughts and feelings without judgment or censorship.
- Get more sleep. Not only is sleep restorative, it gives your brain a break from constant input so it can better process and filter the information you’ve consumed.
- Move your body. Taking a walk and other forms of exercise help burn off pent-up emotional energy while clearing your mind.
- Spend extra time with those you love. We are relational beings. Extra time with family and friends keeps you connected to what matters most.
Just Psalm 91 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/HvwQzY6lCs
— Priscilla Shirer (@PriscillaShirer) May 30, 2020
Good Christians are Faithful Followers
Share your faith on social media
When the world is on fire (online or in real life), you have both the obligation and honor of suiting up and showing up on social media. If servant-leadership were easy, everyone would do it. As a Christian author or speaker, you have been called to lead. You have been appointed for a time such as this, even if you don’t feel qualified or prepared. God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. And he will make sure you have every tool you need to share his message with your followers.To quit social media out of discomfort is to abandon your followers when they need you most. Click To Tweet
If you need help figuring out how to lead well on social media, even if you have a small audience, let’s talk. Book a free 20-minute call with me to explore how to use your unique gifts to connect with the followers who count.