Mark 16:15- And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” NKJV
If you follow me regularly, then you know that this blog is out of the blue. We have been going through the book of Mark and have just begun chapter 11, so I am taking a jump to chapter 16.
Sharing the gospel today looks much different from the way the disciples shared the gospel. Their primary vehicle of spreading the gospel was through word of mouth and letters written and shared with other believers. Today, we have countless ways to share the gospel, and we should use every means available to reach the lost. Many Christians are unsure how social media plays effectively in the gospel campaign, so I want to share responsible ways to engage with the world using popular apps!
Twitter is a familiar app to the young and the old. Twitter is a messaging app that users send short messages called tweets to communicate. Twitter allows its users to follow others, to like tweets, but mostly to share ideas. As Christians, using Twitter can be fun and engaging for us, as it is for non-believers, but it can also be a place to share your faith with friends, family, and even strangers. The advantage is that the message is short; you can create a hashtag that will connect your tweet with similar tweets, all while letting your light shine.
Facebook is another social media platform that millions are using around the world to communicate. Facebook was designed to connect with friends and family members you hadn’t seen in a while or keep up with friends who were moving to another locale. With your personal account, you can post in a variety of ways. People share what they are eating, the restaurant they enjoyed, the vacation that was not so amazing, and a variety of other personal and fun moments of their lives. While using Facebook, taking time to invite your friends to an event at your church, sharing a testimony of the goodness of God, and even posting a sermon can be great ways to use Facebook to reach out on the world wide web to be a witness.
TikTok is used by our young people. It’s a site where young people can create and share videos or watch videos that friends have shared. I am not a personal user, but I have seen some entertaining videos through others. As believers, our kids, or other brave souls, can use TikTok to show events and services that bless them, create witness videos that are short and entertaining, or just encourage someone through their day. If you like video sharing, this is the app for you!
Instagram is another very popular communication app. It also draws the attention of the youth around the world. If this is where our children are hanging out, we need to make sure that we can navigate their platforms and reach them for Christ! With Instagram, all messages are short in delivery, short in the time it is visible, and a quick way to share a moment in time. With over a billion users, Instagram messages of faith and hope can penetrate the darkness! Christians need to be using every means necessary to get the gospel message out there!
The last site I want to mention is Snapchat! Again, young people love this app! Your message will only last for about 10 seconds, but it doesn’t take a long time to encourage someone. Mini-video clips, funny photos, photos of memorable moments in a young person’s life can all be reminders of the goodness of God. No matter why the young people create accounts to the different apps, they can use their social media accounts to witness Jesus, or we can use them to remind them why they love the Savior!
Now that we know a little more about some of the more popular apps, maybe we won’t be afraid to log on to begin sharing our faith or words of encouragement with others. But I would be remiss if I didn’t share some things that you need to know that could bring harm into your child’s life. With every media, there is good and evil, and social media is no different.
There are things that we should be aware of as users, parents, educators, or guardians. Whatever our role, we need to know that danger awaits the person who is not paying attention. Paul warned:
lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.2 Corinthians 2:11 NKJV
- Social media allows its users to meet people from all over the world. Because of that, young people can meet strangers online who sound friendly, but wish to harm.
- Social media platforms allow for free expression from us, but also from all of their users, so some content may not be appropriate to engage.
- Snapchat is cute, but has no way for parents to monitor it and it gives away the location of its users. Especially when they are near other users.
- Hate speech, racial slurs, and profanity can be sent to kids, just like the warm and fuzzy messages can be sent!
- Dares, or challenges can be sent to young people that can get them into trouble on so many levels.
So what are we to do? If it is a platform that we can use to be a witness to the world, to encourage our youth, to share the goodness of God with others, and there are so many negative things attached to it, what can we do to stay safe and keep our kids safe? I’m glad you asked!
Safeguards can be simple and take only a few minutes:
- When allowing young kids and teens to have social media accounts, become a friend so that you can monitor what is going on.
- If you don’t want to be a friend, have access to their passwords.
- Make sure accounts are private and strangers cannot get their information.
- Talk to them about appropriate and inappropriate content, language, and messages.
- Teach them how to be safe, especially with personal information.
- Restrict usage of apps, and show an interest in what they post as a way to keep on top of their online activities.
- And mainly, pray with them, for them, about them, that God will keep them safe, give them wisdom, and assist you in protecting them!
Jesus shared this word of wisdom with us:
Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.Matthew 10: 26 NKJV
Don’t become afraid! We can’t keep our kids from social media forever. One day, they will venture into the world wide web and find ways to communicate with their friends that they think are cool! We can teach them to be responsible and guide them while we can. When we are proactive in helping them use social media, it can be a fun, safe way to enjoy connecting with friends and families and sharing their faith! The same can even be true for you! At the end of this post, I will have some links to assist you in learning more about social media. Wonderful Jesus!
- https://www.commonsensemedia.org/- reviews different forms of media for parents and provide resources for your use.
- https://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/christians-lets-all-stop-doing-these-15-things-on-social-media/- blog on behaviors Christians shouldn’t participate in while using social media
- https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-privacy-5-tips-for-social-media-security-and-privacy.html- tips on how to protect your privacy