Engaging Culture

How to Share Your Faith on Social Media

I find it fascinating that many people who handle social media for very large churches and ministries find it difficult to share their faith on their personal SM platforms. And others do it in an incredibly obnoxious way. But every new technology gives us another possibility for telling the greatest story ever told, but we have to do it with honesty and sincerity.

Krysta Masciale, CEO of Big Deal Branding puts it this way: “For me, it’s important that I share as much on social media as I would in person. Since I don’t speak about my faith until I’ve gained trust and been given permission to do so in a relationship, I use that same philosophy with my SM accounts. Also, know your audience. If Christians follow you and are expecting spiritual insights, GIVE IT TO THEM. If not, be aware that you’re building a relationship, not trying to sell a car.”

Krysta is exactly right. So I asked Kristen Tarsiuk, Communication Director at CRISTA Ministries in Seattle to give us some suggestions about sharing our faith without screwing up the message. Here’s her tips:

Social media can be an extremely powerful tool, or noise. It can be a communication channel where we share our humanity encountering Christ, or it can be a polished pic from the platform. Social media can be a celebration of the goodness of God, or a “look how good I look” selfie. The choice is always ours. Here are three tips on how to share your faith on social media authentically.

1. Be relatable. As a pastor and creative director, I could post pics of creative meetings or me working on my message. My journey as a pastor, though unique, is significantly less relatable to most people. So for the past two years, I have chosen to share my journey of faith as a mom on social media.

It never fails, each week the posts I share of my son are conversation starters with other moms in my neighborhood and church. It opens the door for trust and connection, and ultimately me sharing my reliance on Jesus, or an invitation to church.

Ask yourself, is what I am sharing relatable to non-believers? Not every post needs to point to the Gospel, but think about the story you are telling.

2. Post the pain. Don’t be afraid to share those less than perfect moments of life, especially the ones when you personally need God to show up.

Christians suffer. Non-believers suffer. Pain and suffering are a universal experience.

Years ago, my son had bladder surgery for a condition he has had since birth. My husband and I utilized our social feeds to share our journey. In post-op recovery we did a “Praise God – this journey is over!” type of post, thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness.

A few hours after arriving home (off the high of the Praise God post), Rocco’s temperature sky-rocketed, and we found ourselves headed back to Children’s Hospital. So at 2am we shared our pain and asked for prayers. At 3am, the fever broke. Then what we thought would be a couple day recovery, turned into weeks, with multiple posts saying things still aren’t working.

I remember thinking, I don’t want to be Debbie the Downer. Do people really want to know about my son’s bladder? To my surprise they did.

When we shared updates on social media, both our Christian and non-Christian friends would reach out letting us know we were in their thoughts and prayers. And when we shared the good news that Rocco was healed – both are Christians and non-Christian friends celebrated with us.

Be humble and human. Share the less than perfect moments of life. Our weaknesses are the perfect platforms for God’s strength. Share that story.

3. Remember someone is always listening. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. – 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV)

Yes, we have the right to emotionally process on social media. But is it beneficial?

Yes, we can post selfies and polished pics of ourselves. But is it constructive?

Social media is powerful. Recently journalists lost their jobs over their reckless use of words on social media. I have watched leaders bring pain to people by posting their opinion on social media – not understanding the weight of the conversation they entered, or the hashtag they used.

As believers, we are called to be a light. It is so important that we think before we post. Don’t lose your testimony over a hashtag or a flippant tweet.  Ask yourself, is this for the good of others, or am I just venting? Delete the vent, post the good.

I encourage all of us to use social media as a tool to share our faith. Be relatable. Share your humanity. Think before you post – because someone is always listening.

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20 Comments

  1. Phil, I completely agree with both Krysta and Kristen! We have to care more about the other person than what we want to tell them. I love the Young Life Motto – Earn the right to be heard! And if we’re not honest about our own struggles, failures and disappointments, we aren’t real people and then no one cares what we believe. If we can be confident in our faith and transparent about our whole lives, then we are better examples of Christ. I don’t want to be a more perfect Christian. I just want to be a better follower of Christ and truly love other people! We write about that in our book “The J Bomb – How to talk, text and tweet about Jesus without getting deleted” Karen Covell

  2. HI Phil. Our experience is very similar on 1Africa. Our blogs that connect are the ones that are true to what life is about. Since we have adopted that approach, our impact as measured through the comments/questions about life and faith has been dramatic, to say the least. Earning the right to be heard is indeed a process, but in doing so we gain a platform of opportunity beyond anything we had previously. Being real requires we are honest to be seen as credible and remaining so,
    requires we maintain an integrity of purpose in what we are and what we say. CV Africa Team

  3. This is great! I think the only place I would differ would be in how and when to share pain. While I like to be relatable, I am also careful not to put too much of my struggle out there as it’s happening. I tend to share my current struggles with a close circle of friends who will pray with me in faith and not worry. Sometimes putting it out to the general public too soon can cause negative words, worry, and unbelief to get in the atmosphere. What are your thoughts about that?

    1. See my response to Kirk on this string. I think our witness is actually helped by being more honest in our posting. Yes – positive, encouraging thoughts are good. But I think it’s much more believable when people understand we have challenges too. One thing – don’t wallow in it. I do know people who constantly complain and vent on social media, and nobody wants that either…
      🙂

  4. I really needed to read this today. I have worked in the entertainment business for over 30 years, most of it running my own company (and even got to work with Phil on a project many years ago!). But last fall I was diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer, and it has been terribly hard on my family, and has essentially put me out of work for the last 11 months, with no real light at the end of this long tunnel. We have been supported by family, friends, and our church, and we have used social media to try and get out our needs, challenges, and updates (both good and bad) so that people can follow my progress. But we often struggle with how much to post, especially the negatives, since we all know that our Christian witness is always supposed to be perpetually positive and happy, right? It’s good to know that we can show our fears and doubts, and yet still be able to maintain a witness to the many non-believers that follow me on Facebook and other sites. Thank you for this message today!
    http://www.alpdesign.com/donate

    1. Absolutely Kirk. I think our witness is so much more real when we tell the WHOLE story, not just the positive parts. And thanks for the update. We’ll certainly be praying for you and your family. Excellent post, and thanks for sharing!

  5. WWJD? During his short ministry, he didn’t sit quiet in a corner. Read the Book of Acts, same story. That being said, Social Media should be an outlet for Evangelism, but not a Bully Pulpit. To say that Christians should go out of their way to try not to offend anyone…is not Christian. Jesus wasn’t Barney the Dinosaur.

    1. I agree and think that actually, without
      the Holy Spirit, to be a Christian I would need to be bi-polar! I have to be as shrewd as a serpent but as gentle as a dove. I have to be ready to give an account for the hope that is in me, but with gentleness and reverence. I have to love my enemies and obey the Great Commission and share my faith, but not push it on anyone! WOW, that’s why I need Jesus every moment of every day! And bottom line, I’m just loving people and praying for divine appointments! It’s actually quite fun!

      1. Amen!
        “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
        http://bible.com/111/mat.5.14-16.NIV

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