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Published On: Mon, Dec 19th, 2016

Making Better Use of Social Media

Social media has entered the realm of faith-based communications in a big way and it’s seen as an important tool in the campaign to provide spiritual guidance to those searching for it. The good news is that for believers, technological breakthroughs in the field of digital communications has made it easier than ever to spread the Christian message.  The Internet, the smartphone, the tablet, and social media have become tools in the mission to win converts.

There is of course reason to be cautious. Social media sites present both an opportunity to spread the message of salvation, and a huge pitfall to be avoided.  The bad news for Christians is that new media is also used to spread evil and make it easier for people to fall prey to sin.

Is that a reason to avoid those digital platforms?

No, according to Christian advocates of social media use.

photo Kevin Phillips via Pixabay

Consider the possibilities for engagement that sites like Facebook and Twitter present as  far spreading an understanding of the Bible.  Lamar Vest, president and CEO of the American Bible Society (ABS), told ChristianityToday, the world is witnessing “a revival of Bible engagement.”   The point is, learn to use these sites with the understanding that you’re going to encounter people with very different views as yourself.

Also, Christians are advised to check out sites like Christian Social Network, which began as a place for Christian singles to meet. The site says that over time, “we found that everyone was interested in the Christian resources here and fellowship in general.”  To that end, the site provides a place for groups to meet to discuss their personal walk with God with instructions like, “The Faithlife community groups are on the bottom toolbar and also links on this page.  Our chat rooms are to the left and also you will find our video chat rooms at the navigation bar above.”

When it comes to the use of non-faith based sites like Facebook, there are two major schools of thought.  There is a split between Christians who believe in embracing existing platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and those looking for alternatives. If you’re on the side that embraces the latter view, there are sites like Christian Faithbook. 

Christian Faithbook touts itself as a place that rejects the treatment of women and men as sex objects, that is sensitive to children, and refuses to sell anyone’s information to corporations.  It operates on a business model of 3 cents a day for members.  If you don’t mind paying a fee to avoid sites in which you will be exposed to non-Christian content, perhaps you should consider Christian Faithbook as an alternative for yourself or your family.

 

Others say it makes no sense to avoid so-called non-faith based sites. For instance, beliefnet.com asks vistors if sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can promote the Gospel? Their answer is yes.  The site argues those sites are making it possible for their users to populate newsfeeds with the word of God.

Television may be considered old media, but, even there, Christian broadcasters have used social sites to expand their audiences. The video, Effective Media Outreach – How To Use Social Media For Good, talks about what a revolutionary tool these new platforms can be.  In the video, Don Simmonds talks about advancements in hardware, including relatively cheap HD video cameras, that will help launch Christian citizen journalists.  Don Simmonds’  work with Crossroads Christian Communications and the CTS TV Network helped reach out to members of the body of Christ all over the world so as to broaden the reach of the network to all parts of the world where Christians look to share video.

The problem is excluding non-Christian social media sites is that you may be missing out on a wealth of content that may help enrich your faith. YouTube remains a growing source of online Christian material including channels in which the books of the Bible are read for anyone with an internet connection.  There are also countless personal accounts of people’s faith being tested.  Evangelists too have embraced the new platform with live ‘broadcasts’ of their services. Opportunities appear to be growing everyday.

Author: Samuel Oliver

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