Christians and Social Media: Time To Get On It!

An icon for twitterEvery so often I hear some Christians I know (and sadly, some Church leaders) criticize the Internet and all the tools that keep us connected, such as Facebook and mobile phones. I understand that attachment to these things can cause problems, just as attachment to any material thing can cause problems. Nonetheless, being “wired” is the future of communication. While I am not suggesting we publish a Bible using 27,000 text messages (this figure is actually accurate, at roughly 4 million characters divided by 150…yes I have nerd tendencies), we have to embrace this new media or die.

Social networking is the new form of communication, just as the printing press was the new form during Renaissance. To be opposed to an entire form of communication is problematic, simply because it is a medium and not a message. The way most modern people communicate is social media. Teens rarely check email and rely on Instagram to communicate. Do you know what Instagram is? If you or your church isn’t on Instagram, then how will you communicate with the next generation of believers?

We also have to remember that through social media, information travels quickly. This means negative information spreads like wildfire. If we are not involved in social media, then our detractors get to frame the conversation about us. If we, as real live Christians, are able to be “first responders” to inaccurate and bad press, we can provide a friendly Christian perspective on issues, rather than letting our detractors control the discussion.

I used to work for a school that feared social media. The result was that when negative nonsense about the school was snowballing on Facebook, nobody was there to provide an official response, so the negativity snowballed and we lost about 20 students from the whole incident.

Fortunately, many in the Church have been forward thinking enough to understand this and encourage a social media presence. Either way, I highly suggest your diocese, parish, etc, set up some common social networking accounts (such as Twitter, Facebook, etc) and use them to communicate with your flock and beyond.

About David Bennett

David Bennett is an author, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother Jonathan. The site gets over one million visitors a year, and Bennett’s writings have appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.

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