Wherever we are these days—waiting to pick up our kids at school, in a lineup or around a table in a restaurant, in a hall waiting for the lecture to begin—chances are many around us are engrossed in their phones or tablets. Despite how antisocial they appear, they may well be socializing after all, not with those around them but with someone on social media.
Social media plays a big part in many of our 21st century lives. Email bring us news of who has liked or commented on our Facebook update. Twitter is way more timely than any news feed when it comes to what’s happening in the hockey or football game we’re keeping an eye on, while we read opinions, reviews, or the light-hearted take on life of our favorite blog. Do you need ideas for crafts, recipes or decorating? Scan boards on Pinterest for lots of inspiration. Want to share the stunning sunset you’ve just seen? Snap a photo with your smart phone, post it on Instagram and watch the gush of “Likes” and comments from friends and followers. And the above are just a sliver in the pie-graph of social media apps and technologies available.
Despite how easily social media can take over our lives, making us smart phone, tablet or computer addicts, it’s not all bad. In fact, its badness or goodness rests pretty much in the hands of the person behind the keyboard or trackpad. Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. So as Christians, let’s use it to spread the good news.
In that vein I started blogging my devotions in 2010. Using the Canadian Bible Society reading guide as the day’s passage, I’ve kept up this practice at Other Food: daily devos for six years.
Early in the game, I connected my blog to Feedburner (a web feed management provider) so that people could subscribe (and unsubscribe) to these devotions and get them delivered daily by email. I’ve also set Feedburner to publish the day’s devotion on Twitter each morning. It’s my small way of adding a Christian voice to social media.
Share your faith on social media
If you enjoy social media but would like to use it to more intentionally share your faith and God’s word, here are some things you might try:
1. Blog about whatever aspect of faith excites you—true stories of how people came to Christ, answered prayers, your favorite Bible verses, mission trip logs. Start a blog for free at Blogger.com or Wordpress.com.
2. Encourage interaction on your blog by ending your post with a question.
3. Use catchy titles that will cause people to stop and take a second look.
4. Compose and format articles to make it easy for readers to scan your piece; use short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and highlight important points.
5. Honor copyright of both words and pictures. Attribute all quotes. Post Bible translation permissions. You can find these on Biblegateway.com. Click on the linked name of the Bible version you’re using.
6. Use your Facebook profile and Twitter account to tweet Bible verses, sayings by famous Christians, Christian music videos, and links to your blog’s articles and other Christian articles you’ve enjoyed.
7. When posting on Twitter or Instagram, use a hashtag (#) in front of words that describe the category or subject of your post (e.g. #devotions) so that people who are looking for that topic will find you.
8. Use your photos to make Bible verse posters. Publish them on your blog or Twitter and add them to a board on Pinterest.
9. Make Pinterest boards for the various faith subjects that interest you. I’ve probably had more likes and follows to my “Bible Illustrators” board than any other.
10. Pray that God will cause the Word seeds you scatter to fall onto prepared soil.
In His explanation of the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said to the disciples: “The seed is the word of God” and “The field is the world” (Luke 8:11; Matthew 13:38). When we use social media the world is indeed our field. In preparing to write this article, I looked over my blog’s stats for the last several weeks and saw that visitors had come from all over the globe: Canada, U.S., France, Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, Indonesia, Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam, China, and Slovakia.
How will you use social media to send your words into the world-field in the days ahead?
Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Violet Nesdoly is a freelance writer who lives near Vancouver, B.C. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, as well as at her website and devotional blog.