“Think before you post—because someone is always listening.”
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 social media accounts. And others do it in an incredibly obnoxious way. But every new kind of technology gives us another opportunity to tell the greatest story ever told, but we have to do it with honesty and sincerity.
Krysta Masciale, CEO of Big Deal Branding, put 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 social media 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, creative director and community pastor at Liberty Church Brooklyn, to give us some suggestions about sharing our faith without screwing up the message. Here are her tips:
1. Be relatable.
As a pastor and creative director, I could post pictures 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, me sharing my reliance on Jesus and invitations to church.
Ask yourself: Is what I’m sharing relatable to nonbelievers? 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. Nonbelievers suffer. Pain and suffering are a universal experience.
A few months ago, my 3-year-old son, Rocco, had bladder surgery for a condition he has had since birth. My husband and I utilized our social feeds to share our journey. During our son’s postop 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 skyrocketed, and we found ourselves headed back to the hospital. So at 2 a.m. we shared our pain and asked for prayers. At 3 a.m., 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 a Debbie 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 our Christian and non-Christian friends celebrated with us.
Be humble and human. Share the less-than-perfect moments of life. Our weaknesses are the perfect platform for God’s strength. Share those stories.
3. Remember that 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).
Yes, we have the right to vent our emotions on social media. But is that beneficial?
Yes, we can post selfies and polished pictures of ourselves. But is that constructive?
Social media is powerful. Some journalists recently lost their jobs because of their reckless use of words on social media. I have watched leaders bring pain to people by posting their opinions 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.
Phil Cooke is an internationally known writer and speaker. Through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California, he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use media to tell their story. This article was originally published on Cooke’s blog at PhilCooke.com.