Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Navigating the Minefield of Social Media as a Lay Leader (Part 1)

When we became lay leaders in the church, we each took the plunge and placed ourselves in the public spotlight. While all Christians are naturally called to pursue a lifestyle that exhibits Christ-like behavior, becoming a lay leader within the church amplifies such a calling. For anyone serving in ministry for a season or more, we quickly discover how impactful our actions may be on the spiritual journeys of others (See below for Romans 14:13-19). As a result, it becomes vital to fully embrace the practice of Lifestyle Evangelism, where our actions become a form of evangelism toward those we interact with on a daily basis. While Lifestyle Evangelism is generally understood within the context of the community or inside the walls of the church, we sometimes forget how this calling also extends to our use of social media as well. Although the early years of social media was established on rather basic privacy settings, today’s age of social media has implemented settings that are at times challenging to navigate. This week and next week, we will unpack three key principles to consider when navigating the minefield of social media use as a lay leader within the church.

What Do You Post?
Beginning with the most easily understood principle to consider, Christians are called to filter their posts through the lens of Scripture. What is the content that you are sharing? Does it breathe life into others? Do the posts that you create or share include content that could be considered controversial by some of the individuals that follow you? Today’s social feeds are a raging battleground of warring political views and politically correct culture. While a lay minister does not lose their freedom to share their personal views on a platform like social media, the fact remains that we are all ambassadors of Christ, regardless of our political affiliations. As secular-minded individuals read the content that we post and share, we are subconsciously associated with Jesus and our posts are viewed as a representation of Christianity and the church. Paul says in Romans 14:14-15, “But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.” He may be referring to the eating of clean and unclean foods in his passage, but the principle is relevant: Those that perceive our posts as offensive will find it difficult to reconcile the principles of Christianity with an “ambassador of Christ” who is perceived as an offensive person.

Next Week
Stay Tuned for next week’s email to unpack two more principles of social media use that we are called to consider as lay leaders!

Romans 14:13-19
“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (NIV).

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