Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Navigating the Minefield of Social Media as a Lay Leader (Part 2)

As a quick review, last week we discussed the impact of social media and how the content that we post can be viewed by the unchurched. As a news junkie myself, I understand this all too well. Years ago, I continuously posted content that was viewed as offensive to my friends and family on social media. How do I know? They were quite vocal in letting me know, and the resulting dialogue was often heated and stress-inducing. It impacted my work and my time with family as I would be more focused on drafting up my next rebuttal in my feed’s latest argument.  After years of this behavior, many unfollowed me, unfriended me, and wrote me off as an individual not worth listening to. As the Lord began to get a hold of my heart, I began to realize the damage that I had been doing, and I repented. To wrap up this series, let’s unpack the other two of the three principles to consider when navigating the minefield of social media use as a lay leader within the church.

Who Do You Follow?
Who you follow is more common knowledge than you think. Sure, someone can look at who you follow, but social media platforms like Twitter have a way of bringing this knowledge to the forefront. For example, tweets may appear on your feed of individuals who you don’t follow, and the reason for this is because someone who you follow, follows them. Social platforms do this to innocently connect you with more individuals who you may want to follow, but the unintended consequence of this is that others will know who you follow, whether you’d like them to know or not.
What Do You “Like?”
Similar to the previous section, the posts and content that you “like” or mark as “favorite” may show up on other individuals’ feeds as well (even if they do not follow the individuals that posted the content that you “liked”). Before clicking that heart underneath the post, ask if your followers would be interested in that content as well. Treat it like a retweet or a share, because it is possible that your actions will show up on others’ feeds, whether you intended it to or not.

Which is More Important?
Since that season when the Lord got a hold of my heart, I committed to filter my content through the lens of Scripture and post only life-giving content. Yet, even though I am now more cognizant of my social media presence, I still wonder to this day how many people in my social media network I lost connection with. I wonder how many I could have retained and how many would have been able to hear of the good news that I am sharing now, had I just simply given more prayerful consideration to the articles and comments that I was publishing. Over time, my heart was pierced and I came to the point where I needed to decide which was more important: being right, or giving God the glory He deserves.

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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