Social Media Tip: #FathersDay

Father’s Day is this today. In a time when we like to re-define the word father as meaning anything and anyone, I hold to the traditional definition. A father, whether single or married, who adopted or whose child is biologically theirs, that showed up every day, worked hard to provide for his family to the best of his ability; yes, that is the father we celebrate today. If you are a mother, you have your own day. Today, let’s put aside our anger towards the ones that let us down, and honor the ones who showed up.

You can even stay off social media if Fathers Day is unpleasant for you or celebrate with others that good fathers do exist. Try to keep it positive today.

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Confessions of a (Sort Of) Reformed Passive Aggressive

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Has Social Media Crashed Your Relationships?

What we put on social media reflects our hearts and makes us focus on those things which weigh heavily on our emotions. No matter how vague we think we are being on social media, the pain spills out and becomes a manuscript for others to read of what is going on inside of our heads.

As a Social Media Missionary, I wrestle constantly with myself to decide what my motive is behind publishing. It’s so tempting to have a targeted audience and it is such a fine line. How do we express the grief, anger, and pain in responsible ways so others can minister to us or so we can minister to them?

 Several faces do come to mind as I write this piece. It’s unavoidable. No one is completely un-passive aggressive. Our lives reflect what we see and experience, and this translates onto social media. Social Media is no different than face-to-face. We share stories with our friends on and offline. Gossip is a constant threat because friends can also share those stories publicly even when done in face-to-face situations. The copy and paste feature is the only difference between Social Media and face-to-face communities. How do we use social media responsibly as we battle the temptations of the tongue and wrestle with our pain?
I have some suggestions:
  • Ask yourself why you want to post something. Before you hit publish, search out your heart. Read some Bible verses that address this area. Read the context. It matters less what inspired the post as it does why you are posting it.
  • Where’s God’s lessons in the post? Will it irreparably harm a relationship? Will it cause dissension? Will it harm someone else’s relationship? If you insist on posting the post, treat it separately from yourself. Change names, dates, and even make it out to be a “friend.” Change details so it is so far removed from the actual event that God’s lesson comes out while keeping the relationship secure.
  • Passive aggressive behavior doesn’t change people.  When my passive aggressive behavior was out of control, relationships were harmed. This is actually a symptom of a need to control other people from a place of fear. Trust God to handle people and pray for them. As Sheila Walsh said in one of her books: The prayer might feel insincere at first, but eventually God will work on your heart and the prayers you say for them become authentic. These days I pray that God will change me even if the other person won’t change their behavior.
  • Set healthy boundaries on your friends and relationships. This is important. People can be great in face-to-face, but toxic online. Or maybe a lot of drama is happening in that person’s life and you need a break from it? First, “Unfollow” the friend. On Facebook, unfollowing isn’t unfriending. It keeps their feeds from showing up on your newsfeeds, but you still have access to their profiles so you can minister to them or be a friend. If the drama continues to impair your ability to be a friend, “unfriend” them only as a last resort. On Twitter and Google Plus it is less confrontational to unfollow or take them out of your circle. People take it too personally on Facebook. As this article states, many reasons exist for people unfriending others. Taking everything personally will make you a very lonely person.
  • Set up a Facebook group (set to secret) or Google Community (set to private) for people you trust so you can let them minster to you or you to them. A Calvary Church Facebook group has approximately 14,000 people on it and it is set to public. This means it is not an ideal place to share confidential prayer requests or problems. Setting up a group of your most trusted friends is a better idea. You are allowing people to share your burden without gossiping, being passive aggressive, or harming relationships.
Meanwhile, don’t be afraid of online community. It can be beneficial especially if you live in a place where you are having a difficult time connecting. Engage people. Talk to them about what they shared. Be a part of their lives as much as they are a part of your virtual life. You can’t live as if everyone will break your trust and heart. Trust God to make your heart whole again and live your life pouring into others lives even if they let you down.

New Ideas Always Inspire

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New running shoes are beautiful. Not a single mud splatter or tear and it even smells like new shoes. The joy in that object fades as the wearer of the shoes have to actually run. Running shoes were meant to be used, like tools of ministry.

People always get excited about starting a new online ministry. Any online ministry can be effective, but it all boils down to the work of volunteers. Without consistency and engagement, an idea will fizzle like yesterday’s opened liter of Pepsi. That’s why I design a church’s online ministry with the volunteers in mind.

For low turn-out, I work at making an online ministry feasible even in a volunteer drought. That’s what I love about social media and technology. The concept is simple, like running shoes.

Just put them on and go. Get online and talk. But like running, getting in shape to run long distances takes time. Ministry cannot be results driven. It’s not the numbers that matter, but how a person can holistically be led to the Lord and discipled. When you read a missionary’s letters, the emphasis is not on how many people came to the know the Lord today (although, that is their goal), but the stories are always around the relationships.

Jesus discipled through relationship. 

We shouldn’t be any different. He even went to where the people were to preach and serve. Just google how many miles Jesus is said to have walked in his life of ministry. You’ll be amazed.

He didn’t even have my beautiful running shoes, just sandals. 

How to Know Your Target Audience

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Social Media professional, Giselle Aguiar, says, “You need to look at everything objectively. Step back and look at it through the eyes of your target market.” 

When using social media, as not just a tool for business, but as a tool to disciple and spread the Gospel, you need to listen to her advice. Look at her suggestions here.

As a writer, you are taught to know your audience. This advice is applicable in life, planting churches, mission work, etc. Knowing your audience as a believer means following, mentoring, and praying for them. Shape your audience with the truth from a place of compassion. You can’t share the truth with them unless they let you in their community.

Have YOU ever listened to unsolicited advice?

Your blog or social media is an extension of your livingroom. Make it a great visit so they return.