When I read devotions, it’s always talking about using different words; find a new narrative in your head; because using different words will change how you think and feel. People, especially older adults, think of the online world as self-serving instead of serving.
If the narrative in your head is “self-serving,” you will spend less time on it, not use it strategically, and make that face you make when someone mentions social media. It’s not about becoming relevant as a church, but getting involved in people’s lives. You can keep your involvement simple or learn marketing to cast a broader net. I’ve found that God will direct you to certain social media apps if your heart is willing to serve.
What does serving online look like?
- When someone posts a status that you feel the need to pray for, your timely comment, email, text, or private message is meaningful rather than just lurking. Your acknowledgment of love to that person will encourage them.
- If someone needs help financially or with a food box, you can personally connect them with a Christian ministry in their area. Send them a private message, email, or text and start that conversation. Be their online friend while that Christian ministry becomes their face-to-face friend, walking with them in their struggles.
- If someone becomes a believer, you can connect them with a pastor, deacon, or elder who can disciple and baptize them and ensure the “ball isn’t dropped.”
- Encourage someone online in their goals.
- Be an accountability partner with someone.
- Be louder than the voice in their own heads so their identity can be aligned with Christ rather than whatever label the world pastes on them.
Communication is a big problem. People under use the tool or spend all their time marketing. Any tool can be negative, but it’s up to the church to use this tool to bring the people online into a fellowship of faith. If you don’t use this tool, someone else will.