Words Matter

Words matter online. If we genuinely care about the lost and our community, we will make every effort, as Romans 12:18 says, to “…live at peace with everyone,” as far as it depends on us. We can’t control what others put out, but we can control how we respond to people and what we post.

The illusion we face is that social media gives us this layer of anonymity, and we are usually braver behind social media than in person. Often, you don’t know who is reading or watching what you post. Knowing your audience is critical to online ministry. 

An example of care put into social media ministry comes from Toccoa, Georgia. The Outpour Church manages a Facebook page and group. Trudy posts for the church in local Facebook groups as part of her bigger strategy. Recently, she shared, “During an unanticipated emergency hospitalization, a care technician asked where I go to church and said she had seen my posts in the local group. She went home and talked to her husband. Their plan was to have bologna sandwiches and listen to Sunday’s sermon for lunch!” 

Whether or not you recognize social media as a ministry, if you are online, you are in ministry. Your words, pictures, and videos reflect your heart. And sharing the Gospel in person or online takes effort, intentionality, and sensitivity sometimes. Technology gives us the tools to reach the ends of the earth if we only learn how to communicate so people will hear. 

How do you build relationships online? It’s no different than your in-person relationships. Here are some basics: 

  • Post non-religious stuff and build something in common with others. Do you like to fish? Do you like horses? What do your friends like? What interests do you share together that you can post to attract more conversation? 
  • Post about your faith for real. What does it mean to you? What are you reading in the Bible? Be teachable. Learn together. 
  • What is praiseworthy? 
  • What are you struggling with? Let people pray for you. It’s okay. Share with discernment. 
  • Privately invite people to church. Sit with them, or watch it with them online. 
  • Use the online world to meet someone for coffee. 
  • Friend or follow new people you meet at church on their social media platforms. 
  • Don’t be too busy for people.