The Social and Spiritual Networking Challenge
One of the primary tools for a church/school to be relevant in today’s world is social media. Taking advantage of the opportunity to promote, share the gospel, and tell “your story” through the platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among others, is something that I feel is important—it provides a chance for the world to connect with our ministry here at TBCA.
Recently, while travelling, I read a book on the value of using social media in effort to “seek and save the lost.” The author mentioned five important rules if one wants to be effective in reaching their social media goals. As I thought about those “rules,” conviction swelled within me—I thought to myself, “these are really good points to help me along my path of reaching some of my personal spiritual goals. Think about these—whether you are involved in “communications,” or you just need a little New Year “shape-up,” there is some deep motivation here.
-Jeremy Chandler, Creative Communications Director
Social Media Challenge 1: Be Consistent: Don’t begin a social network and never up-date it. Up-date at least once a day.
Spiritual Challenge 1: My life verse is Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” We should be consistent in our walk with Christ and in our personal lives. Daily devotions, prayer, and seeking spiritual growth opportunities through books, media, and Christian company is vital to remaining steadfast and solid in our day by day walk.
Social Media Challenge 2: Inspire Your Audience: Inspiration doesn’t always happen “in-person”—it can happen on-line too. Inspire through photos, stories, and encouraging quotes/thoughts.
Spiritual Challenge 2: One of my favorite quotes is “our walk talks louder than our talk talks.” Being “real” and being positive in difficult situations is tough—but doable. Purpose to inspire and encourage others–not just “by mouth”—but by the way we live and the way we handle situations. More often than not, we say more by our actions than we do with our vocal chords. I John 3:18 instructs, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.”
Social Media Challenge 3: Ask Questions: engage socially—start conversations—interact to learn more about your audience.
Spiritual Challenge 3: Listening and learning from our pastors and spiritual leaders is so important. Arguably, asking questions is equally important. Let’s face it, we all have questions, the trick is setting aside our fears and actually asking them. It has been said, “the more you know, the more you grow.” The challenge then is to seek knowledge and wisdom by engaging in conversation and become wide-eyed and opened-eared when around those who can help you grow. Look and glean from mentors and influences. Adhere to Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”
Social Media Challenge 4: Tell Stories: Stories are powerful—Tell stories about how God has done BIG things in your ministry.
Spiritual Challenge 4: Mark 5:19 recalls the instructions of Jesus: “And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” As believers, we should want to “shout from the roof tops” what God has done for us! Want to and doing are two different things; by nature many are too shy to really “shout” like they want to. We need to “work through that” and grasp the holy boldness that Christ assures is ours and share with others the works of God in our lives. Your story of grace may be just what someone needs to help them out of their personal slump. There is power and satisfaction in exalting Christ with our tongue!
Social Media Challenge 5: Share Information: Always be open and honest—communicate and don’t hide the truth. Listen to the information shared by your critics.
Spiritual Challenge 5: Good communication is essential in story telling, as is openness, realness, and honesty. May we seek to be authentic beings? Today’s generation is pleading for “realness” as there has been an obvious lack of it over the past couple of decades. Sometimes it is necessary to not only share the “good,” but to share the “bad and ugly” as well. Honest communication sometimes hurts, but will always lead us in the right direction. We must also be willing to listen to our critics. In my ministry, I love “constructive criticism.” Networking together to help each other improve and grow more into the image of Christ is exciting and God-pleasing. Proverbs 13:17 reminds us that “A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.”
*Sources: #GoingSocial by Terrance Crawford; Church Marketing: 101 by Richard Reising