Social Media is a disruptor… it has changed the face of commerce, advertisement, content creation/consumption and so much more… Social Media is the most ubiquitous phenomenon of our time! So, it only makes sense that Christians jump on the tech wagon employing social media to further the reach of the Gospel – eMissions, if you will (not to be pronounced as emissions). Whilst some champion the movement and try to create church on the TL (timeline), others dismiss it entirely stating quite simply it’s not real life. Whilst I don’t fully agree with either position, I believe there are things we can pick from both camps.
It is really easy to compartmentalize on social media and interact accordingly – there’s a list/group for everything. However, as Christians, we need to be able to show the world how our faith permeates every minute aspect of our lives and how it interacts with culture. It’s not necessarily by posting a Christian song or quoting scripture (don’t worry, the table I’m shaking won’t fall) – there’s nothing wrong with these but often time when we react to headlines or personal anecdotes of other users, these are prime opportunities to showcase how our beliefs frame our thinking and responses.
It’s not about keeping up with appearances or building a fake pious persona, it’s really about ensuring we have the confidence to state our position with wisdom, grace and tact. You’ll be surprised who could be encouraged by it! But, let’s face it, generally being a Christian in this day and age can seem like being on “the wrong side of history”. You’re one Twitter / Pinterest / Reddit / Tumblr / Facebook / Instagram / [insert whichever SM is all the rage] post away from being labelled the unsavoury term of the season – and better yet it could go VIRAL! Oh, the joy! The easier option is to not rock the boat, right? Whilst that is permissible, does this benefit God’s kingdom? I encourage us to speak the truth in the face of opposing views with wisdom, grace and tact.
Side note: I do not endorse Christians who antagonize or make flippant comments and then try to spin the backlash as persecution. Their reward (notoriety / fame) is here on earth.
Wisdom, grace and tact are crucial in eMissions. Given that most SM platforms are designed for users to consume bite-size bits of information constantly, we may find ourselves at a loss trying to fit the Gospel into X amount of characters. If the topic is particularly complex or lengthy, have a link to an article or document that fully states and explains the topic. Also, do not be afraid to take it offline – I’m not saying every discussion must result in a coffee meeting but if the user is genuinely interested in a particular topic, meeting up (taking into account the constraints of life) may be helpful.
Also, knowing the weight and importance of the Gospel don’t be in such a hurry to move on to the next topic or person. If you are in a discussion with someone, take the time to state your case clearly. Be patient and always present their position in the best light – this doesn’t mean you agree with it. It just shows you respect the person, as a fellow image-bearer and it’ll save you a whole lot of “that’s not what I said/meant” which only serves to detract from the conversation.
Sometimes, we may encounter keyboard warriors / trolls – who don’t really care to have a constructive discussion – their aim is to undermine and ridicule. Once this becomes apparent, you are well within your rights, purchased by the blood of the lamb, to dust your eSandals and keep it trucking. This may even mean taking an ‘L’ for Jesus – where the love of Christ constraints you from giving it to them ‘as e dey hot’. It is written (somewhere), blessed are those who take an ‘L’ for my name’s sake…
Using social media can often feel like walking on eggshells or navigating through landmines but we have to do more than drink water and mind our business. We must interact! But we must do so with wisdom, grace and tact.
Go forth into that group chat / timeline / story and to the ends of your WiFi. Preach the gospel!
“Lola [Olukogbon] writes because she can and writes for City Church because they’re family. Navigating her faith in the appropriate context without relegating it to a part of her whole has been her biggest discovery so far! She also writes at www.thelolaexperience.com BUT if you’re interested in more off-the-cuff commentary, she’s on twitter — where all her tweets are uniquely inspired by carbs, Christianity and the city of Stresselence, Lagos. (@UnOfficialLola)”