Scott Smith serves as the Evangelism Consultant in Evangelism Ministries with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Scott understands how social media is a driver in today’s culture and can help us use it as one way to share the gospel.
Does this conversation sound familiar?
- “Hi, how are you?”
- “I’m fine. You?”
- “Good, yeah. Nice weather, eh?”
- “Sure is. Better than yesterday…”
While this line of conversation may sound familiar, this conversation doesn’t happen on social media. It only happens in person – live – when two people are standing in front of each other. When two people meet for the first time, or again as acquaintances, there’s a social “dance” that takes place. Pleasantries are exchanged but the conversation tends to stay “surface.” They talk about non-threatening facts, they might share thoughts, possibly opinions (if given enough time) but almost never their feelings.
Usually personal opinions and feelings aren’t shared openly until later in the dance – much later – after trust has been earned. It’s as if a thick filter exists upon first exchange. The filter naturally erodes over time in the journey into deeper friendship.
That filter is also what makes evangelism a challenge, because evangelism touches on very personal topics like personal sin, religious belief, purpose and ultimate destiny. Most people in the real, non-digital world would rather not talk about those things so soon. But this filter doesn’t exist online. Think about it. The “dance” almost never happens on social media platform. For lack of a better phrase, everyone is “letting it all hang out” while they hang out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Most people online are entering into conversations with people they don’t even know and actually beginning those conversations by sharing their feelings and opinions, skipping the pleasantries altogether.
What this means for gospel-bearers like you and me is that on online social platforms, people expect others to be radically honest and forthright. And each is expected to at least be allowed to do the same. Social media is the place where people are expected to share their opinions and their authentic beliefs about a number of things, including their faith. So do it. Connect. Put your heart for the Christ of the Gospel out there. There has never been a more ripe environment for authentically sharing the message of Christ.
- Make a video of your testimony – speaking Truth, in love and humility – and post it to Facebook or any platform you use. You can do this with your phone most likely. It doesn’t have to be professional. Get more detail and see an example.
- Don’t be shy in posting about your faith in status updates and tweets. Just do it in an authentic and mature way, maintaining respect and humility.
- Ask questions that start discussions and engagement. “What do you think is the meaning of life?” “Do you believe prayer works? Why or why not?” Avoid controversial concepts like denominational differences, or theological nuances that don’t affect one’s salvation. But definitely start conversations.
- “Friend” or “Follow” unsaved people that you know. If your Facebook friends lists is full of only people who are just like you, you’re not leveraging the platform for the Gospel. For many believers, it’s just another place to run and hide from the world or get their values reinforced by others. Remember, everywhere you are – even virtually – you’re there as an ambassador for Christ.
- Every now and then, post a link to a video that presents the Gospel clearly. There is plenty to grab and post from YouTube.
- Don’t be afraid to use what I call a “call to action” at the end of posts, tweets, or updates. One example would be “message me if you want to know more.” This gives the call for someone to take it offline and engage in a Gospel conversation privately that could lead to conversion.
- Actively watch for people “opening up” about their struggles and problems on social media. Again, the filter usually isn’t there. They’ll tell the world online when they’re hurting. These are incredible opportunities to reach out in love and minister… so that later you can share the gospel.
One of my favorite phrases in Scriptures is, “In the fullness of time, God…” What I’m saying is this: Now is the “fullness of time” for evangelism – reaching the hearts of people which they are exposing every day on social media. Let’s redeem the time by sharing the Gospel with one lost soul or hundreds at a time.