I love the opportunities that social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, etc… provides. By virtue of number of users, Facebook seems to be the clear champion. As of April of 2012 Facebook claimed 900 million users. That is impressive. One day Facebook may outnumber McDonald’s in the number of different patrons.
Social media, especially Facebook, has not only provided me with an opportunity to connect with old friends and many colleagues but it also provides me an opportunity to have a wider influence for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The odds are that you are likely reading this post because of a link provided on Facebook.
The opportunity to teach and influence others for the sake of the gospel is what excites me. That is why I keep this blog up. In fact, one of the pleasant surprises happened a couple of years ago when a person logged on to this blog. That person was reading scripture and looking for a church. I helped that person find a church in their community and later learned that this reader committed his life to Jesus Christ in baptism.
I hope you realize that I’m not telling that story to brag but rather to illustrate to great opportunities that are available for Christians to have gospel influence through social media.
But I do have a concern, particularly with Facebook. All social-media is an extension of who we are. What we post on Facebook, whether it is our pictures or our status updates, is an expression of who we are. Earlier today I quoted in a tweet from Christian author and leader Frank Viola who tweeted, “Whatever you worship, that’s what you end up becoming like.” In my tweet quote, I added “…and so the question is who or what do we look like?”
I believe Frank Viola has made a profound observation in recognizing that we become what we worship. So my follow-up comment about who or what do we look like seems equally appropriate and I want to apply that to the way we express ourselves with social media…particularly Facebook.
What does our Facebook profile say about us and what do our pictures and status updates say? If our profile says that we are a Christian, do our pictures and status updates support that claim?
I am not saying that every picture or status update must be directly Christian. It’s ok to share that picture of the 14-point buck you got or to tell us about your child winning the spelling-bee at school, as such updates typically tend to be nothing more than the enjoyment of the life God gave to us. But there are plenty of Facebook users who, in their profile, describe their religious views as “Christian” and yet their status updates reveal an obsession with patriotism, violence, materialism, hedonism, etc… You know what I am talking about.
So back to Frank Viola’s observation. What do all these updates say about the object of our worship? If we are a Christian, do our Facebook updates really depict us as people who only worship the one true living God?