Recently I went to the Premier Digital Conference in London, and the overarching theme of the day was digital evangelism: sharing our faith online.
It’s always an inspiring conference but I was particularly challenged this time when Rachel Jordan Wolf, Head of mission and evangelism for the Church of England, raised the need for a movement of people online -for us all to be the people who God made us to be kin the digital world. How many of us talk about our faith online? How many of us actually consider whether we are representing Jesus on our social media? Imagine how much of an impact we could all have if we shared a few thoughts or comments every now and then?
So if you’ve not considered it, or if you’re wondering how you can share your faith on your social media, or how to start, here’s a few tips & thoughts on how to get going.
- Firstly, friend or follow non Christians! How can you share The Word if all you do is follow people who have already accepted it! Rachel Jordan Wolf shared these stats at the conference:
67% of the population knows someone who is a Christian
43% of the population believe Jesus rose from the dead
20% of those who have had a conversation with a Christian, want to know more.
So there are a lot of people out there who genuinely would be open to hearing about faith! Get following some of them!
- Don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that can happen? A few negative comments or an ‘unfriending’? Isn’t Jesus worth more than that? And anyway his word talks a lot about not fearing, so trust and go for it!
(also it’s worth having a standard response ready in case you think you are going to get negative feedback, like: ‘thanks for that, I’m not going to engage with that online but have a great day, bless you’) which gives you an out if you need it.
- Start simple.You don’t have to go all out JESUS JESUS JESUS! You can retweet a faith filled tweet, or a scripture graphic from another user; or you could join in with an online initiative like Thy Kingdom Come, or 40 Acts; or perhaps simply mention that you have been to church this weekend…
- Use themes that are accessible, like spirituality, mindfulness, or prayer. These can often create an opening to talk/ comment further. For example, mention you have had a ‘quiet time’, or have been praying for something.
- Be you in the way you interact online – don’t try and be holy and perfect! Also think about what are you good at? How can you use that for God’s glory online?
Maybe you love walking on the Downs? So share some pics with the hashtag #GodsCreation or mention how creation brings you closer to God.
- 6. Create opportunities for people to respond. Ask questions.
Eg: ‘just off to pray for friends and family, can I pray for you today?’
‘Loved church this morning, challenging and uplifting. If you ever want to come with me, let me know!’
And then make sure you respond if someone comments or replies!
- Share your story. How is Jesus at work in your life? Can you share how you became a Christian (in short form – social media is not the place for an essay!) but also think about the every day, how has prayer helped you recently? Has a scripture really stood out to you today? The word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) so believe that it can work in people’s hearts – even online!
- Always remember who you represent (goes for real life too!). None of us are perfect of course, but try and post with grace and humility. You might be the one Christian someone knows. Getting ranty or cross with someone on Facebook might not be entirely helpful, but being someone who brings a peaceful approach to difficult conversations can really have an impact.
Some good advice I received was: never post on social media, after 9pm, after an alcoholic drink, or when at emotional extremes. All of these can affect your ability to post with reason and with love. Step away from the keyboard or turn off your phone, and come back to it another time.
- Use images and videos, people love something to look at. Use your own or check out some of the Christian resources for image and video that are available. Using Facebook Live means it is automatically highlighted in your friends feeds, so why not be brave and do a quick live piece about why you are a Christian?! Videoing on a smart phone is really easy and super easy to share too.
- Resources and hashtags
Hashtags help your posts to be seen by people interested in a particular topic so use an existing one like #LoveMyChurch or #TeamJesus and it will help people to see your posts more, or invent your own!
There are masses of resources to help you share your faith online too. For example, check out YesHeIs (https://uk.yesheis.com/en/) Go Chatter Videos (https://gochattervideos.com) and Speak Life to name just a few (https://speaklife.org.uk)