After being sent home from college in the spring of 2020 due to a global pandemic, I found myself with an abundance of time and a shortage of community. With confusion and fear surrounding the pandemic, my face-to-face interactions were extremely limited. I was quickly reminded of the importance of Christian fellowship as my spiritual health began to suffer.
As nearby churches found innovative ways to navigate the pandemic, I was thankfully able to reconnect with other believers to revitalize the aspects of my walk that had been suffering. I make mention of this not to stir up debate on the various routes churches took when navigating the pandemic, but to say that something was still missing. While the pandemic created a difficult barrier for discipleship, it proved to be even more problematic for evangelism.
While the pandemic created a difficult barrier for discipleship, it proved to be even more problematic for evangelism.
With far fewer in-person evangelism opportunities, I found myself burdened for the lost but discouraged by a lack of proximity. Because of this, I did what many did during 2020—I turned to social media to connect with others. However, I did so with the goal of sharing my faith with non-believers and encouraging others with biblical truth. Throughout 2020 and the years following, I came to realize that while social media certainly has its dangers, it can also be leveraged as a powerful tool for sharing the gospel.
The Modern Marketplace
According to Pew Research, 72% of American adults are active on social media, a number that is likely to continue growing. The reality is that billions of people worldwide are engaging with new cultures, ideas, and religions on a daily basis due to the rise of social media. While social media undoubtedly poses a new set of problems for believers to navigate, the prospect of billions of people being exposed to the gospel digitally should make us more excited than concerned.
Throughout the book of Acts, we see the apostles unashamedly proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus in a variety of contexts. The gospel was preached wherever new ideas were dispersed and people gathered publicly (Acts 17:17).
In ancient Rome, the marketplace served as a central location where new ideas, teachings, and philosophies were dispersed among the broader population. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that the digital frontier is the marketplace’s modern equivalent. Christians have a responsibility to steward their social media platforms for God’s glory, namely through the public proclamation of the gospel.
If we make time to post about vacations, politics, and sports, then we surely have time to share about our Savior.
There is certainly a temptation to look down upon social media ministry due to some of its negative side effects. Many of us are familiar with those who flaunt the name of Christ for selfish gain or distribute false teaching via Instagram or Facebook. However, it would be a foolish overgeneralization to cite these cases as a means of justifying silence about Christ on our own social media accounts. If we make time to post about vacations, politics, and sports, then we surely have time to share about our Savior.
In a digital space that is constantly evolving, engaging others with the gospel can be challenging and overwhelming. Consider taking these practical steps when sharing the good news via social media.
Take the Leap
Sharing the gospel on social media can be daunting. However, it is comforting to know that millions of Christians before us have wrestled with similar anxieties and uncertainties when sharing their faith publicly.
Jesus is well aware of our occasional timidity and fearfulness, which is why he reminds his disciples in Matthew 28:20, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” With this promise in mind, we can take the leap and share that passage, testimony, or gospel video, knowing that Christ’s guiding and empowering hand is with us.
Stick to the Basics
Romans 1:16 reminds us that the gospel itself is the power unto salvation for everyone who believes. In this simple truth lies much peace. Our linguistic skill, aesthetic, and persuasive techniques do not hold the power to eternal life. Instead, the good news of our risen Savior is sufficiently powerful to alter someone’s eternal destiny. Our posts should aim to glorify Christ rather than ourselves. We ought to make much of Jesus rather than attempting to make a name for ourselves.
Faithful, Not Popular
Many people are afraid of sharing the gospel because others may be offended by our posts. As believers, we can expect some people to be offended by the gospel because Jesus tells us to (Matthew 10:22). While this doesn’t give us the freedom to be overly harsh or offensive, it serves as a reminder that in our pursuit of faithfulness to Christ, we may find ourselves critiqued or questioned. When this happens, we must follow the example of the apostles who rejoiced for being counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s name (Acts 5:41).
Back to the Cross
Conversations involving faith are more likely to pop up on our social media feeds when certain social or political hot topics are trending. When engaging in discussion with non-believers, we must be diligent to bring these conversations back to the cross. This means allowing the gospel to shape the lens through which we view pressing issues.
In doing so, we emphasize God’s grace as revealed in the gospel. This doesn’t mean we should compromise on ethical issues with clear biblical implications. It does, however, mean that God’s greater redemptive narrative should be central in these conversations. When heated discussions are in the headlines, consider using social media to connect with people in person. Face-to-face conversations are usually the wisest way to discuss hot topic issues.
Preaching to the Choir
Throughout the book of Acts, the apostles contextualized their presentation of the gospel with various audiences in mind. While the message was the same, the delivery often differed. When sharing the gospel on social media, it is important to take into account the wide variety of upbringings and worldviews we may be engaging with. We must resist the temptation to “preach to the choir,” instead opting to meet our audiences where they are with a simple message of hope.
Consistency of Witness
In order for our evangelism to be taken seriously by a world that is fed up with the hypocrisy of the church, we need to consistently glorify Christ across all aspects of our online presence. This means being careful and intentional with our likes, comments, and reposts so that our witness does not suffer.
Conversation is Key
In my experience, the most fruitful interactions that take place on social media happen in the conversations resulting from posts—not the posts themselves. With this in mind, we should be happy to engage in a one-on-one conversation with our skeptical non-believing friends. Whether in person or through direct message, the conversations sparked on social media should be seen as golden opportunities to provide a reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).
Social media is full of people who want to be heard and will do anything to garner attention. It might seem like that passage or testimony you feel burdened to share will quickly be forgotten in the endless flow of content begging for clicks. However, you never know who the Lord might bless through your faithfulness to share. This is why partnering our posts with prayer is essential.
The Lord alone sovereignly brings growth. We would be foolish not to first run to him and plead that he would bless others through our witness on social media. Even more so, we should ask the Lord to reveal our true intentions in sharing, to reveal our witness to the right people, and to soften the hearts of those who may encounter the good news online. Thankfully, we serve a God who is faithful to answer the prayers of his people. As with any mission field, prayer cannot be neglected if revival is to take place through our witness on the internet.
Lord of the Harvest
Over the past two years, I have seen the Lord bring about genuine life change through the proclamation of his Word on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. I have had hundreds of conversations with non-believers about Christ’s work on the cross and have even seen people come to know the Lord as a result.
While the enemy would certainly love to weaponize social media as a tool for his schemes, our sovereign God has proven again and again that even a domain as corrupt as social media can be redeemed for his purposes. When sharing the gospel online, let us find our confidence in Christ alone, for he has promised us that his Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).