As of Monday (I say that because it changes more than daily), Twitter reported more than 165 million users generating more than 90 million tweets a day. The 140 character microblogging platform has taken over the way information is disseminated and become a revolutionary force in areas ranging from our daily lives to international politics.
I will admit that I initially dumped on Twitter and swore I would never be caught doing it. Obviously, as you can see from the sidebar with my Twitter feed, that commitment didn’t last. It has become a new way for me to communicate and relate to others. I share interesting links, quotes or randomness about my life.
As it has developed as a way many communicate and promote ideas, it should naturally be a place for the Gospel to be discussed and presented. However, we should also keep things in perspective when dealing with new forms of communication and their impact on individuals.
|They just keep getting cell phones earlier and earlier, don’t they? Photo from Sxc.hu by Piret Tamm|
Two important reminders, with two warnings, can help us when we are talking about the Gospel in social media platforms like Twitter.
Guideline 1: Make sure you communicate the Gospel.
Sounds simple enough, right? But if you looked at the Twitter feeds of Christians, how many would actually be communicating the Gospel on a regular basis?
People use Twitter to share, some would argue its over-sharing, crazy details about their life. They talk about what they had for breakfast. Traffic going to work. Their plans for the weekend. On and on and on it goes. Why not use the 140 characters for the Gospel?
If you have been on Twitter for any length of time, you have followers. What you write shows up on their Twitter feed. Why not take some time to write about Christ – ways He is blessing you, ways He is challenging you, ways you are learning to obey Him. Use the platform you have been given, a space on your followers Twitter feed, to communicate the Gospel.
Warning 1: Communicate the Gospel, but don’t be fake.
People can tell when we are real and we are putting on an act. Some people never put anything else on their Twitter or the Facebook page except Bible verses or what they are doing for Christ. That is great, but does that reflect your life? Is the only book you are reading the Bible? Do you never watch television or enjoy sports? Do you never just see something randomly funny and you want to tweet that? Do you never mess up and feel the need to share your struggles?
Some people have fake Twitter accounts because the have made up a social media character that is the Christian they want others to think they are. Be real and honest. Your Twitter and Facebook should reflect who you are as a person. You will be able to communicate the Gospel much more effectively if people recognize that you are a real person, not some Christian Frankenstein made in a lab to be the “perfect” follower of Jesus.
Guideline 2: Don’t over exaggerate what you are doing.
I saw a celebrity post this on their Twitter feed:
20m ppl effected by floods in Pk.Awareness is imp.Just Add #Pakistan with each tweet for a day and u can save so many lives.
For starters, you can barely read what that even says. Secondly, um … no. No lives will be saved because a teenage girl added a Pakistan hashtag on her tweet about going to the mall to pick up some cute jeans.
Writing something about Christ on your Twitter does not equate you with Daniel opening his windows to pray even though it was illegal. It does not make you like the early church martyrs. It makes you a Christian talking about their Savior, something we are supposed to be doing anyway. Use Twitter as a means to speak about the Gospel, but don’t expect a Christian Medal of Honor for bravery for doing so.
Warning 2: Don’t underestimate what you are doing.
While there is much more to be done in reaching the nations with the Gospel and tweeting a verse is not going to accomplish it all, it may just help someone else. No one is expecting one tweet to cause a revival to break out in the Muslim world. (OK, maybe the celebrities who retweet about the vital importance of hashtags might, but besides that no one else.) However, your tweet may cause another Christian to reflect on the greatness of God. It may cause a non-believer to reconsider the claims of Christ.
We have no idea how God can use our words, be they in spoken or typed form. The only rule for us is to be obedient and be about sharing the Gospel any way we can, be it in a conversation with a friend over coffee or in a tweet while standing in line to pick up some coffee. Let the Gospel permeate your life in a real way and leave the rest up to God.