The teen youth of St. Luke’s three sites gathered at University Lutheran Chapel on Friday, December 6, for the Socially Acceptable Lock-in, to explore how to follow Jesus while navigating through the minefield of the Internet, and specifically social media.

Over the course of the next few days, we will feature a three-part series looking at many of the same topics discussed at that lock-in, as well as provide some tips and tools to equip parents and teens with some resources as they follow Jesus in the digital age.

Read Part 2: How Social Media is Hurtful by Paul Easterday
Read Part 3: Why It Matters by Sam Fink

How Social Media is Helpful

By Andrew Osborne

Today we are living in a world where a message can be shared in a matter of seconds. I have a friend named Anders who lives in Denmark. If Anders and I want to have a conversation, we can simply pull out out laptops, get on Skype and have face to face interaction. In fact, with most of my friends and family around the country or world, the best way for me to keep up with what’s going on in their live is to get on Facebook and look through their pictures and posts. This isn’t the social interaction of your grandma’s days! It’s instant, it’s exciting, and it’s everywhere!

Jesus TextThirty years ago, sharing the Gospel message of Jesus looked much different. In order to share your faith with 500 people all at once, you really needed to be someone like Billy Graham or some type of T.V. evangelist. Even most pastor’s didn’t (and still don’t) have congregations that large. Today, however, is a completely different story. Many people have AT LEAST 500 friends on their Facebook page, if not many, many more. With one click of your mouse, you can share anything you want with all of those people. This can be an incredible tool for us as Christians:

  • You can share your personal story of Christ’s love in your life through what you post.
    • By sharing how Christ’s love is changing you and affecting your life, you might be giving your friends a desire to know how that love can affect them as well.
    • Your able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an invitational, non-confrontational way. People can read your post about how the Gospel is shaping your life without feeling like you’re trying to shove your faith into their face.
  •  Social media sites can be a great place for Christians to encourage one another.
    • Sharing God’s Word on social media sites can have a huge influence on people. God promises to work through His Word, so by sharing it, you are allowing God to do what He does best!
    • Social media sites can be a great place to share and receive prayers from a mass amount of people.
  • Social media can be used to build up and maintain relationships.
    • Many of us, unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to live near the friend’s or family members that we love. Our jobs and other obligations can pull us to different parts of the world. In a busy world where we don’t always have time to call all of the people we wish we could, social media gives us an opportunity to connect with our loved ones and maintain those relationships.
    • For many of us who go on mission trips or to conferences, we meet many people and create a lot of bonds with strangers. Some of these bonds can become extremely strong relationship. Social media can give those relationships a chance to blossom.

As followers of Christ, we are called to o everything we do to bring glory to God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This verse most definitely applies to our social media use. We have an opportunity to bring glory to God like no one else in history could. We have a message that we need to share, and a platform that makes it incredibly simple to do so.

Read Part 2: How Social Media is Hurtful by Paul Easterday