It’s hard to believe, but social media as we know it today has only been around for the past decade. As a medium of communication, social media now dominates all other forms of communication. Social media is the number one reason folks get online. Facebook recently announced that they have over two billion users. That’s almost one third of the planet using a single platform for communication.
Social media discussions in ministry used to center around how to use it. What role does it have in the church? How can we use it effectively to spread the gospel message? Who should manage it? These were good discussions as churches are naturally able to post current content to the various social media platforms thanks to the content created for Sundays each week. There are also plenty of resources available on the topic of how to use social media effectively in churches and ministries.
There is, however, a new area opening up where churches can use their knowledge of social media to help those they serve. I hope that we can all agree that the primary goal of the Christian life is to be growing to become more like Christ. Christianity is not standing still, it is constantly moving towards being like our Savior. This side of heaven that is a continuous process that ends when believers are ultimately sanctified with Christ when He calls His church. We call it progressive sanctification because it is never completed during our lifetime.
So how can churches and ministries apply progressive sanctification to social media? Thanks for asking. One area of tremendous need and ministry potential is helping to close the technology and knowledge gap between parents and their kids regarding the use of social media. Churches seeking to minister to those in their communities will find many opportunities when it comes to parenting and social media.
If there is any organization best positioned to help parents grow and become more sanctified as they work to help their children grow and become more sanctified, it is the church. It should be natural for parents to turn to the church for help in this area, but is the church ready to help them or is it more focused on its own social media presence and not on helping parents and children grow in how they use theirs?
There is a lot of demand for help in this area. I travel and speak frequently on the topic and know there are many others who do as well. Here are three ways churches can take their knowledge of social media and use it to help parents help their kids become more like Christ.
One of the benefits of social media is that we are able to reach people we may not normally reach. We can post something and those in our church can share it, allowing us to exponentially reach folks who may not normally check out anything our ministry posts. Churches can leverage this sharing to post information on parenting and social media.
This is also one way churches can show gratitude for all those shares. Instead of keeping the social media team locked in an office, that team can be used to share information on parenting and social media and provide tips and helps to parents and kids alike.
Social media education can be a huge outreach ministry. Remember the social media team locked in the office? What if they taught classes for those in your community on how to use social media? What if these classes allowed you to serve folks who normally would never set foot in your building? We teach classes on finances, why not parenting classes with a focus on social media?
Parents are looking to understand what Snapchat is, for example, and then how to help their kids use it responsibly. Layer a Christian worldview on top of that and social media education is now an outreach opportunity for your church to show love to those in your community. Survey after survey and study after study show that all parents, from all backgrounds, and with any worldview struggle with helping their kids use social media responsibly because they themselves don’t understand it.
Social media is always changing, and it’s easy to get left behind. What’s new today is old tomorrow. Want to know what’s going to be the next big social media platform? Watch where the teens go. While churches may be slower than teens to start using new social medial platforms, eventually, they get there. As the church stays current it can also help parents stay up-to-date.
It’s understandable that parents may be nervous as keeping up is hard to do but this is where your ministry can continue to share resources and provide education into the future. The opportunities to serve parents and youth around you will continue as social media itself continues to evolve.
The goal is Christlikeness. Christlikeness is a progressive process that we should all work hard at. Churches should use the social media resources they’ve been giving to help educate parents so they can be better equipped to help their kids not only use social media responsibly, but also in a manner that pleases God and advances His Kingdom.