Christian. Stop using Facebook as your private theological message board and start using it to be on message about Jesus

Ok. Long title. I know.

megaphone on facebook

I hate to get on anything like a high horse when it comes to how people use social media. I’m far from perfect when it comes to what I post on Facebook, and I’d love to be more authentic about my life and about the part my living hope in Jesus plays in my life so that people find the Gospel attractive because of how I approach this platform.

I hate to be negative – it’s much easier to point out what people are doing wrong, rather than pointing out what they’re doing right. But seriously.

Christian.

Shut up.

Stop using Facebook as a sounding board or a location for a debate about whatever argument is the hot button issue of the day. Start a blog. Start a forum. Start a private group on Facebook. Meet up in person. Go to theological college.

Just stop using Facebook to air your theological differences. Differences that arise about 20 years after you figure out who Jesus is. Not everybody is as enlightened as you, or as ready to hear about the obscure nuances surrounding a Greek word. I think you’ve picked the wrong Greek word anyway – preaching is preaching. Not teaching.

Preaching is about pointing people to Jesus. The king. It’d be great if you started using Facebook to do that more, combining your Facebook clout to push positive Gospel stuff into people’s newsfeeds (and I know many of you already do – just stop doing the distracting stuff).

Facebook will serve up what its algorithms decide is popular. If you’re a Christian on Facebook – help your non-Christian friends meet Jesus. Not your theological hobby horse. Help them meet Jesus by sharing stuff about him. Authentically. Stuff you read that excites you. Comment on threads of other Christians to encourage them. People will know Jesus is for real when they see he changes the way we relate to each other – online and offline. People will know Jesus is for real when they see the love we have for each other when we use communication mediums differently to others. Facebook is full of narky arguments about politics and economics and other dross. Why are we adding to the noise.

Let me leave you with a visual. An image of what you are doing when you dive in, boots and all, into the latest controversy. Whatever your contribution.

Christians. Picture two people with megaphones standing in a crowded public square. Yelling at each other about obscure theological differences. Picture those two people being joined by other people. Yelling essentially the same thing. With megaphones. The noise amplifies. This is how Facebook works – it decides what to put in a newsfeed based on how much noise it is making. Every time you comment on one of these controversial threads it throws your post into newsfeeds of all sorts of people who have no idea what you’re talking about.

Now.

Picture the crowd, looking around. Puzzled at why the obnoxious noise is interrupting their lives. Picture how seriously they’ll take you when you turn around to tell them about Jesus.

Jesus is great, and I’d love people to be hearing about him through how we use Facebook, not getting an update on the latest example of Christians bashing each other over the head over our minute disagreements (important though they may be).

This is how some of you are using Facebook. Please stop. Find somewhere else to yell at each other. Facebook is a public square. It is not a BBQ with friends, you aren’t at the pub, you are in front of thousands of people – potentially tens or hundreds of thousands.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

3 thoughts on “Christian. Stop using Facebook as your private theological message board and start using it to be on message about Jesus”

  1. Sure.
    It does look a bit cute when the ‘we’re arguing in public’ thing pops us in a comment thread where something passively provocative is being responded to.
    I like to think the majority of stuff I post on from other places is positive, and the stuff that isn’t usually serves as illustrating why we have the distinctives we have. (Or the ‘you think I exaggerate and make this stuff up’ category.)
    And maybe we could additionally demonstrate differences of opinion that also demonstrate and affirm love and respect for everyone we engage with.
    I’ve been pushing the barrow for a while that any group of idiots should be able to look loving if they appear to be in complete agreement about everything.
    The love of Jesus which consumes us and that we show to others is best shown in how we disagree.

    1. Hi Gary,

      That’s why I didn’t post a link to this post on any such thread – it needs to happen apart from the particular discussions or it’s totally passive aggressive and unhelpful (while also adding fuel to the Facebook fire).

      In your third para – are you talking about posts on garyware.me? Or on Facebook? I’d want to make a massive distinction between the two and have a different approach to content based on the different natures of the platforms and different audience.

      I’d love us to disagree well on Facebook. I’ve seen models of that. But I’ve seen lots of models of disagreements featuring hundreds of comments that spread around Facebook like wildfire and are a massive distraction from anything else people who contribute then turn around to say… I think there’s plenty of disagreement on Facebook. Especially at the moment with all the chatter about the budget. I’d like us to practice modelling encouragement more before we practice modelling disagreement.

  2. Even if you avoid the minor in-house issues of christian theology and just identify things in society that are sinful or against what the bible calls us to, you’ll not get a welcome response, no matter how winsomely you put it.

    Jesus is awesome as he forgives my sins and provides a way for me to be reconciled to God through his sacrificial death and resurrection paying the price for my sins. Without knowing what is sin and that God defines sin rather than the whims of a fallen society, i have no idea of my need for a saviour. If you include the pet sin of someone in a list of other sins, and even if you include yourself as a chief among sinners, it isn’t received warmly.

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