Evangelicalism—both on the individual and institutional level—is trying hard to purge itself of a polished veneer that smacked of hypocrisy. But by focusing on brokenness as proof of our “realness” and “authenticity,” have evangelicals turned “being screwed up” into a badge of honor, its own sort of works righteousness? Has authenticity become a higher calling than, say, holiness? READ MORE

For the most part, you use your social media and blogs as therapy to find answers after your church hurt you (or to be helpful to others). Or maybe your the pastor who thinks that you should apologize to hurt believers and nonbelievers on our behalf very publicly, casting guilt even on the non-guilty. Your intentions were good. Yet, it’s hurting the cause.

Social media and blogging are, like any other marketing strategy, a public perception. The church has turned from keeping their issues in-house and doing Biblical confrontation to blanket accusations. We’re sniping at each other like a pack of wild dogs over a piece of meat.

What does that look like on the outside?

What if Nabisco’ s employees began publicly tweeting and blogging about how horrible Nabisco cookies were and bad mouthing their employer? What if they made up stories about what Nabisco was or wasn’t doing? It would hurt their brand, the employees would be fired, and it would take years to recover from the negative publicity. The church is no different (except for firing people).

Why should I attend church as a non-believer if all I hear from you is how horrible Christians are and how bad their church is to come to on Sunday?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we create a sense of “me against them” which creates small groups that create ministries whose words insinuate that they are the only ones doing it right.

Since we are all sinners and none of us are righteous (Romans 3:10-12), no one person is doing it “right.” In fact, we work better together than apart. So how can we do social media better and still be “authentic?”

  • Recognize that our God is a creative God. This means, while there is only one way to Heaven through Jesus, there are many ways of Biblicaly doing ministry, depending upon the culture you work or live in. Build bridges, not dividing lines.
  • Confidential is not a Facebook group of less than a hundred. It is a group online with three or four that you feel you can share your secrets with under a setting that insures your posts won’t show up in your friends’ news feed.
  • Walk away from the conversation if you feel angry. Do not respond in anger to anything.
  • Use emoticons to establish mood so nothing is misunderstood.
  • If you have a problem with someone, talk to them first, and then involve a pastor if nothing is resolved. Don’t rip into them online.
  • Recognize the people who attend church with you who have invested in your life, blessed you, or who have worked hard on behalf of someone else.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t post articles on how to be a better church. Some bloggers, like Thom Rainer and others do a fine job. They are objective and write from the perspective of one teaching and guiding (tone). A lot of us are not taking the time to think through how our words would be read by different people groups and backgrounds. It’s just easier to vent. The church is made up of dysfunctional people, struggling like you and me. Not all who attend church are believers. Not all who attend church are horrible either.

Just do the best you can to honor God through your social media and blogging. I hope the suggestions help you. Feel free to share in the comments situations you’ve encountered and how you resolved them.

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About Nikole Hahn

A new appointee with WorldVenture, a missionary organization, who works at FBC Prescott as a church secretary and has joined the world of cybermissions. You can partner with her in ministry, by giving at worldventure.com/nhahn.

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