Front Row Faith by Tracee J. Swank

When your experience exceeds your expectation…share it!

Front Row Faith by Tracee J. Swank - When your experience exceeds your expectation…share it!

You’re Giving Up What for Lent?

As we approached Ash Wednesday I noticed a number of online status updates about giving up social media for Lent. This led me to several challenging questions. I believe social media is one of the great symbols of relationship building and sharing our faith stories we have.

Give up Candy Crush, Words with Friends, scanning YouTube videos, sure. But to entirely give up social media for 40 days is a challenge for me to understand. I am asked a lot by church members, leaders, and pastors, “How can we reach more people for Christ and be better at making disciples?”  My answer is we need to be more effective at sharing our God stories with people we have relationships with in our networks. This includes our online and offline network of relationships.

So, why would you give up using a platform to share the story of Jesus and the journey to the cross?

Why give up a vehicle you can use to build relationships with the unchurched people in your network?

Why during the most important 40 days of the Christian Church calendar, would you voluntarily choose to stop using a platform to tell about Jesus on the cross and what the hope of the resurrection means to our lives today?

I get it too many people are addicted to their mobile devices, Facebook statuses, and instantly sharing pictures of their lunch. I understand you could argue you don’t have any unchurched friends in your network. I would not disagree with anyone who felt they needed to make a change in this area. Is it so we can share we sacrificed and gave up something?

What about the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?

What about sharing the hope of the resurrection?

Can’t we use this time and these platforms to intentionally through our relationships share the difference Jesus has made in our lives?

In 40 days we will see thousands of fast breaking status updates proclaiming, “He is risen!” And those who haven’t given up social media will reply immediately, “He is risen indeed!”

But if you have been fasting from the internet for 40 days who in your network, besides your other Christian friends, will even know or care about what this proclamation means? Probably not many.

If you have already made the commitment to fast from social media I am not asking you to break it. (And you’re probably not going to see this post for at least 41 more days anyway.) I am just challenging all of us to think about the culture of the world we live in today and the vehicles we have been given to share our God stories.

Consider if giving up a platform to share the story of the journey to the cross helps you build relationships or further separates you from people who may not understand what Jesus’ death on the cross means for you and them.

Is this the best way to tell the story?

Unfriending toxic Facebook friends – do you?

I do a lot with social media to connect with friends and follow others in ministry on line. I admit I am one of those people who doesn’t personally know all of their Facebook friends. I am not event interested in being one of those people who sets a goal to go meet in person all of their Facebook friends they don’t know. I use Facebook as a networking tool and as a way to read about what others are doing in ministry and how they live out their faith in their work and family life.

Lately I have been feeling the strong desire to unfriend people who seem to post toxic messages, comments, or post overly negative things. Oddly, many of these friends are Christians and even more odd to me is that they post some really bad things and write really bad comments. After I finally found the friend/unfriend button in the new Facebook layout – I have been giving it a workout. Almost daily.

After my fingers do the clicking to unfriend I wonder if other people feel the same way I do about these same friends? I wonder if the people I am unfriending ever know or care why their friend count went down by one because of their remarks. Then I wonder if I should feel guilty for this? (this passes quickly)

So – do you unfriend people you consider to be toxic in your timeline?