If you’re up to date on your trending hashtags, you know a “tweet” is 140 characters about lunch, not a bird call. If you follow a Facebook feed, you know marriage proposals have gone from moonlit nights of romantic mystery and mariachi bands to quests to create viral videos. Most have embraced the rise of technology and the wonder that is social media. We are in-the-know about our contacts without getting out of bed. But anyone who remembers a time prior to “pinning” and “posting” and “poking” knows that the world communicates differently today. The question is—should we, as disciples, “like” it?
Bible Studies for Life recently conducted research about how people share their faith. Over 1,000 participants answered the question, “How comfortable are you sharing your spiritual beliefs online via social media?”
As expected, those in the 18- to 24-year-old bracket, the millennials, were most likely to say they were “very comfortable” sharing their spiritual beliefs on social media. But, age aside, one of the most interesting findings showed that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to view social media as a good platform to discuss religion.
It is very possible that well-educated people are simply in life situations that don’t mesh well with potentially divisive posts. It is also possible there is logic behind the hesitance.
Why might online discussions about faith be less effective?
- Your tone can be misconstrued, breeding conflict rather than thoughtful consideration.
- You might say something important that gets lost in the barrage of other comments.
- Your comment won’t be truly personal because the rest of the world could be watching.
- You can’t see how the good news is impacting the person you are sharing with, so you can’t react to how they react.
Using social media to share the hope of Christ can be wonderful, but it can’t replace the art of sharing your faith, face to face, with a real person who needs real hope.
The reason younger people are so comfortable sharing their faith digitally is because they grew up with all this technology. But, while more educated people may appreciate a status update as much as the next guy, perhaps they recognize that when it comes to sharing something with such significance, a social media platform isn’t the best place.
No matter your age or education level, sharing your faith can be scary or uncomfortable. But, Paul said that the word of God is “sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow” (Heb. 4:12, HCSB). It is God’s Word that does the work, so gaining a deeper understanding of the Bible and how it changes lives is one of the most important things we can do. Bible Studies for Life is a great tool that will help you prepare to share regardless of #age, #degree, or #ootd.
Beginning this fall, you can pick up two new resources that will help you share your faith. One is a study called Unstoppable Gospel that will show you the exciting early days of the church and help you rediscover what made it so powerful and unstoppable. The other is a study called Unvarnished Truth, a great tool to help you reach the lost. If you want to know more about how Bible Studies for Life can help you connect God’s Word to your life in an intentional way, go to biblestudiesforlife.com for a free preview.
Scarlet Hiltibidal is a writer living in Nashville, TN. Scarlet has a degree in biblical counseling and worked as a Christian schoolteacher before she started writing. She has written for and managed various online publications. Currently, she writes small group curriculum for children and articles on motherhood for Smart Mom. Scarlet is wife to Brandon, who is part of the Groups Ministry Team at Lifeway, and Mommy to her daughters, Ever Grace and Brooklyn Hope. Visit her blog at scarlethiltibidal.com and follow her on Twitter @ScarletEH.