Would Jesus Use Social Media?

By Bill MacLeod, Director, MissionConnexion 

Are you thinking about becoming a content-creator, or using social media to raise awareness for your or your ministry’s impact / influence? What questions do you have about how to proceed? What if you have already begun, but still have questions?

At our MissionConnexion Northwest conference in January, Sean McDowell led a packed workshop session addressing these questions, when he asked: “Would Jesus use Social Media if he were alive today, and if so, how?” With a lot of audience participation, he addressed some of the dangers associated with the medium, what strategies Jesus would have employed, and shared principles for building an effective social media platform.  Here are just a few highlights I captured…

What are Dangers associated with social media?

  • Be aware that the medium brings out the worst in people. Aim to always look for the best in others on social media.
  • You must work hard at being sincere and not just sensational.
  • The lure to gain more followers and more money by saying only what people want to hear is real.

What strategies would Jesus employ if He were to use social media?

  1. Jesus would ask a LOT of questions (Jesus asked 339 questions and Paul asked 262 questions!)

God asks questions because He desires communication and relationship. To engage you might ask….

“If you’re a skeptic or atheist, what is one question you would like answered about God?”

“What does the Church need more today, truth or compassion?”

“If you’re not a believer if you’ve ever been to church, what was your experience like?”

“If you’re a Christian, have you ever seen a miracle, with your own eyes, and if so, what was it like?”

  1. Jesus would engage those with a small following, like the woman at the well, His disciples. Why?

Social media tempts you to only speak to those with large followings, you look at them instrumentally.

So – leave 99 and go for the one.

  1. Jesus would speak truth boldly and clearly, but He would be motivated by love.
  2. Jesus would tell stories.

TikTok entries are all stories. He would NOT use to “virtue signal”, He would look for common ground and probably train them on how to use this medium!

What Principles you should keep in mind when building a Social Media Platform?

  1. It takes consistency and time. (NOT: “If you build it they will come!))

People don’t go to visit websites anymore; social media goes out to reach you.

  1. Watch people who do it well.

It does not always have to lead to a big following. “Platform” and “Lane” have a lot to do with it. Twitter: Frank Turek, and his team do a great job. You Tube: Allen Paar (The Beat); Melissa Dougherty, Read “The YouTube Formula” by Darryl Evers. Instagram: Justin Brierly; Podcasts: Lisa Childers, Justin Sprinkle (Theology in the Raw).

  1. Stay in your lane: “know your audience” – the more niche it is, the better it is.

Longer form biblical teaching is bringing value in some circles. Time: Longform is about an hour on YouTube. Podcasts are 30 minutes due to the average commute time. Figure out your audience and region. How to process with kids? Choose media and discuss afterwards. The Wisdom Pyramid by Bret McCracken. The Bible Project with Drawings. Expedition Bible by Joel Kramer for Archeological programs.

  1. Pace yourself. Start small and increase rather than start high and burn out. At least once a month.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to other people. There is always someone bigger and better. Be faithful with what the Lord gives you and keep getting better. Always be improving.