You might read ‘social media’ and negative thoughts or feelings immediately surface in your mind. We can all acknowledge that there are plenty of downsides to these platforms. But if our students are already using these platforms, many for several hours every day, how do we equip them to use social media in a God-honoring way?
For many students, social media is their world. It’s where they connect with their friends, share life updates, hear what’s going on in other people’s lives, share causes they are passionate about, and hear worldwide news. It can easily become a source for those who use it. That is where we must remind our students that this ‘world’ is not what should be filling us as Christians. We must instead use social media to pour out the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
If social media is this generation’s ‘world’, then Christians are called to be a light in this world. That is where their friends are! That is where they can easily share the Gospel. What if we started talking to our students about the opportunity social media can be, not the entertainment it can be? Here is how to start the conversation:
- Spend time during your youth gatherings to address the mindset we can have with social media. Be mindful of how you approach this topic. If you start a sermon, breakout session or small group saying, “Social media is the devil and you should delete all your apps…” you might lose the interest of the room. Yes, time off social media is glorious and needed. But invite your students to change their perspective for when they get on social media (because most likely they will be). Share John 1:5 as a reminder that they are meant to shine for Christ even on their social media platforms. It can be viewed as a tool for the Kingdom, not just our entertainment.
- Exemplify how to be a light with your personal or church social media accounts. Share Scripture, encouragement, and things that point to Jesus! If your church social media creates hopeful, truthful, and encouraging content that your students can repost, they will be empowered to be a light to their friends who will see that post.
Don’t shy away from the conversation and set an example for your students. It is possible to use social media in a God-honoring way!