Feb2014-cropFacebook now has over 1 billion active users who access the site at least once a month. Twitter has roughly a quarter of that. Like it or not, participate in it or not, social media is growing.

For many this has been a tremendous blessing. Churches and para-church ministries have been able to quickly, effectively and inexpensively get the word out about what they are doing and how God is working. These sites have functioned as excellent communication tools for churches, ministry teams, and church staff. They have been used to raise funds for important works and help missionaries keep in touch with people around the world.

Social media also has a dark side. A very dark side. We have all seen Christians get into arguments, full of venom and hatred…splashed all over public space for all to see. We have seen Christians link to things or discuss things that were completely inappropriate and you wonder how it is that Christians came to accept these things so easily. What is more, it seems that our worst qualities and attitude get amplified in the perceived distance that a keyboard and screen or a smartphone allow and people end up saying and doing things they would never say or do if the other person were sitting in the room. We are not calling for social media Christian watchdogs here. Instead, we are casting a vision for how we can use social media for eternal good and wholesome purposes…in ways that reinforce and confirm our Christian faith and priorities.

So how do we, as Christians, use social media in ways that are consistent with our faith? In what ways does social media impact our faith for the good and for the bad? How do we use them responsibly and where are the lines of what is appropriate and what is not? How do you keep accountable in the land of no accountability?

Social media is what we make of it. Like any other form of communication we can use it and leverage it for great good for the kingdom of God or we can use it for great harm. We can access it to further our message and mission or we can use it in such a way that makes or at least reflects a faith that is weak, struggling or completely absent. In this issue we are going to highlight some of the ways social media has been used effectively for the advancement of kingdom purposes and also discuss how it is used by Christians in ways that are inappropriate and inconsistent with the Christian faith.