This morning, I heard something neat on the radio. Catholic writer Pat Gohn was discussing her article Tithing On Social Media. Her suggestion was that we give God 10 percent of our status updates or tweets every time we use social media. That’s a great idea, isn’t it?
Pat’s suggestion got me to thinking about just how many people are afraid to share their faith on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll share music videos, pictures of our lunch (I have to admit that I enjoy looking at these!), we’ll gripe about the weather, comment on our favorite sports teams, but are often afraid to share anything about our faith. Originally, I had the same fear, but praying for an increase in the gift of fortitude has helped a lot! Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using social media to evangelize.
1. People will think you’re strange – I can’t argue with this one, but many people thought that the prophets, the saints and even Jesus were all strange. If someone wants to consider me strange because I love the Lord and hope to live with Him forever in Heaven, I’m OK with that. No matter what we say or do in life, someone will think we’re strange. Depending on who that someone is, it may be a good thing!
2. You might lose a friend – It happens, but it’s better to get “unfriended” or lose a follower for speaking the truth than to retain the friend by failing to speak the truth. When we pray the Confiteor, we ask forgiveness not only for what we’ve done, but for what we’ve failed to do. Losing a friend for doing the right thing is not the end of the world.
3. You’ll be accused of being a “hater” – Speaking out against gay “marriage”, government attacks on religious freedom or abortion is going to offend some people. You’ll often be accused of suppressing civil rights, not caring about the poor, interfering with a woman’s right to choose or any number of unfair charges. Ignore it…they’re wrong! If you’re upholding the Church’s teaching on these issues, you’re in good company and can safely disregard any negative feedback.
1. You are following the Church’s call to evangelize – Jesus instructed the Apostles to “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The Church has extended that command to all baptized Catholics. If you use social media to post or tweet the “Good News”, you’re listening to Jesus. Good job!
2. You’re standing up for Jesus – The Lord stated that “every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in Heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). Come judgment day, I want the Lord’s support. Therefore, I’m going to follow His advice and acknowledge Him before men by posting inspirational updates.
3. You may save a soul – One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to “instruct the ignorant”. I’ve learned a lot about the Catholic Faith by reading social media updates. There have been times when a Bible verse or reminder about Church teaching has literally stopped me in my tracks. Jesus reminds us that “every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required” (Luke 12:48). If we know and understand the teachings of the Catholic Church, we have the responsibility to share them with others. Did you ever read or hear something on Facebook or Twitter that made you realize you have to change your ways? I have. To be blunt, your status update can save someone from going to hell. Don’t underestimate the power of your words.
Many Catholics panic when they hear the word “evangelization” and feel that it’s “not something we do”. While that is often true, sharing the “Good News” of the Catholic Faith is something that we should be doing. After all, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and it’s up to us to share that truth with others. Social media provides an easy way to do it very effectively.
What is your experience with using social media to evangelize? What suggestions do you have? What are your concerns? Let me know!