When it comes to social media users, Facebook has over a billion, Twitter has about 500 million, and Youtube has about a billion users with an estimated 4 billion views per day. If you use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc., then we want you to share, retweet, and like the content produced by Sovereign Hope Church. The church has good reason for using social media in obedience to Jesus' mission for his church, and you have good reason to join us in this effort.
Are We any Different from the World?
Just about everybody's got Facebook and Twitter. Are we just trying to be trendy? Look cool? Keep up with the social norms so we don't risk irrelevance? Obviously the answer should be decidedly no. Personally I have to be prayerful that God would save me from my prideful, fearful, sinful heart and enable me through his Holy Spirit to obey 1 Corinthians 10:31: "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." That extends to tweeting, liking, Instagraming, and blogging. As a result, I can say that the vision and intention of the church's social media are actually irreconcilably opposed to that of the world's. The world promotes self, but we promote someone else.
Because it's all about Jesus. "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3). And Jesus has given Sovereign Hope Church the mission of Engaging Our City and the Nations with the Treasure of Jesus. One of the easiest ways to do that in an increasingly digital age is through Social Media. One of our Youtube videos alone has reached over 100,000 people and been played in over a hundred countries. Social Media is just one more tool that supports this mission of the church.
Draw, Teach, Connect
Tangibly, we do this in three ways, Draw, Teach, Connect:
1. Draw - We give a snapshot of who we are and what we do.
2. Teach - We preach the gospel to the online mission-field and empower and equip believers for personal gospel-centered ministry through gospel-centered resources, insights, etc.
3. Connect - We encourage one another with various glimpses of what God is doing with the body of Sovereign Hope Church and to understand the greater scope of God's work through the ministries of Sovereign Hope Church.
When content posted by the church gets shared, retweeted, liked, etc., it can give new people a glimpse of:
1. What we emphasize and believe (gospel-centered teaching).
2. What a gospel-centered community looks like.
3. What a life that has been radically transformed by the gospel looks like.
The church continues the teaching that happens on Sundays through the rest of the week with gospel-centered resources that meet us where we are. Each one of us needs God to transform our hearts, and God may choose to use these resources to bring radical transformation in our lives. As Ben Fallon, Communications Director of Paul Tripp Ministries, says, "It's amazing how much you can help someone with 140 characters."
Part of caring for people within the church is helping them to understand what the church offers and does, where they can get connected or help get a friend connected in the church. We want to communicate what we do and how it serves the gospel. We also want to encourage each other with personal stories, such as Stories of Grace and the upcoming #NowMyIdentity video series. Examples of Connect include:
1. Inviting people to events.
2. Sharing news and announcements at the church.
3. Showing what ministries are and do during the week.
4. Sharing stories of what God has done and is doing within the church
No Funny Cat Pics
A funny cat photo would definitely garner a high level of interaction. But we don't do funny cat photos. Our goal isn't the highest level of interaction on Social Media. Interaction may mean more reach to new people, but the content that they're being reached with has to fit within the Draw, Teach, Connect framework. It has to be gospel-centered. Our message isn't that we're a cool church that really uses a lot of social media. The message needs to point to Jesus.
How You Can Help from Your Couch
Social media may be a way of reaching our city and the nations, but a post from Sovereign Hope has very little reach beyond you, someone who already follows us. That's why if you use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc., then we want you to share, retweet, like, etc. From events to testimonies, these posts provide organic snapshots of our church community and what that community is excited about: Jesus. It's not the only way to share Jesus with others in your circle of influence, but it is a way. The Bible makes it clear that the primary way to evangelize is through speaking living words to real people. Social Media is simply another way of engaging people with the gospel and is an extra tool for evangelism in our increasingly digital world.