The Theology of Social Media

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Social media outlets have become indispensable resources to church leaders seeking to be faithful to the Gospel in the modern world. While there are practical reasons for implementing social media as part of our ministry models, the more fundamental reasons are theological. We were created to be in relationship with one another. Our need for relationship is part of the image of God in which we have been formed. Relationships help us embody the image of God in which we were created. By deepening our relationships, we convey our deep love for Christ.  Social media can facilitate deeper interpersonal relationships by turning one-way communication into interactive dialogue among individuals, organizations, and communities.

In our changing world, these new technologies can enhance the mission of the church.  Social media outlets have become important instruments of faithful and fruitful ministry as we seek to build relationships and make disciples.

As Christians, we enter into relationships with the hope and expectation that we will encounter the love and grace of God through our interactions with others — and that those with whom we relate will also. “Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me,” says Jesus (John 12:45). When we build relationships through social media, we give witness to the world about how God is working in our lives. And with an estimated 500 million on Facebook, and over 140 million Twitter users active each month, not to mention participants in the many other social media outlets, what a world we can open ourselves up to!

Building and maintaining relationships is also a missional imperative. Social media outlets provide new eyes to see and new ears to hear the needs of our neighbors and those in the surrounding community. On a larger scale, they help us discern the issues present within our society. While social media cannot replace personal interaction, network posts offer a glimpse of people’s current struggles. Social media outlets provide a new way of hearing and discerning these needs.

In our changing world, these new technologies can enhance the mission of the church by allowing us to initiate and cultivate new relationships among broader networks of people.  Social media outlets have become important instruments of faithful and fruitful ministry as we seek to build relationships and make disciples.

This article was adapted from an article that originally appeared in the Virginia Advocate and is used with the permission of the author and publisher.


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About Author

Thomas James

Thomas G. James is Pastor at Washington Street United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Virginia. Previously, he served as resource manager for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.


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