Facebook is a very popular social networking service; over the past decade it has grown exponentially and now features over a billion users around the world. Facebook would like to be the Internet’s next major portal, a service through which users connect with each other as well as with the rest of the Internet. As with other Internet services, Facebook provides many temptations: developing inappropriate relationships, expressing ungodly thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, or simply spending too much time on the website and placing greater emphasis on online relationships than on face-to-face ones (cf. Galatians 5:19-21). While we must be careful about these dangers, we must also recognize the great opportunity provided to promote the Gospel of Christ on Facebook as part of Christ’s Great Commission to His disciples (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 1:16).
In their endeavor to be the Internet’s next portal, Facebook allows and encourages groups to set up pages on Facebook (called “like” pages, since users can “like” them). A congregation can set up a Facebook page on Facebook and connect it with their general Internet website as well as other social media pages. Through the Facebook page the congregation can post links to bulletins, lessons (both outlines and mp3 files), share Scripture readings, and post questions or comments on spiritual matters. Congregations can also set up events through their Facebook page to promote gospel meetings or singings. Members of the congregation (as well as anyone else who “likes” the page) can then share these resources on their personal Facebook walls for others to see. All of these resources are free, although Facebook now also offers the opportunity to pay for targeted advertisements to attract visitors to a Facebook page.
Individual Christians have the best opportunity to promote the Gospel through their use of Facebook. In general, Christians do well to consider how to best reflect and shine the light of Christ through their interactions with fellow Christians and their associates in the world on Facebook (cf. Matthew 5:13-16).
Facebook provides a great venue for Christians across the country and around the world to connect with each other and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). Prayer requests can be made, matters of faith and practice can be discussed, and friendships can be maintained, all through posts on individual “walls”, Facebook pages, or through one of the many Facebook groups designed for Christians.
Individual Christians can use Facebook to maintain and foster connections with their family members, friends, and other associates who are not yet Christians. We can participate in conversations with them, either publicly or privately, about the faith or spiritual things as we have opportunity, invite them to gospel meetings or singings, and in other ways demonstrate that we seek to follow Jesus and take Christianity seriously.
Yet the Christian’s participation on Facebook, as with the rest of life, is not a zero-sum game: just as we can seek to promote the Gospel and lead people to Jesus on Facebook, we also might speak and act in ways which gives others reason to revile the faith and to lead them away from Jesus (cf. Titus 3:2, 1 Peter 2:12). We will be known by our fruits (cf. Matthew 7:14-20): based upon our Facebook postings, would our non-Christian friends know that we are Christians, or would we be better known for our political postings, our sports allegiances, or other such things? Do we speak with words as seasoned with salt, or do our words cause unnecessary bitterness and hostility (cf. Colossians 4:6)?
Facebook provides a great opportunity for Christians to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Let us use Facebook to proclaim the greatness and majesty of God for His glory!