This post is part 18 in the series 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online leading up to and following Internet Evangelism Day on April 25. We encourage you to tweet, share, blog & discuss these ideas in your church & circle of influence.
Outdoor baseball just returned to the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Twins moved in to Target Field this month and everyone has been talking about the new stadium. So when someone I follow apologized for tweeting about his depressing family situation, someone else responded, “Life isn’t always a new baseball stadium.”
Yes! Life is messy. Sometimes we’re soaring and sometimes we’re dragging. There’s no reason to pretend everything is always awesome in our online interactions. I’m convinced real and ultimately beneficial online interactions only happen when we are honest.
Which brings me to evangelism. I’m a big believer that the best way to do evangelism is to live your life. So it follows that the best way to do evangelism online is to live your life online. I don’t mean turning into some kind of creepy online hermit who only interacts with people through the Internet. That’s weird. I mean interacting with people online in an honest and real way.
We should share our lives on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, blogs or wherever else we reside online. If we truly believe and live out the gospel, then as we share our lives online the gospel can’t help but come through. It won’t necessarily be a direct gospel presentation, but it will come through in interactions with friends, in responses to tragedy (both personal loss and national/global calamities), in our perspective, in how we help one another, the causes, links and ideas we champion, etc.
Evangelism online shouldn’t be like an unexpected God bomb that kills a conversation and sends people running. It should be a natural part of who we are and should consistently flow out of our lives. That means we shouldn’t feel the need to pose as some pious Mother Teresa online. People can sense a hypocrite online just as easily as they can in the real world. You can fake it online, but why bother? Nobody is perfect, and we shouldn’t pretend to be perfect online.
I recently published a book of Twitter posts called Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 Characters. It’s a collection of tweets about the funny things my kids say and do, the causes we support and the story of my son’s adoption. Essentially, it’s our life. While the book includes funny and touching moments, it also includes frustrations. The afternoon I curled up in front of the TV with chocolate and soda to regain sanity is in there. Why? Because it’s real. Because I’m not a perfect dad and even though I love my children, sometimes they make me want to pull out my hair (and kids wonder why dads are so often bald). And that’s OK.
I never once share the gospel in the book. But it naturally seeps out of my family’s life (I hope) and you can see that in the book.
Likewise the gospel should seep out of our Facebook pages, our tweets and our blogs, not in altar calls worthy of Billy Graham, but in our day-to-day actions. That’s how Internet evangelism should happen—one tweet, comment or video at a time.
No stranger to technology, Kevin D. Hendricks started blogging in 1998. He works as a freelance writer and editor (you may recognize his handiwork on Church Marketing Sucks), watching the kids by day and working by night (and naptime).