Online Discipleship: Setting an Example in the Digital Age
Have you ever wondered what it looks like to use social media as a means to influence younger generations? As parents of kids growing up in a digital world, it can be difficult to set an example while also trying to navigate social media.
Jonathan Morrow and Nikki Dutton with Impact 360 give great insight on what it looks like to set a Christ-like example for Gen. Z (people born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s) through online platforms. In their July podcast, Impact 360 Institute outlines what this influence looks like and how to navigate the growing presence of social media. Here’s what Jonathan and Nikki had to say:
1. Ask questions about the platforms you are using:
What is it used for?
Who uses this?
How do I relate to non-Christians on this platform?
Morrow explains that when using social media, it is important to remember that anything shared has the capacity to be viewed by anyone online. This means that all of our social media posts hold great influence inside and outside of our social circles.
“Approach every social media platform as if you are interacting with ‘outsiders’ because the spread of social media is vast.”
2. Ask questions about the platforms you are using:
Who am I speaking to?
How am I reaching others on this platform?
Am I building up or tearing down with what I am saying?
Is this the best time to post this?
Morrow points out that it can be easy to let emotions get the best of us when using social media due to the nature of its speed and vast reach of viewpoints. However, as a parent, it is even more important to be on guard about not just what platforms we are posting on, but also the content we are sharing.
“Treat social media like a conversation, because it is an actual conversation with actual people,” explains Morrow. “Ask yourself, ‘Would I say this if I were sitting next to that person if I were looking at them right in the eye?’”
Often, we forget that social media is a conversation, though we may not be directly interacting with others. Just as you would in a real conversation, it is important to consider the impact of the words we choose.
Morrow suggests that before posting, we asking ourselves, “Does this build my platform, my kingdom or the Kingdom of Christ?”
This perspective allows us to model Christ-like living for our kids in all areas of our life, both online and offline.
“Think about how are we discipling the future generations,” says Morrow. “We have an amazing opportunity to pursue Christ in ways that are intentional [on social media].”
As we model Christ to our kids, let our words and actions online be a reflection of our lives offline.
“Gen. Z is watching. They are aware and have a lot of empathy,” explains Morrow. “What are they learning from you?”
For more information on setting examples for Gen. Z on social media, listen to the entire Impact 360 Institute podcast right here: https://www.impact360institute.org/podcasts/ten-ways-grown-up-christians-can-set-a-better-example-for-gen-z-on-social-media/