The Social Media Conundrum

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written by Mpho Khoele

Dum, dum, dum…(dramatic pause)

Who can ever forget this: Joel Osteen, Hurricane Harvey, September 2017.

The televangelist caused a media storm when the church’s doors were closed to hurricane victims. Social media was having none of it! The meme factory was working overtime with a torrent of ridicule and indignation.

So what was the big deal?

I was recently involved in an interesting debate with friends at church about Christians on social media. We were discussing where the line should be drawn between personal opinion and what a particular church stands for. Because let’s face it, whatever is said by a church member, especially one that has a leadership position in the church, will always be associated with that particular church.

So my question is, 'As a child of God, is it really possible to separate your personal image online with the image of the church?' In my opinion, the issue is deeply rooted in personal branding. A personal brand can be described as how you present yourself to your clients or customers, and how people remember you. So, the way that you present yourself both online and offline, will be the way that people remember you. So much more if you are a leader of a church! Your influence is so much greater because of your position and many more people will remember what you say.

It can be argued within the church context that ‘our customers’ can be regarded as non-members of the church or people that are unsaved in general.

What does this mean for us?

'Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God' - (2 Cor. 5:20, NASB)

We are described as ambassadors. An ambassador is a representative or promoter of a specific activity. In the Old Testament it is the Hebrew word ‘tsir’, meaning  'the one who goes on an errand'.

So it follows from this that if we are sent as representatives or messengers for the Gospel of Christ, surely we should be mindful always of how we represent ourselves in both the public and private spheres.

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