Here at MediaShout, we have a lot of first-hand experience with how media can be used to spread the gospel and enhance worship services. Over the twenty years, MediaShout has provided the best church presentation software to church media ministries and media teams, we’ve seen an explosion of growth in the area of media in the Church. Even the terms “media ministry” and “church presentation software” themselves have been defined. But one of the most predominant forms of media these days is social media. And the recent Netflix movie, The Social Dilemma, has been a recent topic of conversation all across, ironically, social media platforms. Could it be another fear-mongering attempt to get us to believe we are being controlled by some unseen entity? Does it shed any light on the way we interact with others in our daily life? Should we get rid of all social media?
The only answer is that you must make the decision for yourself. If the movie is saying you are being controlled then perhaps you should step back and critically decide if you believe that or not. Perhaps you should begin questioning the things you see on social media, and most importantly, perhaps you should invest more time and energy into your real life, in-person human interactions.
Social media isn’t going anywhere. Our data is constantly being recorded and we are being fed ads on a minute by minute basis as we scroll. If you don’t realize social media is a money machine then you are mistaken. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube all sell ads to anyone and everyone who has a product to sell. Anyone with a business page on Facebook can pay to boost a post and have it put in front of their ideal audience. How does Facebook know who this audience is? Data collecting. They know what you will like, click, and buy. They know this by following your every action on social media and then putting what you like in front of your eyes.
Thankfully, it seems many of us have been awakened to that fact. We can’t believe everything we see on social media. One critical review of the movie said that The Social Dilemma told of all the horrors of social media, but offered no solution. This seems to be a common problem in much of the conversation surrounding this topic. We spout off a lot of fear-filled rhetoric and leave little to hope for.
What’s the solution?
It is simple. Love. Love your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31) This moment in history is an opportunity for the Church to get back to the feet of Jesus. We, as the body of Christ, need to be reading the Bible more than we read our “newsfeed.” We need to be investing our time and energy into the communities in which we live and interact, rather than participating in comment battles with others who we will never meet (or may not even be a real person, hello bots!). People seem to think society is turning against itself, and in some cases, the polarization is very strong indeed. But there have always been disagreements and struggles. We have isolated our human experience by looking through a screen and typing long-winded statements in the quest to become the greatest “Keyboard Warrior” known to mankind. Sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it?
Have you ever wondered what ways the Church can use social media for good? With the abrupt need to reach people over live streams as opposed to in-person services because of COVID-19 this year, there’s been a need for churches on social media to do that now more than ever. Whether it’s simple, encouraging social media graphics with scripture for Instagram, organizing events and creating groups on Facebook, or even live streaming worship services for anyone to see, the Church should be engaging the masses on social media but also investing more in the people we are called to minister to in our communities, even off of the screen.
It’s time, Church. We need to set our devices down and sit ourselves down across a table with loved ones and friends. We need to look around to the world we live in on a daily basis and find the places that we can make more beautiful, more loving, and more filled with the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. A lot of people are taking a break from social media these days. That could be what we all need. Try it out and see how your anxiety eases and how your relationships flourish. We need to remain vigilant, yet not fearful. Aware of how we spend our time, and intentional with every interaction we have with those around us. We must be very careful how we live– not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, as Ephesians 5:15-16 reminds us.
We need to show those around us and the next generation how to follow the ways of Jesus and operate in the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And while we are on social media, we must be a light. Hopefully, the movie, The Social Dilemma, helps you navigate the world of social media in a way that makes you more aware of how you spend your time and what you give your attention to. There’s no denying the impact social media has made on our society. Still, we must find the good in it, correct ourselves where needed, and remain focused on Jesus as we live the days set out before us. And remember you always have your Helper, the Holy Spirit, to ask for guidance with how you live your life online and in person. Ask Him for direction and discernment. We are not without hope. Jesus is still on the throne, He still has the victory, and He’s coming back for His Bride. He says it best in His own words in John 16:33, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world.”
Do you need inspiration for ways to use media in church or even social media graphics for your church presentation software that you can use? Visit MediaShout’s Facebook page (speaking of ways to use social media for good) to see new ones posted every week!
Let Us Know!
What was the most eye-opening takeaway from The Social Dilemma? Are you concerned, neutral, or happy with how social media is impacting your life and church? Please let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to read and respond to your thoughts. Post in the comments below!