Billy Graham once described Christ’s first 12 disciples this way: “The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same.”
As we discuss 21st century online influence and what that means, open your heart and mind to the possibility that what Graham said of Jesus’ disciples, can also be said of you as you endeavor to communicate the gospel.
Here’s Part 2 of how to amp Kingdom influence online . . .
1. Stand out with quality. Commenting on other people’s blogs or Facebook pages is more important than you think. For those interested in Kingdom building, it’s an opportunity to be intentional and make an impact. To respond powerfully: take your time and read the post, form an opinion, and thoughtfully write a comment (short or long) that is insightful, helpful, intelligent, and honest. If you don’t have time to comment, then skip it rather than post half-thoughts, or appear rushed.
2. Link back to the Kingdom. Leave people with more than your opinion. When appropriate, back up your comment or opinion with a scripture, a link to a sermon, a video, or blog post that expands understanding about God and inspires others to seek Him.
3. Target blogs and pages to visit. If you want to make an impact, target at least five blogs and 10 Facebook pages you want to engage. Try to visit each frequently, prayerfully, and with thoughtful dialogue. In the digital space, you’ve got to earn the right to be heard by being consistent, thoughtful, genuine, and helpful to others.
4. Be an original human—not a copy. Sound strange? The online world is producing personalities that mimic one another. Short sentences, common paraphrasing, and trendy lingo are creating an all too familiar voice. When you comment on yours or someone else’s page, be fully present. If someone is voicing a need, thoughtfully reply. Being a human also means showing your freckles and imperfections. Admit when you are wrong, apologize publically, let people see more than your happy PR, and be courageous enough to comment outside of the “safe” zone. Then, be willing to take any criticism and stand by what you say. People are attracted to courage.
5. Ask a question. If you really want the conversation kick up, ask people how you can pray for them. Make sure you have the time to pray and follow up. This is an amazing way to go deeper with your community. It also invites the Holy Spirit to escort divine conversations.
6. Be a contagious responder. This means respond to tweets, blogs, FB posts and be willing to visit and engage on other blogs. It’s impossible to respond to everyone but do the best you can. Sometimes this is as short and sweet as: “congratulations,” “wow, that’s awesome,” “cheering you on,” “thanks for that insight.” And, sometimes it’s as simple as hitting the “like” button. Read this post on how to manage your time online.
7. Respect opposing opinions. Don’t respond in any social network with childish quips or harsh words. Lead and celebrate robust discourse and don’t post anything you wouldn’t say in a room full of people.
8. Be driven by faith, not fear. Trusting God to make divine connections, fill your gaps, and pour wisdom into your online communications is part of this new mission field. Don’t be afraid of mistakes (you’ve already made a ton and life self-corrected itself), don’t be afraid to show your “faith” in sticky situations. And remember, God walks with you always.
What are your biggest challenges in communicating online? What have your lessons learned?
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Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me. ~Dwight Moody #LiveSticky