In all the places I have ever thought to evangelize, I have never thought about Facebook evangelism. Maybe it's just me, but when I go to think about evangelism I think of the book of Acts and how they spread out and talked to people about Jesus. I forget that it's almost 2020 and I can use social media for evangelism.
The only issue for Facebook evangelism is learning how faith and social media go hand-in-hand. Of course, anyone can try to evangelize on Facebook. Sometimes, we see this as a disadvantage. For example, I don’t think we want my racist great aunt as the next Christian spokesperson on Facebook. However, if done correctly, faith and social media can truly work together for Facebook evangelism that has the potential to change lives.
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How not to evangelize on Facebook
How we share the gospel online is crucial for the Christian community to gain more citizens of Heaven. Whether you are a church, nonprofit, or a Christian blogger, it is important to have a plan on how to spread the Gospel. But before we dive into Facebook evangelism and sharing the gospel online, it is important to first talk about how not to spread the gospel online.
In the book Re-Present Jesus” by Dharius Daniels, he speaks about how to rethink Christianity in terms of being more like Jesus as opposed to talking more about Jesus. This is one of the most important parts of sharing the gospel online. We need to surprise people by the love we have for people through Christ in order to win people over. In the first few pages of the book, he gives a compelling example of what not to do in regards to faith and social media.
In the book, Daniels writes about a Facebook post he saw around Black Friday. The post showed people in tents waiting in anticipation for the stores to open in preparation for the day. He writes about the post:
Most responders were shocked to see the magnitude of people tenting out. Others identified where they had been standing in line. And of course, there was a lovely comment made by a fellow Christian that read, “If people would line up like this and come to the house of God, the world wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in.” This person must not have read John 3:17. Or if she read it, she didn’t allow it to transform her ideology.”
How easy it is to go wrong with sharing the gospel online
He later calls this woman a “do not Christian”, one who points out people’s flaws online and tells them what not to do. The thing is, we could all be this woman. We have to be cautious not to become this woman because it is so much easier to see what is wrong with the world thanks to the ability to see anything and everything online.
To use Facebook for evangelism, we need to make sure we evangelize like the apostles did. We cannot use the online sphere for telling people what they are doing wrong; we simply don’t have time for that. In a world of negativity, we need to be socially active in sharing the great things about Christ. We need to share the miracles of Jesus and the stories of His greatness.
A great resource for what not to do in regards to Facebook evangelism is from the Center for Online Evangelism, which gives seven “Evangelism No-No's for Facebook“. It gives great tips on what not to do when sharing the gospel online.
In summary, when going to spread the gospel, make sure you are sharing the “Good News”, we get enough of bad news online all the time.
How to Properly Participate in Facebook Evangelism
As a freelance writer and social media manager for churches and nonprofits, we work with all non-denominations. We have only one rule about what we post: it must show that as Christians, we love everyone. If any group asks us to post anything that puts down another person, culture, etc. we politely decline working with them. We call it the Bob Goff rule, “Love everybody, always”.
This is the biggest thing we can do for Facebook evangelism. We want to make sure we are over-loving people. Loving people is not enough, we need to go above and beyond and love like Jesus did.
This means that in regards to sharing the gospel online, it is better to engage than it is to preach. You can link to a blog to tell people how to follow Jesus, but Facebook is one of the most needed places to be like Jesus.
From here, I want to break it down into simple steps to Facebook evangelism. It is divided up by whether you are a church, a nonprofit, or a Christian blogger trying to spread the word. If you are none of these, there are still so many things you can learn from each category. Also, if you are interested in Facebook evangelism, a Christian blog may be for you. Make sure to check out the blogging section of this site!
Three simple steps to start Facebook evangelism as a church
- Be real. It's so easy to say this, but it's easy to fall into the trap of being the best church. It's easy to want to shine out from the rest on social media, and that's ok. However, when we scroll through Facebook, we see ad after ad, fake image after fake image. We see everyone getting married when we aren't. We see pictures of kids that are obviously being bribed to sit still for the perfect Facebook post. We see pictures of vacations we can never afford. We see a culture of “more is better”, but Facebook evangelism should teach us that Jesus is enough.
- Pick the scriptures that people don't know. In a world of John 3:16, be the John 3:17. Those who don't know Christ have seen John 3:16 at the football stadium or on their Forever 21 bags, yet do they know that Jesus didn't want to condemn the world as the woman in that Facebook post did?
- Get in the community. This is even more crucial if you are a new church. I love church events, don't get me wrong, but be the church that always seems to show up whenever tragedy strikes. Be the church singing at the nursing home. Maybe a hospice worker that sees death all the time will learn about the Jesus you know. That way, when she sees a Facebook post from your church, she will resonate with it. Maybe a daughter that has just lost the battle of whether or not to put mom in a nursing home will see a community for Jesus she had never seen before. You don't know who you will reach until you get out there. When you get out there, people will remember you when they see you online.
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Reaching more people for Christ means thinking beyond the traditional ministry. Facebook evangelism is sharing the gospel online with more people every day. #InternetJesus #JesusOnline #ChristianBloggers Click To Tweet
Three simple steps to start Facebook evangelism as a nonprofit
- Know your community- if you serve a specific area, know what is missing and what isn't and try to fill in the gaps instead of trying to do something a church already does.
- Use the work you do to talk about Jesus. For example, if you serve the homeless, you can list a bunch of Bible verses on how to help the homeless, but can you imagine if you just had a post that simply talked about the love Jesus had for people that the rest of the world turned away?
- Slip in Bible verses that people may not know into different places. Try the “Sneaky Jesus” approach to further your reach. Even get creative with design! If you have an informational graphic that you share on Facebook, share a Bible verse in the bottom corner. There are endless opportunities on how to spread the Gospel through the normal work that you are doing.
Three steps to start Facebook evangelism as a Christian blogger
Get outside the Christian box! Would you go tell a bunch of people living in Florida why it's so great to live in Florida and why they should move there? No, they are literally sitting in paradise as you are telling them. This is the chance to step out of your box and go talk to bloggers of different niches. The best way to do this is to leave comments. Make it a practice to go out of your way and find three blogs outside your niche that you have no connection with whatsoever and leave them a truly thoughtful comment. People will be so surprised that you left a comment with no strings attached that curiosity will get the best of them and they will come to see what your blog is about.Facebook evangelism means getting out of the Christian box and actually connecting with people you don't normally connect with and sharing the Good news with them! #evangelism #christianbloggers Click To Tweet
I did this with a lifestyle blogger who was a proclaimed atheist, and we ended up forming a relationship from it. She started asking questions about going to church as an atheist, and it led me to write a response from her in the form of a blog post about whether or not atheists should go to church. She ended up finding a church in her area to go to. You never know who God wants you to touch through mere relationships.
- Actually, pray! Carmen from the blog Married By His Grace and Natalie from Milk & Honey Faith do an incredible job of this with their Facebook group By His Grace Bloggers. The few times I asked for prayer in that group, instead of writing “praying” they actually wrote out the most genuine thoughtful prayers.
Now, I know if you write praying you most likely are praying, but it shows a lot when people actually see it. It gives them more confidence to pray to God. Sadly, sometimes we need to spend a bit of time evangelizing by acting like Jesus to our own people. There are so many people that go through the motions and even have a faith blog that haven't met that deep, real personal faith with Jesus yet.
- Remember you are a business and go out into the public. We bloggers tend to hide behind our computers but when we are out, we clam up about what we do. Be brave and go out! Walk with authority, you have a blog! Luke 10:19 says “See, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you!” If we have that authority, let's go exercise it!
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So now it’s your turn. How can YOU use your faith and social media to spread the gospel through Facebook evangelism?