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5 Ways To Let Your Light Shine Online

The appeal of social media in the 21st century is undeniable. The various platforms for sharing, from Facebook to Instagram to WeChat to Pinterest to {insert your favorite here}, offer connection to those we care about, and a channel for self-publication. But do we consciously consider how our social media use fits with our Christian walk?

I recently read the new Churchm.ag eBook The Social Christian. It served as a good reminder of why we do everything we do in this world – to share the Gospel message of the redemptive work of Jesus with everyone. With the reach of social media, many doors are now open to us which didn’t exist a decade ago. Rather than hide the saving Gospel, we can share it via social media in all we do and say.

As you consider how best to use social media, consider these five guidelines for how and what you share:

  1. Be in the Word – If only we had an instruction book for letting our light shine in the digital world. But wait … we do! God’s holy, inerrant Word found on the pages of the Bible is our all-encompassing instruction book. If we struggle with what to say or whether to say anything on social media, we can find the answer in prayerful study of his Word. With the Word nurtured in our hearts, our words and actions – both face-to-face and online – will reflect the joy of salvation we have received freely from Jesus Christ. Consider the amount of time you spend in the Word compared to using social media. Would your postings have a different flavor (perhaps including more “salt” ~ Colossians 4:6) if those times were reversed?

    “Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
    ~ Colossians 3:16-17 CSB

  2. Decrease self/Increase God – Often I consider whether my posts on social media are narcissistic or self-absorbed or vain. It’s an easy trap to fall into when my own personal pedestal awaits on my favorite social media platform. Look what I did … Look how adorable my kids are … Look at how lovely my home is …To avoid that trap, consider that most people predominantly post the “highs” of their life on social media. Do we normally see posts about their failures, the times they have to discipline their children, their messy house? Those aren’t the norm. I’ve found it best to just be real. And reality for me is I’m a sinner who needs a savior. My normal is definitely not pedestal worthy. Instead I can elevate Christ alone in the good and bad of my normal life. He is my sure hope in times of sorrow and of blessing.

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
    ~ 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

  3. Lift up others – Make it your mission to share your joy in Jesus with your social media contacts. Where there is sorrow, share compassion and strength. Pray for those in need. Share a special verse or song (like the I Will Rise video shared below) that offers comfort. Let them know you care and, more importantly, that your savior Jesus cares.

    “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
    ~ Ephesians 4:2

  4. Share wisely – Perhaps you enjoy sharing things via social media. This tip is here to encourage you to be careful of what you share. Many links today can lead others who may not have faith or whose faith isn’t deeply rooted to explore associated content that isn’t God-pleasing. Satan would like nothing better than to use a Christian to lead someone away from salvation.

    “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
    ~ 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

  5. Give God the glory – I’ll say it again … In all things (including social media posts) give God glory!  One of my favorite ways to do this is through the popular practice of hashtaging posts. Oddly, this running together of words to convey what you are thinking has added another creative layer to our communication. Everyone enjoys coming up with and reading clever hashtags. When I close my post with what I’ve termed #hashtags4Him, I have turned not only my eyes and heart toward Jesus, but also those who read my posts. #salvationthroughJesusiswhatmattersmost

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
    ~ 1 Peter 1:3 NIV

Martin Luther College – I Will Rise.

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496 – Social Media Superstars

On WELSTech this season we’ve been exploring the use of social media in ministry. Today’s episode wraps up that series with a look at great examples of church and school accounts on each of the major social media platforms. We also talk with Pastor James Aderman regarding the WELS Intersections Facebook group, and Martin gives us a tour of the new WELS Locator tool which is integrated into the WELS Online Yearbook.

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The discussion:

Watch and learn – Capping off a season-long focus on Social Media for Ministry, Martin and Sallie identify standout churches and schools who are making excellent use of social media channels. View the Social Media Superstars infographic.

The interview:

Up close with a social media superstar – Meet Retired Pastor James Aderman, the man behind WELS Intersections, a Facebook group which had its start at WELSTech Conference 2015. Almost 2 years later, the group is a great resource for topics at the intersection of technology and ministry.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 6 (2013) of WELSTech, episodes 269 to 322. This was the year of the “unconference,” and 100+ attended WELSTech Camp, our very own unconference event. Relive the great moments of 2013 with our Best of 2013 episode.

News in tech:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resource:

New WELS Locator Joins Yearbook

Featured video:

MLC Day 2017 is history, but the fun and excitement lives on in this MLC Day Lipdub 2017 video, the newest addition to the WELSTech Likes List on Vimeo.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 497 – We shine the spotlight on WELSTech listeners as we share the latest community feedback! Release date: Wednesday, May 17.

Get involved:

492 – Social Media Ambassadors

This week on WELSTech we offer tips to engage members in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ via social media. Sallie has some gear recommendations while Martin demonstrates the new Google Team Drives for shared file ownership. You’ll learn about the busiest year in WELSTech history as well as get insider info on a ShopWELS bargain available in April. Plus, there’s a bit of Koine for your Holy Week reflection.

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The discussion:

“Equipping the saints” for social ministry – Social Media has been “mainstream” for the general public for years now, but some churches are still trying to use them effectively. One key to successful communications through these popular networks is the use of “ambassadors” – those who can take the message of the church/school and spread it through their wider networks. View the Social Media Ambassadors for Ministry infographic.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 2 (2009) of WELSTech, episodes 53 to 112. Highlights include our first summer series, Bonus WELSTech Goodness, a young Jason Schmidt, and “shock jock” Sallie’s surprising worst-of-the-year pick.

News in tech:

WELS now:

ShopWELS

Picks of the week:

Ministry resource:

17 Tips For Staying Productive

Featured video:

For your Holy Week reflection, enjoy Koine’s version of He Stood Before the Court, a new addition to the WELSTech Music playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 493 – Community feedback is back, and you won’t want to miss the ultimate in pen, paper, and microwave geekery which was shared! Release date: Wednesday, April 19.

Get involved:

488 – From Pork to Palms

Pictures have always been a part of ministry. Throw in digital images AND social media and you have powerful tools to share the gospel. Join WELSTech this week for our continuing series on Social Media in Ministry with a look a two popular photo sharing sites: Flickr and Google Photos. As a bonus, you’ll also hear about upcoming WELS events, Martin’s new “macro” macro lens and help writing God’s Word on your heart.

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The discussion:

Flickr and Google Photos for ministry – Perhaps not at the top of most social media list, Martin and Sallie explore the use of photo and video hosting sites, Flickr and Google Photos, in the church and school setting. View the Flickr and Google Photos for Ministry infographic.

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resource:

On My Heart – A Lutheran Memory Work Program

Featured video:

Check out Google Photos Tutorial 2016, a new addition to the WELSTech Product Demo playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 489 – Tune in for tech-in-ministry goodness of the people, by the people and for the people … on WELSTech community feedback week! Release date: Wednesday, March 22.

Get involved:

Bible Keyboard

More and more communication is happening from our mobile devices – text, e-mail and social media posts. The YouVersion Bible app team recently added features which allow iOS users to easily incorporate God’s Word in their mobile communication via a new Bible Keyboard.

Application/audience

The Bible Keyboard takes advantage of Apple’s third-party keyboards function which is built into iOS version 8 and higher. iPhone and iPad users may activate the keyboard in Settings. With the Bible Keyboard activated, Christians can easily inject the truths of God’s Word into their mobile communications. The video embedded below walks through the activation process, and demonstrates how to use the Bible Keyboard functionality.

Related resources

In addition to the Bible Keyboard, you can also easily add verse images in the iMessage texting app which is built into iOS. The minimum requirement is iOS 10 for this functionality.

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471 – 200 Pixels

We’ve arrived at another community feedback week on WELSTech, and the sites and resources shared are functional, friendly, free, and favorable for furtherance of ministry. 😀 Sallie’s coding Minecraft sheep to produce diamonds, Martin’s scanning historic photos with his smart phone, and WELS has a new youth ministry resource worth checking out. Listen & learn!

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The discussion:

Tab-palooza – Sallie’s loaded up a whopping 27 tabs of WELSTech goodness for this week’s WELSTech community feedback discussion. From G Suite tricks and updates to ministry tech ideas for the upcoming Advent and Christmas season to a tool for creating virtual reality scenes, there’s something for everyone!

News in tech:

WhatsApp Video Calling

WELS now:

Forward in Christ archive

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

New Youth Ministry Resource AvailableOrder from NPH

Featured video:

Learn more about the Transformed program for Youth Ministry by watching Pastor Jon Enter’s 2016 Youth Rally Transformed Workshop, the newest addition on the WELSTech “Likes” list on Vimeo.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 472 – We’re giving thanks WELSTech-style as we talk with Pastor Andrew Schroer, author of 364 Days of Thanksgiving. Release date: Wednesday, November 23.

Get involved:

467 – The Joy of Community Feedback

Welcome back to WELSTech. This week we share your community feedback covering technology plans, social network tips, and church year calendars. Throw in a 3D printed WELS Logo plus a large dose of doctrine joy, and there is something for everyone. Join the conversation!

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The discussion:

3D printing meets ministry – Martin and Sallie open real and virtual mail bags to share listener’s helpful resources and ideas for using tech in public and personal ministry.

News in tech:

The Table Project is ending December 31, 2016. Possible alternatives:

WELS now:

Check out Martin’s Digital Christianship presentation, part of the Gospel Outreach with Media Fall 2016 online conference which runs through October 31.

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Essay files at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary – Doctrine joy!

Featured video:

The newest addition on the WELSTech “Likes” list on Vimeo, features our very own Martin Spriggs in a Together technology video update.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 468 – Jason Schmidt is back in the guest host chair, with a healthy dose of sunshine in tow, as we dive into the latest Horizon Report for K-12 educational technology. Release date: Wednesday, September 28.

Get involved:

462 – Social Media for Ministry: Instagram

Get ready to go social as WELSTech begins a season-long focus on social media for ministry. This month we look at the Why, What, Who and How of Instagram. There’s news from Apple and Code.org, plus a bluetooth speaker winner and even more Instagram greatness to close out the show. Don’t wait … watch or listen now!

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The discussion:

Visual communication – New this podcasting season is a monthly series titled Social Media for Ministry. The fist platform Martin and Sallie take a deep dive into is the popular image-sharing app Instagram. View the full-size Instagram for Ministry infographic and follow the links below for more details.

News in tech:

Apple’s newest products, most available starting September 16:

WELS now:

“What does this mean? The continuing importance of Luther’s Small Catechism” is the title of the upcoming Interactive Faith series led by Rev. John Braun. Tune in on Wednesdays at 6 or 8 pm Central beginning September 21.

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Request the Social Media Quick Guide: Instagram from Church Tech Today’s eBooks page.

Featured video:

Check out Instagram’s videos on Vimeo including this week’s featured video, Introducing Instagram Stories.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 463 – Next week the WELSTech listeners rule the roost as we share community feedback for the month. Release date: Wednesday, September 21.

Get involved:

445 – Something For Everyone

WELSTech has something for everyone on this community feedback episode. Topics include social media strategy, mobile photography, Google Apps for Education, church bulletins and more! Martin and Sallie also share the latest news from TechSmith and Google, helpful tips on Excel and the Chrome browser and worship/bulletin artwork from WELS artists.

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The discussion:

BuffetThe listeners speak – Martin and Sallie share recent WELSTech community feedback.

News in tech:

WELS now:

Women’s Ministry Conference – July 21-23 at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Featured video:

Learn more about the upcoming Women’s Ministry Conference in this Together video update, saved on the WELSTech “Like’s” list on Vimeo

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 446 – Jason Schmidt joins Martin and Sallie for the last edtech discussion of the school year focusing on outdoor and rainy day tech for schools (and beyond). Release date: Wednesday, May 25

Get involved:

433 – Feedback and Skinny Snowmen

On WELSTech this week the community is front and center as we share feedback and explore new tech finds that can have a positive impact on church, school and personal ministry. Tech news includes a controversial customer letter from Apple, and this week’s picks leads to an “official” name for a new design element from Google.

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The discussion:

skinnySnowman2 145x125From all the channels – Martin and Sallie share tips and tricks from the WELSTech audience via all our social channels. From printing the moon to church websites to digital media, there’s WELSTech goodness of all flavors represented!

News in tech:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

On My Heart Lutheran Memory Work Program

Featured video:

New to the WELSTech “Like’s” list on Vimeo is a promotional video tour of Divine Savior Lutheran Academy in Doral, FL.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 434 – Gail Potratz is in the {virtual} house for what promises to be a lively discussion of the edtech horizon. Don’t miss it! Release date: Wednesday, March 2

Get involved: