Managing the Social Networking Monster

On Wednesday morning I led a breakout session for Beach Week 2011 on "Managing the media monster." I thoroughly enjoyed speaking and listening to students from Florida, Georgia and Alabama share about the struggles, temptations, and choices they face. We walked through how to apply scripture to the choices they face, especially when it comes to social networking and music.

It is obvious that the Internet plays a huge role in culture today. For many under the age of 20, it is hard to believe that the Internet at one time did not exist! I remember the days that we had dial-up Internet where you would have to make sure everyone was off of the phone so you could connect. What was once a difficult and cumbersome act, now the Internet has now been the place where people are finding their identity and community. It is a wonderful tool that can be used for God but at the same time it can be used for evil.

(I encourage you to read the book, "Chasing Elephants" by Brent Crowe. It has a great chapter about the Internet that I used as a help for this study).

How do we wade through the junk that is online and instead of diving in head first, we engage the lostness with the love and truth of Christ?

Many respond to this question by becoming like monks from any social networking, media or music. They separate themselves from the world at such a distance that they can no longer impact the world. It is a fine line that we walk as followers of Christ. At the same time some people jump off of the diving board of social networking and plunge into deep addiction, identity crisis and sexual temptation.

How can social networking be used for evil?

  • To tear down people through gossip (Proverbs 13:3)
  • To become addicted to knowing what is happening in other people's lives at all times (Ephesians 4:29).
  • To become addicted to wanting other people to know what we are doing at all times.
  •  To become “numb” or “bored” with real life adventure, outdoor activities, exercise and face-to-face interaction.
  • To lead to Pornography and Sexting. (Matthew 5:28, 2 Timothy 2:22, Job 31:1

Truth:  Our eyes can be the doorway to their hearts and because of that we must guard our eyes.

(an example of how social networking can be used to damage other people)

How can social networking be used for good?

   It takes small decisions in order to be pure!

  • Ask for accountability - Covenant Eyes is a great tool.
  • “Bounce your eyes!” - Job 31:1
  • Invite and encourage friends to come to church!
  • Share Bible verses on your status to encourage others.
  • Write a note/blog online to tell others of how you can to know Christ.
  • Use social networking to build others up!

Social networking is an excellent tool that can be used to help people come to know Christ and focus on what is important. My prayer is that you will learn how to distinguish between the good and evil ways that social networking can be utilized! Instead of using music/facebook/twitter/google+ to escape reality, use it to communicate to people the love of Christ!