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Don't Be A Digital Pharisee

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A blog about all things digital in the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Don't Be A Digital Pharisee

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light."
1 Peter 2:9

The opportunities are endless. Every day hundreds of status updates, posts and tweets fly across our social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social platformsprovide us opportunities to engage with people. Your social networks are made up of people inside and outside of your ministry. But one consistent truth remains; who you are online must be the same person you are offline.

Think Twice, Type Once—In Many Cases, Don’t Type At All

As an FCA teammate, you will directly and indirectly represent your local ministry and the FCA ministry as a whole. While you might think your photos, status updates, tweets or comments are your own, they represent FCA. We all have the right to express ourselves, it does not mean you are excluded from the consequences of your communication. The web is an unforgiving digital ecosystem, because it contains a permanent record of our mistakes. Do not try to change things after the fact. Think twice, type once, and in many cases, don’t type at all.

Don't Be A Digital Pharisee

In the passage above, Peter is calling the early Christians to live as Christ followers and proclaim the name of the One who brought them out of the depths of darkness into His truly marvelous light. Do people know we are a part of this royal priesthood through our social media presence? Or do they see a different type of priest…a judgmental, hypocritical, political pharisee?

If we're honest, we're all capable of being Pharisees. What makes us worse than those we read about in Scripture, is that social media allows our self-righteousness to spread with lighting speed to a massive audience. The digital space we're in everyday gives us the ability to choose which priesthood we will demonstrate. Don't be a digital pharisee.

Leave Politics to the Politicians

Social media is a combative environment for political discussion. There are no shortage of jabs, photos, links and videos for or against political parties, legislation or candidates. Worse yet, they are often filled with half-truths, partial truths and blatant factual errors. Because of FCA’s 501(c)3 status, staff must not make political statements endorsing or promoting a particular political candidate or political issue. Doing so could cause FCA to lose our non-profit, tax-exempt status. In the end, thought-provoking, impactful, civil discussion around politics rarely happens in the social space. Use the internet to research and be an informed part of the political process, but leave the endorsing, debating and promoting to the politicians.

Reply Wisely

As you engage people through your social networks,there are some instances when you should reply in private and not for the world to see. If you feel strongly about a piece of content, consider an email, phone call or direct message to start the conversation. Your social conversation doesn't always have to be social. Utilize the messaging tools available, and you'll often find the conversation is much more productive, encouraging and God-honoring.

One of the biggest digital challenges for us as Christ-followers, who have been called to FCA, is to ensure who we are online is exactly who we are offline. Our audience is too large and the opportunity for the advancement of His Kingdom too great for us not to be in pursuit of this goal. May you be a passionate, disciplined, diligent follower of Jesus online, offline and in-between.

7 comments (Add your own)

1. Kerry O'Neill wrote:
Good stuff, Danny. A couple of reminders I need:
1. Jabs are best left in the boxing ring.
2. I am likely not going to change anyone's opinion anyway.
3. I need to decide if I want to make a point or make a difference.

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 6:50 AM

2. Greg D Brown wrote:
Thanks Danny! Our digital footprint gives us great influence. Thanks for reminding me I represent FCA, my family and Christ! What a great opportunity we have. Thanks for all you do. Bleesings

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 7:01 AM

3. Adrienne wrote:
This is a very relevant topic! Thanks for writing, I enjoyed reading!

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 8:28 AM

4. Stacey Dickens wrote:
Thanks so much for this! Really appreciate the truth you've shared.

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 8:52 AM

5. Ben Orr wrote:
Thanks for your excellence Danny! You and the IT team make FCA look good.

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 9:48 AM

6. Scott Ashton wrote:
Mmmm...great stuff Danny.

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

7. Mickey Seward wrote:
LOVE Kerry O'Neill's third point in his comment above: Do we want to make a point, or do we want to make a difference? Good stuff. Thought-provoking post, Danny. Thanks!

Mon, March 18, 2013 @ 2:52 PM

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About the Author
Danny Burns

Danny Burns is the Director of Digital Ministry at FCA’s National Support Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Danny helped lead the Northwest Missouri State Huddle as a varsity distance runner until 2004 and joined FCA in 2005.

Graduating from Calvary Theological Seminary in 2010 he’s one of the pastors at the Avenue Church & has a passion to see the Gospel transform lives. He, his wife Ashley and his family reside in the Kansas City area.

Follow him on Twitter