7 Ways Christians Should Behave Online

Social media on Smartphone

I have had an online ministry for over 15 years. God has humbled me with the way He has chosen to use this influence He has given me. I try not to take it for granted.

One thing that has changed since I began ministering online…and it’s changed for all of us…is the rise of social media. Whether you believe it’s a good addition or not, we cannot deny it’s impact on culture or even on the church. Personally, I have chosen to use it for good as much as possible.

Still, it disturbs me some of the ways I see Christians respond on social media. I can post one thing…whether serious or not…and I do use humor intentionally as a part of my online presence…and it never amazes me how someone might respond. I have referred to the practice as a slam and run. I just have to thank God at times for the delete option. :) But, it’s an example of a bigger problem. Christians aren’t always behaving well online. What we’d never say offline we have no problem saying online.

Seriously, this isn’t a personal plea. This is a Kingdom plea. Just as the world is watching how Christians respond in public they are watching how we respond online. We must be careful then with what we post. All of us will be misunderstood. But, we shouldn’t be blatantly offensive.

Here are 7 ways Christians should behave online:

No soapbox -We are told to “do everything without arguing or complaining.” (Philippians 2:14) That doesn’t mean we can’t support causes we believe in, but they should be moral and Biblical issues, not personal agendas.

No public bashing – Unless you’ve practiced Matthew 18 principles, and even then it would be rare, don’t address your problems with others online. It’s not helpful and never promotes peace. (Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14)

No little jabs – We shouldn’t say things about others that may be misinterpreted as a stab against them. Guard your online tongue. (James 3). I see this especially as a passive aggressive tactic. We feel “safe” evoking insults or cuts to another person online that we would never say to their face.

Encouragement – Social media can be a great way to encourage others. We shouldn’t spam with massive amounts of posts. Few appreciate the person who reshares everything they see, but most everyone likes to read an encouraging word pointed especially to them. (Ephesians 4:29)

Do to others – As we’d have them do to us. We should always think before we post. Pause. Breathe. Think. Post. Ask yourself how you would be impacted by the post before you post it. (Luke 6:31)

Guard against pride – We have to be careful with self-promotion and bragging about ourselves online. Granted, this is coming from one who has built an online platform online and I frequently encourage other pastors to do the same. It’s one of the best ways currently to engage people for Kingdom building. But, this is a reminder for me too. We must check our motives, guard our hearts and never allow our egos to rob glory from what God wants to do through our online presence. (Proverbs 11:2, 13:10)

Not allow it to be a replacement for community – It’s easy to post “Happy birthday” or reply “Praying for you” without really doing so. We shouldn’t trade the functions of the Body for an online presence. (Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 10:24)

Those are 7 that come to my mind. What would you add?

(Be general please and not specific in your comments, so as not to violate the purpose of the post.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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43 thoughts on “7 Ways Christians Should Behave Online

  1. I would like to add that the language we use should be watched. I see more and more people that use the language that is on social media or Tv and think it is acceptable. We need to watch what and how we say it.

  2. I would like to add that the language we use should be watched. I see more and more people that use the language that is on social media or Tv and think it is acceptable. We need to watch what and how we say it.

  3. Great blog, brother :) I'd also add that we should be mindful of what we 'Like' because that represents us and what we believe is righteous. As well, in this ridiculous day and age where hackers with antichrist agendas are being used by Satan to bring disdain to God and His Name, we all have to be careful of what we look at online. It'd be a shame to build a ministry only to have publicly leaked logs of our visits to inappropriate websites be shared to take the knees out of what God is building through us…

  4. A very timely & RightOn Word. SomeThings I AlreadyPractice & Tips I Will Share With Others incorporate In My Own Life! ThankYou ForSharing

  5. Great post. I would add, “Avoid posts that mix Christianity and superstition.” Anything that implies that God will grant you favor in the next 10 seconds if you Share makes Christianity look manipulative and ridiculous.

  6. This post was pretty convicting for me. Great reminder that everything I post is seen by people who know I'm Christian, and how I can affect people's perspectives on Christians just by what I say. Thank you for this, I will definitely be a little more thoughtful when in comes to posting!

  7. I have not read the other comments yet so I apologize if this is a repeat. Some in the Facebook (and I suppose Twitter) communities tend to try to use it for political messages. Some of my friends never post anything other than their political persuasions. So I don't even get to enjoy their on-line presence. Just a bunch of political hacks. It becomes a strain on the relationship, and I have, over time, unfollowed three of my friends just for that reason. So please don't use social media for attempts at political messages. Be genuine and be yourself. Hopefully you do have a personality apart from your politics.

  8. THANK YOU FOR POSTING SUCH A HOLY SPIRIT ANOINTED MESSAGE, LET US ALL PRAY THAT "YHWH" WILL SEND MESSAGES TO EACH OF HIS SPIRITUALLY ADOPTED CHILDREN SO EACH OF THEM WILL START DO THESE THING AND WILL VERY QUICKLY STOP DOING 100% OF THE THINGS THAT GIVE OUR SPIRITUAL enemies ALL OF THE PRAISE AND ALL OF THE GLORY

  9. Encouragement is my favorite! Social media presents this great opportunity to stay in touch with people. I love to use that opportunity to tell people how much I appreciate them, or how their work/ministry/friendship is making a difference in my life or the lives of others. Thanks to social media, I'm continually reminded of the people around me, and it's very, very quick and simple to affirm them.

  10. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit can target what we tweet to be used for Kingdom good, so I would add: Followship! There is no special technique that can work without GOD! God is the One Who calls us online and gives us our purpose! It doesn't matter the number of tweets, what matters is we are in followship of the Holy Spirit, He is leading who we are and what we are doing. We are not the ones who target the tweet and give it favor, we are not the ones that can draw people's attention to it, the Holy Spirit is the One. Sometimes I tweet a lot, sometimes I tweet a little, but all the time when it matters significantly-eternally so, it is in "followship" of God's leading.
    Twitter: kmac4him

  11. Ron, I notice that politics seems to give people license to dismiss entire groups of people as being unfeeling/uncaring/ foolish…. and that seems to happen even with people of faith. I think this is a great danger of this age.

    Thanks for all of your thought provoking posts during 2013.

  12. GREAT word! This would have been the first post in my new blog. Now I don't have a need for a blog.

    This is certainly applicable to all believers, but I'm seeing this on a troubling level in the student ministry world. Do you have a youth version of your website I could direct students to?
    Twitter: tylercrosson

  13. Great post Ron. Thanks for sharing.The line that jumped out at me was, "never allow our egos to rob glory from what God wants to do…." Always a powerful standard whether online or in person.
    I'd add (what should be obvious) use clean language. As penfanatic said, "everyone can hear *everything* we say."

  14. Ron it is true that which you say. For this platform we 're to use for God's Glory. I have to often check myself, as to what I would wish to say. This is where our Lord would admonish, us t o be as sly as serpents, as harmless as doves. When we lack wisdom, we're to ask our Lord; to give us wisdom. No one knows the hearts of men better than our Lord. We are not able to fool God. He knows our hearts.
    We are to be careful that we do not condemn, criticize others. We need to be sure that we do not use corrupt speech. We are dealing with souls, spirits, thoughts of people. We trust the Lord to use these platforms, to impact,men and woman, social media for the Kingdom of God's purpose.
    Lord give us wisdom and understanding, allow our posts, messages etc to be used for Your Glory, in Jesus Name we pray and ask You; Amen!

  15. Ron, I'd add "Be respectful of everyone." Perhaps this goes along with your #1 or #2. We seem to forget that everyone–including our critics and members of other faiths–can here *everything* we say. Great reminders, thanks.