I'm excited to have Katelyn from What's Up Fagans guest posting on the blog today.
Social media and the internet at large are the new workplace water coolers, or neighborhood block parties. It's frequently how we see and communicate with others we associate with in our lives. So, are you sharing about Jesus Christ online? Do you use the power that is the world wide web to inform people about His restored church, modern day prophets, and most importantly about the redemptive powers of the atonement of Jesus Christ? Because, you should be!
The great thing is, you can share simple messages about Jesus Christ or his teachings and church in many different ways online, especially on the various Social Media platforms. Here are some suggestions on how to share your testimony in small and simple ways (and perhaps big ways too)!
Share quotes from General Authorities, the scriptures, your Sunday school teacher, or your best friend. If it's true, if it's motivating, write it and share it as a tweet, a Facebook status update, or an Instagram photo. And don't wait until Sundays to do so! Share it in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening, any day of the week. You may be surprised how you can help someone with something they are struggling with that day by your simple quote.
(Psstt... you are always welcome to share my Instagram quotes as long as they remain unchanged)
Share links and videos
Did you just finish watching a video from the Mormon Channel on Youtube? Share it with your friends! Did you just finish reading a General conference talk from lds.org? Share the link! Did someone's "I'm a Mormon" video from the Mormon.org Youtube channel touch you? Tell your friends about it! Did a song in particular touch you? Share the lyrics/video/track.
Share your Mormon.org Profile
Have you created your own Mormon.org profile yet? If not, do it! Each profile is searchable. Make yours standout. What makes you unique? But what also makes you normal? If it's been a while since you created yours, make sure to update it to reflect who you are now. And when you do it, share it with your friends. Write down your profile url on pass-along cards. Put a blog button in your blog sidebar. Direct people to it. Use it!
Our stake even asked us to share messages with a particular hashtag "#IndyMormon." The church often has various hashtag campaigns going on that you can also attach to your social media shout-outs. For Easter it was #BecauseofHim. For Mother's day it was #ItWasMom. Camille previously talked about their #DiscovertheBook campaign as well. But, even using something like #lds or #mormon make your tweet, Instagram, or Facebook update easier to search for others to find and read, as long as your share is public. Part of the reason you want to use hashtags, especially on twitter, is that if enough people are using them, at one time, they can become trending topics! In fact during General Conference many Mormon hashtags have been in the top trending list on twitter like #ldsconf #priesthoodsession #ElderOaks and #PresNelson, just to name a few. If the small percentage of Mormons in the world can create a trending topic twice a year, I'm sure we could do it other times of the year too. Try to included hashtags with any social media shares!
Talk about Your Church Life Online
Don't be afraid to do status updates and shares about things that some of your non-member friends may not fully understand or believe. It's okay if they don't know what "Activity Days" or "Relief Society" or "Temples" are. It's a part of your life! If you can share about what food you ate, where you went shopping, and how you like to exercise, certainly you can share that you are teaching a Sunday school lesson on Sunday, giving a talk, attending the temple, visiting a family, reading the scriptures, praying, or holding Family Home Evening. It's what you've been up to! I once shared on Twitter how I was reading the Bible to my children. On my blog, I mentioned my current Read the Book of Mormon in 100 Days challenge. Try to talk about what is likely the most important part of your life freely on social media and blogs. Don't hide your church life online.
A great way to share your beliefs online is by commenting and replying to messages, status updates, tweets, group threads, blog posts, and online articles. The awesome thing about this method of sharing the gospel online is that people have already opened up the dialogue! They are looking for comments, advice, suggestions, guidance, or perhaps even a pick-me-up. You can help bring them those things through the light of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If someone shares about the death of a loved one, tell them that there is a heaven, and that they can be happily reunited with them someday. If someone shares that they are depressed and miserable, share how Jesus has helped pull you out of despair. If someone writes about their church, share a little about yours. If someone asks for prayers, tell them you will do so because you know God cares about each and every one of us; that He hears each and every prayer; and that prayers are very powerful.
Also, don't be afraid too to stand up and defend Jesus Christ and his restored church. Don't be bashful about standing for truth and righteousness. Our world today needs more defenders of the faith. But, please, remember to do so from a place of tolerance, understanding, and love. Try not to attack the individual but instead the falsity they share. Essentially, don't make it personal. Jesus loved the individual, sins and all (thank goodness as we all fall short!). He didn't publicly mock and humiliate and scorn people. He urged them to repent and come follow him. May you remember to do likewise when you comment online.
Share Simple Testimonies
Was church especially awesome today? Did it move you, touch your heart, humble you, teach you? Share your testimony, your impressions, on social media. I did this a few weeks ago on my Facebook profile after an especially spiritually uplifting church service. I shared "The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for all and at all times. Everything good that happens is because of the grace and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He is the good in the world. He is the answer. He is your Savior and Redeemer. May you come to know this as true for yourself if you haven't already. God bless you my friends. God bless!"
Even if the status didn't receive a lot of "likes" or comments, my friends saw it, including friends of other denominations and faiths. One of my Mormon friends shares motivational quotes and personal testimonies on her Facebook profile daily and I absolutely love the positive uplift she gives each day.
Testimonies are powerful. Share what you believe, not just a quote from someone else. Make it personal. There are many negative rants on Facebook and other social media; let's have Mormons lead the way in sharing the light and truth instead.
Do you have a website or blog? Many Mormons do! Even if you blog about things other than religion or your faith, try to incorporate your faith and beliefs in your posts! While I understand this can be tricky depending on the niche you write about, we as Mormons believe that truth is found everywhere, and that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. Even simple connections to Jesus Christ, prophets, or scripture can be a powerful way to share the gospel with your readers. And don't forget to include the fact that you are a Mormon on your "About" or bio page or have a button in your sidebar leading people to your Mormon.org profile.
Know someone who could use a spiritual pick me up? Text them a great quote! Text them a blog post. Text them a picture or a song. Text them your testimony! Not only can texting be a great way to reach out to less active members in your ward and stake, it is also great for investigators and friends in general.
Social media is a tool that can be used for so much good in our world today. Let's make sure that we are adding to the positive, wonderfulness of social media by sharing our testimonies, our beliefs, our faiths, and our spiritual lives with friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers online. Be the power for good in the world. Tell people "God bless." Praise God for his blessings in your life, for his answered prayers, and for his love online. Share about the wonderfulness of our Savior all year long and not just around Easter and Christmas. I encourage you to actively seek opportunity to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in the world today through social media.
Katelyn is a Wisconsin native, BYU grad, and current Indianapolis resident, who will be moving to Texas with her family of five this month. She is the mother of fraternal twin four year old girls and a one year old boy. She believes that small and simple things are powerful, and that social media can be a great thing. Katelyn blogs about her life, her family, her home, her frugality, and her faith at What's up Fagans?. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ too!