PHAM: A teen’s guide to evangelizing on social media
December 28, 2021
On Sunday, I went to church with my family as we always do.
My brother was off at college, my parents were singing in the choir, and there were too many altar servers for me to participate, which left me all alone 10 minutes early in the pew with my keys, wallet, and phone in my pockets.
I put my keys and wallet on the bookshelf in front of me and left my phone in my pocket. After kneeling to silently pray, I put the kneeler back up and sat there just mindlessly listening to the parish news, trying to resist the urge to go on my phone and browse messages, Instagram, Snapchat, or anything more exciting than news. I was bored. I was by myself. No one would see me. It was like my phone was vibrating on the right side of my pants, calling to be pulled out while waiting for Mass to begin.
I wanted desperately to go on social media and browse. Gladly, I was able to refuse until the church bells rang. I am not the only one dealing with this temptation. This temptation to browse the many social media platforms and check what other people are doing or see what sports games are going on tonight or comment on posts is continuous.
Anywhere we go, social media consumes our daily lives. As I drive to school, I look over at a red light and see other drivers on their phones. In hallways at school or in class, there are other students scrolling. At home, after soccer practice, my parents will browse through Facebook. Technology, phones and social media have grown so much. Whether positively or negatively, there is no doubt that social media influence the children of God.
I am a junior at St. Thomas High School. Every day, I am surrounded by fellow Catholic students, teachers and teachings. We are taught that the ultimate goal is eternal life with God and the path to Heaven is the imitation of Jesus through our words, thoughts and actions. Yet, there is no teaching of how I can evangelize through my influence on social media. It is wild that the faith surrounds me, and I still am not taught how to spread the Gospel on my phone. It’s like I am alone again in the pew at church to fight the challenges of social media. But that is just it. I am not alone.
Right in front of me at church, God was sitting in the tabernacle. Right next to me in the car, God is in the passenger seat. Walking in the hallway, God is locked in my arms. Getting home from soccer, God is walking through the door with me. God will always be with me and everyone. When we are on social media, God is also with us.
Everything we do on our phones should be for evangelizing. We have such a powerful influence that we are wasting it if we do not choose to like, comment, and share for the purpose of spreading the Word of God. Now, I don’t see this as texting all of my friends Bible passages or posting on my Instagram story that God has risen, but rather by leading others by our actions.
Everyone will see what I am doing on social media and, based on what I do, they will pay attention and follow. In order to evangelize on social media, we must show love, compassion, and kindness in everything we like, comment, and share on our devices so that we can invite people into the conversation of Jesus Christ, to lead others to God through our actions, to uplift others, and to influence our peers.
We have to make sure that everything we do on social media is in the eyes of Christ and should be for the intention of influencing people to Christ. This is easily the most effective way to show others God’s love. By acting as God’s children on social media, we are calling others to do the same.
Just as a shepherd leads his sheep, we can lead our peers to the love of Christ. Remember to show God’s love in your actions on social media because it might just give someone eternal life.
Thomas Pham is a junior at St. Thomas High School.