Wrestling with how we as a ministry can use social media platforms to encourage your life in Christ.
We’ve had a very busy summer so far (I’m sure many of you can relate!), but we wanted to invite you into a discussion we’ve been having over the course of several months on social media, spiritual formation, and CURATE’s mission.
Like most of you, we’ve both experienced a love/hate relationship with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms. I (Rachel) am much more engaged on social media than Bryan, (who hasn’t posted anything to Instagram since 2014!), and I’m often the one updating him on the lives of people we love via social media posts.
There are days when I’m grateful to have a central means of communication to learn about the baby announcements, major life transitions, needs, losses, victories, and joys of friends and family—especially after moving to another state a few years ago. There are also days when certain posts have made me feel incomplete, not enough, envious, insecure, or anxious.
And social media can consume so much time, thought, and emotional energy! Anytime I feel the temptation to be distracted, I reach for my phone and start scrolling Instagram, and before I know it, 30 minutes have passed. Or I'll prepare for an upcoming experience or trip in light of how I would share it with the world in an Instagram story, only to miss enjoying the experience itself. I've been frustrated by the political vitriol on Facebook and been manipulated into anger and resentment. I’ve followed and unfollowed countless accounts. And I’ve done several “social media fasts” just to find a little peace from it all.
Truthfully, though, these platforms can create opportunities for good. I’ve seen God show up—often rather unexpectedly—in posts that have caused me to pause and be reflective, to notice God’s presence, to be sincerely moved by and grateful for this beautiful, wild world of ours.
As two ministers who are devoted to creating opportunities and resources for spiritual formation and health, this tension is difficult to navigate. We don’t want to neglect having a social media presence for CURATE, because it’s the world we live in today! We want to be relevant, to be where people are, to leave room for social media to be a conduit of God’s grace and voice and presence. But we also want to be mindful, wise, and selective in how we use social media in ministry. Will this post help you to curate your heart, experience God’s fullness, and be transformed into the likeness of Jesus? Or does it simply promote this event or our website or ourselves?
CURATE’s Journey with Social Media
Since we first launched CURATE in the spring of 2018, we’ve wrestled with how we engage and utilize social media, both personally and professionally. We made a commitment to make it a full year without a Facebook or Instagram account as an experiment.
How could we do what we do (offering spiritual direction, leading retreats, creating networking and community opportunities, and developing resources for spiritual formation) without social media? How could we learn and form who we are as an organization before putting time, effort, and resources into a social media presence?
It was actually a breath of fresh air to move slowly. It was good for our hearts, for establishing a foundation for CURATE, and for staying rooted in Christ ourselves. I honestly think that God blessed this decision. The Spirit led us well, and we’ve stayed busy!
Then, a few months ago, we bit the bullet and created CURATE Facebook and Instagram accounts. We’ve found that Facebook has mostly been a tool for communication, to share details about upcoming events, retreats, and general communication—but that honestly doesn’t feel like who we are. Our Instagram presence is just getting going, and it’s an amazing platform with endless opportunities! But it’s also easy to simply do what everyone else is doing, and managing these accounts can easily become consuming.
And here’s the thing: we want to do something different. NOT for the sake of standing out among other organizations, ministries, and people doing similar work—but to add to the conversation, to create posts that integrate spiritual practices and prayerful moments, to draw you back to the loving heart of the Father. As a ministry, we’re more about depth than reach, and our goal isn’t to gain hundreds or thousands of followers. We’re all about making space for you to notice God. To lean in closer so that you can hear His still, small voice. To grow in discernment. To be rooted and grounded in the love of God.
Still, we want to invite you to wrestle with us! We are inviting you to share what’s meaningful to you, and how social media has been and can be a space for you to connect with God. We want you to tell us what is distracting or anxiety-inducing, and how we can meet you right there, in that uncomfortable place, and remind you that God is right there with you in the midst of it.
What You Can Expect from CURATE
Here’s what you can expect from us. Everything we post will be centered around the core of who we are:
Curating your HEART, so that you are open and active to the Lord’s presence and voice;
encountering GOD, because we believe He is always speaking and moving, and He cares deeply about the ins and outs of your days;
and being TRANSFORMED into the image of Christ as you’re noticing and beholding Him.
We’ll foster an environment of ecumenicism, respectful dialogue, and connection to Jesus Christ. If you’re in a season of drought or struggle or asking big questions about faith and life in Christ, then we welcome you, without judgment.
We may use Facebook and Instagram to relay information about upcoming events, retreats, recent blog posts, and updates, but we promise not to overload your feeds with reminders and invitations. We probably won’t post something everyday, because we’re a small operation over here 🙂, but we’ll invite you to journey along with us and what we’re doing. We’ll share anything we read or notice that’s encouraging, or suggest other people and ministries that are creating content that points you to Jesus.
We’ll err and keep wrestling and exploring. God is in this process. We invite you to pray with us about our social media presence, and we promise to be open and willing to dialogue with you. This is a two-way street! We exist as a ministry for you and your journey with God. If something is helpful to you, let us know so that we can do more of it! If you want to collaborate, let’s do it! — not for the purpose of self-promotion or getting more followers, but for the glory of God. Always.
Social Media Prayer of Examen
With that in mind, we’ve created a social media Examen, just for you. This is not an anti-social media experience, but rather an invitation to notice moments of desolation (feeling distant from God) and consolation (feeling near to God), and to learn how to discern His loving voice among all of the other voices we encounter in a given day. You can find it on our Instagram account — it will be saved in our story highlights, in case you ever want to return to it as a regular practice.
Thanks for journeying with us! We can’t wait to hear what you think, and how we can continue to create space for you to encounter God.