Using Digital Platforms to Take a Stand
Scripture reminds us in verse after verse that we are called to justice. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his disciples: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6). As followers of Christ, we are taught not to ignore injustice but to meet it head-on. We ought to love one another and to use the church as a place of healing. Church communicators can do all of the above—we can make a space for honest conversation, healing, and love. What are the best ways to do this, and how can we share God's kingdom and providence for justice with others?
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you" (Genesis 26:24)
The first step for churches wanting to take a stand is to let go of fear. In his book How to Be an Antiracist, author Ibram X. Kendi writes: "The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it." As individuals and as a church body, we need to identify how we may have unknowingly perpetuated injustice. We need to start with honesty and be ready for difficult conversations. We need to let go of fear—the fear of disappointment in ourselves or others and the fear of losing physical members and digital followers to these realizations. Without understanding and dismantling our own biases, how can we hope to truly stand up for justice?
"Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12)
Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, writes that "authentic antiracism is rarely comfortable. Discomfort is key to my growth and thus desirable." As a church communicator, you likely have seen the phrase "cancel culture" floating around social media. While it may be tempting to take the leap and join in, cancel culture is ultimately ineffective for a church trying to stand on injustice. Just as we are extended grace through Jesus, we must also extend grace to others. Jesus' ministry included people of all backgrounds. By admitting our need and desire to move forward, we can encourage others to leap with us. The adage of "progress, not perfection" applies here. The church can model the idea of normalizing growth and learning as it applies to social justice.
"Carry each other's burdens" (Galatians 6:2)
God calls us to live together as a community, as the body of Christ. We fulfill this call by carrying our brothers' and sisters' burdens and standing up against injustices. How can church communicators effectively use our digital platforms to do this?
1. Share, share, share
We need to recognize when to let others speak. In early June, the #BlackOutTuesday campaign took place on Instagram, a day dedicated to amplifying Black people, organizations, and businesses on social media. As allies, we can share our thoughts, beliefs, and support, but we must also remember not to place ourselves at the center of the narrative. Use your platforms to share community organizations supporting justice. Compile a list of local resources supporting minorities in your community. Engage with your followers by asking them to share the ways they support justice.
2. Incorporate diverse voices
Reach out to the Black men and women in your church. Ask them to do a social media takeover for a day, or write a guest blog post for your website. Form a social media committee made up of diverse voices to provide feedback on your digital content. Show your support for justice by allowing those facing injustices to lead the charge.
3. Make your support vocal
Don’t be silent. Use your platforms to lift the voices of the Black community. Use your platforms to bring light to injustices. Use your platforms to invite those who are broken and hurt into your church as a place of healing. Silence is so often unintentional complicity. Don’t let your church be complicit in injustice.
In her book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown writes: “In too many churches and organizations, listening to the hurt and pain of people of color is the end of the road, rather than the beginning.” Take the sometimes painful steps to recognize your faults, and let the healing process begin. Use your digital platforms to share and lift voices seeking justice, and become a place where conversations start, not where they end.