August/September 2008

Go to any random Facebook profile, and in less than a minute you can draw multiple conclusions about a person. Without even scrolling down, you can get their political views, relationship status and their feelings at that exact moment. If you do choose to look over the entire page, there’s almost no end to the information you will find: their favorite drink, the places they’ve been, their favorite quotes…Really anything they’ve chosen to make public, which, for some, leaves little to the imagination.

With more than 80 million people on the site and thousands of new users every day, the wealth of information being shared about people is staggering. It’s no wonder Facebook has become the second-most-trafficked social media site in the world.

Now think about this: If you profess to be a follower of Christ, does your Facebook profile agree? Huddle Leaders, if your campers friended you and started looking at your photos, would they be encouraged to model Christ, based on what you were doing or how you were dressed? Campers, if you desire to share your newly inspired faith with your teammates, will they discern Christ by looking at your profile? FCA staff and volunteers, ditto. Is the Lord’s reputation protected by what you have posted?

There is so much to think about when living out your faith in an online social network. And without a doubt, God’s desire is for your Facebook page to bring people closer to Him. With that in mind, STV would like to give you some helpful Facebook tips. Let’s take the opportunity to not only utilize but maximize this unparalleled generational movement!

What You See Is What You Get:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed because these are improper for God’s holy people”  (Ephesians 5:3 NIV).

"If you profess to be a follower of Christ, does your Facebook® agree?"

Roughly 14 million new pictures are posted on Facebook every day. Even if you have all of your privacy settings on, the people you have friended can access every photo you post. That may seem like a no-brainer, but think for just one minute about everyone with whom you are friends: camp friends, employers, professors, family, friends—both Christian and not—and maybe random acquaintances you’ve just met. Have you considered that all of them can see what you are posting? Even photos that display what is just innocent fun to you can be easily misinterpreted. Perception is reality for the viewer who thinks your actions are less than wholesome or below God’s standard of holiness.

For example, ladies, you may think that because you are dressed modestly, it is OK to post a photo. But look at the people around you in the photo. What message does their attire send? Guys, you may not be drinking in a photo, but are your drunk friends raising longnecks to the camera? What does that say to those who are following your example? We won’t get into an alcohol debate, but as drunkenness is against God’s law, how do viewers know you’re not?

Bottom line: While you may not be doing anything wrong in the photo, you cannot explain to everyone what is actually going on in every photo. You can’t sit down with all 400 of your Facebook friends and say, “I was the designated driver for the night.” With photos, what you see is what you get.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

With more than 20,000 application options and 140 new ones added daily, 95 percent of all Facebook users have at least one. While applications are fun and can allow for creative individuality that spices up your profile, certain applications require constant observation.

Case in point: If someone posts on a “Super Wall,” they have the capability to share what they have posted with any other friend that has that application without that person’s permission. That means that if one of your friends posts a scandalous image to his or her profile and shares it with every friend who has Super Wall, you will get unwanted content on your profile.

"Use Facebook® to make His name known more than your own."

There are ways to block these posts, but you have to know all the ins and outs of the  applications you are adding. Make sure you know who has the capability to pass information to you through applications.

News Feed
“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32, NIV).

In the fall of 2006, Facebook initiated the News Feed feature. When this feature debuted, a firestorm erupted on the Internet. Users fumed about their information being shared in such a public way, and, at one point, millions of people united in a variety of anti-News Feed groups.

The News Feed is essentially what separates Facebook from all other social networking sites. Instant information is being updated and shared to millions of people at once. “Annie just  updated her profile picture. Danny just wrote on Zach’s wall. Emily just commented on Tiffany’s photo.”

The News Feed isn’t a bad thing, but it’s good to be mindful of who is reading about your Facebook activity. Yes, you may write an inside joke on a friend’s wall, but who will read what you wrote when it flashes in the News Feed? Don’t let it stop you from having fun, but do be wise and discerning. Wall posts, videos and tagged photos are all displayed to eager eyes.

Facebook® Fruit:

Facebook® Facts*:
•80 million active users
•2nd most-trafficked social media site in the world
•6th most-trafficked Web site in the world
•No. 1 photo sharing application on the Web
•Available in 15 languages
•Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., with offices in New York and London

Check out the STV page on Facebook!

Facebook is fun, and it can be useful in furthering the Kingdom of God. It is simply up to the user whether it is a ministry tool or a self-promoting gossip fest. With all the traffic, there are many ways to reach out to others; and the concept of connecting people is huge when it comes to sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

John 15:8 (NIV) says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be my disciples.” Jesus calls us to be His disciples, and a predominant sign of that is bearing fruit—fruit that brings glory to Him alone.
How are you personally doing that through Facebook? Go beyond whether or not you are sinning by posting certain comments or photos and ask yourself if your profile reflects godliness and excellence. Is your profile bearing fruit? Are you encouraging and lifting others up by the posts you are putting on their walls? How is God calling you to take this great communication tool and proclaim His name?

We’re not saying that you need 15 daily Bible verse postings or that you need to update your status every day with a new spiritual nugget. We are, however, suggesting that you use this network to encourage and uplift, to love on the people who need it most, to build each other up and help bless the lives of others—bearing fruit that brings God the most glory and gives you the least. Our challenge to you: Use Facebook to make His name known more than your own.  

--For more stories about faith and sport, visit, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. To subscribe to STV, click here.

*All statistical information from and comScore Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.