#8: Post

Love Your Neighbor Challenge

(Please excuse me while I go check Facebook.)
(OK, I’m back.)

I just LOL’ed and liked something funny Jessica’s daughter said, wished Peggy a happy birthday, and high-fived Michelle’s morning run. Last night I prayed via Messenger with a far-off friend about some frightening medical procedures.

Social networks are a symptom of our need for relationships; they are not the solution.
The solution is found smack dab in the middle of your neighborhood—the original social network—a convenient, comfortable, and non-threatening place to move from virtual friendships to real relationships.
How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird

Today’s Love Your Neighbor Challenge uses online tools to enrich real-life relationships. Here’s how:


Do some creeping (in a non-creepy way). Check out your neighbor’s pictures, read their last month of posts. Do they share apple pie recipes or political propaganda? Do they post about their grandchildren’s antics or their aches and pains? What are their hobbies, what do they “like”? Getting to know about a friend online is associated with growing closer in real life.


Use these insights to pray for your neighbors, and you’ll be ready for a real conversation when God enables a real-life encounter.


Start a conversation. Take some time and make some effort to post something thoughtful on a neighbor’s social media account. Written content is linked to improvements in relationships, but little likes here and there are not. Make a meaningful comment and tag them, something like, “@sarah, have a very happy birthday at the park with your family!” or, “I’ll be praying for your father’s surgery, @abby, and am home if I can watch the kids for you.” 


Find your “vintage neighbors,” as my friend Sandy calls them—people you grew up with and old friends from years past. Facebook helped me find my best friend from kindergarten, and after 36 years we reconnected over lunch. (No filter on this pic, it was already vintage!)


Create a private Facebook group for your neighborhood, where only approved members can see posts. In my neighborhood, we’ve used our group to identify lost dogs and share coyote sightings; we’ve also planned a community yard sale, a block party, Bible studies, and a baby shower.


Join NextDoor, a free private social network just for neighborhoods. Use it to quickly get the word out about crime or suspicious activity, or see who’s interested in organizing a Neighborhood Watch. Ask questions: Who knows a reliable babysitter? Can someone recommend a painter or a printer or a plumber? Ask for help with tutoring. Give away an old bicycle.


Plan a neighborhood gathering. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. Meetup’s mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize.


Would Jesus be on Instagram?

I have no idea if Jesus would be on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or whatever we come up with next. But I do know that social media can be used for God’s glory – in fact, I’ve found a complete social media strategy in Scripture! It’s found in 1 Timothy 4.

  • Any account worth following must be nourished by words of faith and follow sound doctrine. (verse 6)
  • It’s a waste of everyone’s time to argue over ungodly ideas and silly myths. (verse 7)
  • Go ahead and share things that are interesting to you like food, fitness, and family. Even better, share posts about your faith! (verse 8)
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, but make sure you are setting a good example for others to compare themselves to. Put your kind words, life of integrity, love for others, faith in God, and pure heart on display for all to see! (verse 12)
  • Encourage your friends and followers with words of Scripture and explain what God is teaching you. (verse 13)
  • Use your spiritual gifts in your virtual life. Can you organize a group, show mercy to someone who is hurting, or learn about practical needs that you can fill in your community? (verse 14)
  • Pay attention to what you post, which accounts you follow, and comments you make. Your social media feed may change continually, but every digital deed lasts forever. (verse 15)
  • Keep a close watch on what you say and how you live online and in real life. Every click and keystroke counts! (verse 16) 

Technology makes it easy to connect online,
but our goal is to connect in real life.
How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird

Social media can be used for good and God’s glory, if we use it with intention to love our neighbor well.

Follow the Love Your Neighbor Challenge on Facebook or Instagram! 

If these tips and tools have given you a new idea, if you’ve met a new neighbor or thought about your neighbors in a different way, would you please let me know?

Contact me or message me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear your stories!

#1: Pray

#1: Pray

Of course, the first Love Your Neighbor Challenge begins with prayer - in fact, we couldn't call...

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