How Are You Facing The Social Dilemma

Reading my email has an emotional impact on me. Every day, waiting in my inbox is a message that will either distract me or disrupt my day. If I don’t check it at the right time, it can derail my day. To help manage these emotions, I’ve created some rules like:

  • No work email on the phone
  • Not checking email before 9 am and after 8 pm
  • Prioritize people (e.g., wife, pastor)

I always owned my issues with emails believing that if I created the boundaries or disciplines that I could manage the emotions. Then the other day, I watched the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, and my opinion of digital and social media has changed.

I don’t often recommend movies on this blog, but The Social Dilemma is one that I think is important to watch. Not only does it create a great conversation around the intentions behind social media companies, but it sparks two questions that every person in ministry should answer:

What does my relationship with social media look like?

I’ve gone back and forth on the decision to delete my social media accounts. Not only am I not satisfied with the content, but I spend way too much time mindlessly scrolling through pictures and posts. Just as email has created an emotional response in my life, so have specific threads that appear online.

When I’m on Instagram or Facebook, and I see the pictures of other youth ministries, with teens smiling and Jesus winning, I find myself thinking two things:

  1. Oh, that’s nice
  2. What’s wrong with my ministry?

I believe sharing those moments are important and essential; however, they attack some of my insecurities. For a long time, it would build up doubt and even resentment. I found myself thinking, “Well, if I had that budget, support, or space, my ministry would be thriving.”

Social media will perpetuate the comparison trap, and it’s important to acknowledge those emotions. If you often find yourself emotionally charged by what you see online, then it’s time to offer it over to God. If you have to fast, then take that time away from posting or reading. If it’s about eliminating your account, remember that ministry was done for centuries before wifi emerged.

Am I contributing to or addressing the dilemma?

While many of us are consumers of media, we are also contributors. Even if you do not post a rant, your likes and responses can say a lot. What goes online stays online, and it’s essential as leaders to not only think before we speak but to think about where we proclaim our words. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but how others receive is out of our control.

Your words of Truth can come off like words of hate. Your plea to make a stand against injustice can be seen as an attack on someone else’s character. It’s important to remember that what goes out there stays out there and becomes a part of your legacy.

The one area where The Social Dilemma falls short is its lack of solutions. While addressing the problem is the first step, we must discover solutions that create a healthier relationship with a technology that could impact the world for good. While deleting individual accounts will help with your relationship with social media, we also have to look at the impact it has on our ministry. Before you post, consider these three questions:


Know the source and do some digging before you quote that saint or share that article. If possible, find three sources that back you up. We don’t want to be responsible for spreading falsity.


Why are you posting? Is it to be heard? Are you hoping to communicate a message? Just looking to spread some joy? No matter the reason, you realize that your expectations might not be met. If what you post brings disappointment or hostility, remember that next time, there are other adequate outlets.


Are you only on social media because everyone else’s youth ministry is on social media? Technology is a tool, and it takes an intentional strategy to make it work. If you are not wise with how you use it, you’ll find yourself merely wasting time. Know where it fits in your mission and if it works.

There is a dark side to social media. To be aware of the algorithms and how it impacts us emotionally is essential. As leaders, we need to be knowledgable around the tools we use. We have to be wise stewards of the resources around us.

What is the relationship your ministry has with social media?

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