Friday, April 06, 2018

Christians on social media: How to be the light online

How many hours do you spend a day in social media? If you're like me, surfing on the Internet and checking what's up with friends on social media -- whether that's Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram -- is a daily thing. 

But while there are a lot of good stuff online, there are negative stuff too. Such content discourage rather than encourage, bring despair rather than build up.

The Chronicle Ministry of Christ's Commission Fellowship-Commonwealth will be conducting a social media workshop for Christians on Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9 am-12nn at CCF Commonwealth, Berkeley Square, Commonwealth Avenue near cor. Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The workshop aims to help Christians be more of a blessing to others on social media. Let's lessen the negative stuff online and spread the good news instead.

I had the opportunity to interview our speaker Lyqa Maravilla, a YouTube influencer herself, via e-mail, and here's what we talked about:

Q: Please tell us something about yourself.

A: I just turned 30 a few weeks ago. I finished the Basic Bible Course from FEBIAS College of Bible and got my degree in Psychology, magna cum laude, from Messiah College. I’m also a registered psychometrician. In 2013, God gave me the gift of getting the top spot in the Civil Service Exam. I didn’t know it then, but that was God’s giant blinking detour sign for my life. The past four years after that has been an adventure. God led me away from the corporate lifestyle that I’ve always wanted to pursue and towards the unconventional path of being a YouTube creator, online educator, and social media influencer. 

Q: How did you get into YouTube vlogging?

A: When I was in college, I was part of a non-profit organization called Sound Check Ministry. We travelled around the country helping local churches establish and strengthen their worship ministries. I was in charge of teaching people how to play the drums. We could only stay and teach for a few days at a time and it wasn’t enough for my students to learn all they needed. That was the primary reason why I started my first YouTube channel. I’d record lessons and drum covers of praise and worship songs so that my students can keep learning.

A little more than three years ago, I started making educational videos to help people pass aptitude tests like the Civil Service Exam. It all started with one video. When people from all over the country started reaching out to ask for more lessons, God showed me how important these tests are to others. They can determine which school or university they can attend, which job they can get, and whether or not they’ll be promoted to a better position. After some time, my first viewers created a Facebook page which helped us build a community of learners from all over the world. With their encouragement, I developed my own review program and reviewers. I also hold review events and teach all over the country.

Q: Please talk briefly about your ministry -- what do you do, and why do you do it.

A: I consider making YouTube videos and teaching through social media as my primary ministry. Through this platform, I can teach and reach people from all over the world and share God’s hope with them. Bible verses are integrated into my lessons and I pray really hard to represent Christ to them. I also started a personal Facebook page where I share encouraging verses and motivational quotes. After people started reaching out with their personal problems, it became a great way for me to share a Christian perspective and offer Bible-based advice to people who are looking for it.

Aside from those, I also volunteer as a writer and editor for our church’s weekly publication, CCF’s Chronicle. Being surrounded by volunteers who love God and want to give back through writing helps keep me grounded. I love how the printed content doesn’t show the name of the people who worked on it. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we do. The goal is to get God’s message across and we work as a team to accomplish that. After more than a decade of being onstage with the music ministry and as a speaker, working behind the scenes gave me a better appreciation of how the body of Christ functions. 

Q: In a nutshell, how should Christians use social media?

A: Social media is a tool. Like any other tool, you can use it to do good. But, in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it properly, it can be very dangerous. The key is, as with anything else in this world, moderation. We must filter everything we read or see online through God’s word. We must be aware of how much we use social media. And, even before we create an online profile, we must ask, “What is your purpose for using social media?” Too many people are focused on getting more followers that they forget God’s call to help others become Christ-followers.

I know Christians who chose to stay away from social media entirely and I see the wisdom in that, but I also think that we need more godly people who speak God’s truth online. The reality is that most people, especially the younger generations, spend more time online than in the “real world”. Sometimes, the only way to reach them is through social media. Think of it as doing missions work. In the same way that we go to different places and learn a different language to reach people and share God’s word, we must meet people where they are to tell them about Christ. If they’re online, we should be, too.

Q: What can we expect from your talk on Saturday?

A: "Declare" is divided into two parts. In the first hour, we’ll talk about the Dos and Don’ts of Using Social Media. I’m going to share some of the things I learned or had to learn the bad way. We’ll set simple goals and guidelines to help us maximize the power of social media and keep it from overpowering us. The second part is a workshop on Content Creation. It’s a guided course to help potential creators gather ideas, produce content, build a brand, and, maybe, earn money through social media. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned and learn from everyone in the group on Saturday.

Interested to hear Lyqa's talk? Just come over to CCF Commonwealth on Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9 am at Berkeley Square, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City! Open to all.