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World News

3 in 10 Christians share their faith on social media

by Tola Mbakwe

According to a report from Barna Group entitled Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age, 28 per cent of American adults share their faith via social media and almost six in ten (58 per cent) non-Christians say someone has shared their faith with them through Facebook.

Bryony Taylor, a social media expert and a Church of England priest, told Premier she's surprised the number isn't much higher.

"I did a similar study with 300 adults, mainly British people a few years years ago," she said.

"There was a much a higher percentage of Christians in this country that happily that share their faith using social media. I'm quite intrigued to hear it [the findings of the study], especially given that America is sort of a more Christian country than ours."

Forty-four per cent of Christian respondents to the survey said technology and digital interactions has changed how they share their faith.

Taylor told Premier she thinks online evanglism can be more effective than face-to-face evangelism. She gave an example of a former colleague asking a faith-related question.

"He sent me a message on Twitter saying 'Do you have to be baptised to be saved?'" she said.

"There's no way he would have asked me that question over a cup of coffee at work but he felt able to use social media to ask me that question so I feel it can be more effective because people feel less intimated."

The report found the most popular way Christians share their faith is through personal posts, with 88 per cent of people using the method. Sharing others' posts, commenting on others' posts, profile information and profile image followed respectively.

Taylor said no matter how Christians choose to share their faith online, honesty and authenticity is key.

"Sharing the ups and downs of life as a Christian is a good thing," she said.

"Share when things are going well and when things aren't going so well and being honest about your faith and how it relates to your life. Be yourself and be as natural as you can be online. I think authenticity is really important online. People can tell if you say something out of character."

She also advised Christians to avoid ineffective faith-related posts by not sharing "when you're hungry, angry, lonely or tired, especially if you're all of those things at the same time".

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