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Instagram is mobile app that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it on a variety of social networking services, including Instagram’s own, where “followers” can “like” and comment on those images. It was named “App o f the Year” for 2011 by Apple and recently exceeded 30 million accounts. For its first 18 months, Instagram was only available for the iPhone and iPad, but earlier this month they released an Android version. Shortly after that, they were purchased by Facebook for a whopping $1 billion.
While Instagram is often referred to as a “photo sharing app,” in reality it is much more than that. In addition to posting their own photos, people sometimes also post photos taken by others, funny images, quotes, screenshots from their phone and text. And some people don’t post anything at all, they just “like” and comment on what others post.
Because of that I think it’s more accurate and beneficial to think of Instagram as a social network where images are the primary medium.
With that in mind and Internet Evangelism Day only 4 days away, let’s talk about ways we can use Instagram to share our faith online. Here are 12 I came up with:
1) Post pics of creation. Give God the praise.
2) Post pics of Christian community. Share the fun and love you experience at social events at church, things you do with your small group, etc.
3) Post pics of serving in your community. When you serve the poor, paint a house or join in a community service project, take and share photos.
4) Post pics from missions trips. Missions trips are especially good opportunities for great photos because they often provide the opportunity to mix in beautiful pictures of the creation, culture and people of another country.
5) Post quotes from scripture and Christian authors. This is a little trickier than the previous suggestions because you have to upload the images to your phone. (Watch this video tutorial to see how its done) But once you figure it out, any time you come across a good quote image its quick and easy to save and sync it to your phone.
6) Post pics of Christian art. Instagram is a visual medium. Sometimes art – whether it’s paintings, stained glass, sculpture or other – speaks louder than words.
7) Post pics of the people you love & things you like. In other words, be a real, authentic person.
8 ) Encourage others with a Tweegram. Tweegram is a companion app to Instagram which you can download in the app store. It enables you to type a message and post it as an image to Instagram much like you would post a tweet to Twitter
9) Listen and engage with others. Remember Instagram is a SOCIAL network. Don’t just broadcast. Follower your friends, family and people in your community who use IG. View their pics, comment, encourage them.
10) Mention your faith in your Instagram bio.
11) Post your testimony and/or a gospel presentation on the site your profile links to. In your Instagram profile, you have the ability to include a link to a website. You can use this to link to your blog or personal website where you can tell the story of how God has transformed your life and can transform theirs as well.
12) Create an Instagram profile for your church. If your a pastor or church communications person, you can create an Instagram account for your church and do just about all of the above on behalf of your church.
If you’re on Instagram, look me up. Username: pdstein
Are you an Instagram user? If so, post your IG username below.
What do you think of the suggestions above? Any really resonate with you? Got any other ideas for using Instagram to share your faith online?