Selfies: Love ’em or hate ’em, it looks like they’re here to stay. Not every selfie needs to be an exercise in narcissism. Make them evangelistic!
Wikipedia defines the term “selfie” as follows:
“A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They are usually flattering and made to appear casual. “Selfie” typically refers to self-portrait photos taken with the camera held at arm’s length or pointed at a mirror, as opposed to those taken by using a self-timer or remote. A selfie stick can be used to position the camera farther away from the subject, allowing the camera to see more around them.”
Look: there are likely many folks, even people who like me, who will assert that I take too many selfies. I don’t think I can mount an affirmative defense against the assertion. Add my little dog Roxy in the mix and, well….. You get the picture. So, when I assert that selfies are an exercise in narcissism, I’m looking into the mirror (or my cell phone camera lens) when I do. However, with the help of my friend, Ken Cook, I’ve discovered a way to be other-minded, even evangelistic, instead of self-focused, with at least some of the selfies I take. To accomplish this, I use Google Maps.
Google Maps is more than a collection of Internet-based road maps. It is an online application that allows users to navigate the world, submit business reviews and photos of favorite locations, and interact with other users. Google Maps is a combination of a GPS system and a social media network. It’s also proven to be a wonderful evangelism tool.
How to Use Selfies for Evangelism
First: you need a Google account. It’s free.
For the sake of time, I’m providing a link for instructions to how to use the restaurant/business/place review system in Google maps. CLICK HERE.
Once you’ve established your Google account and familiarized yourself with how to post reviews , you will need one or more gospel signs. All of the signs I use for evangelism are produced by Watchman Gospel Signs. A custom, all-weather, 2’x3′ sign, with shipping, runs about $20 per sign. Compare this price to your local print shop and you will agree Watchman Gospel Sign’s prices are more than reasonable.
You don’t have to make custom signs. Use a piece of cardboard or tagboard and make your own. Just make sure it’s easy to read.
Next: grab your cell phone and a friend, and visit the local businesses and other places in your community that you frequent. Then, simply stand in front of the place or business and have your friend take a picture of you.
Granted, having someone take a picture of you isn’t a selfie in the truest sense of the word. If you want to do this by yourself, then simply make a sign small enough to fit with your smiling face in the picture.
Try to include the following on your signs:
- Biblical truth.
- Scripture reference(s).
- A website where people can go to either read or hear a fuller gospel presentation and receive information about your church.
Pro Tip: It’s very important you give positive and honest reviews. Take pictures outside of places you can honestly promote. Businesses DO read reviews. On more than one occasion, I’ve been thanked by business owners/workers after I posted a positive review. You don’t want the gospel to be lost in a negative review. If you cannot honestly give a positive review, then don’t take an evangelistic picture outside the place or business.
For years, I have encouraged Christians with these words: “The only time you fail in evangelism, if you’re doing it biblically, is when you fail to evangelize.” Evangelism isn’t about the number of tracts you distributed, the number of people with whom you speak, or the number of “decisions” you’ve elicited. Effectiveness, results, and motivation, as they pertain to evangelism, should be seen through the lens of the two greatest commandments.
“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets'” (Matthew 22:34-40).
If you engage in biblical evangelism in any form, with a genuine love for God and people, then you’re effective and the results will be as God ordains.
With the above in mind, here are the number of times my evangelistic photos have been viewed:
- Over the last four months, I have posted reviews of 20 location.
- The total number of times my photos have been viewed: 14,755.
- My most viewed photo to date was taken outside a local Starbucks: 5,502
With only 20 minutes effort (it takes only about a minute to snap a picture and post it, along with a review, online), almost 15,000 people have been exposed to the gospel. Needless to say, these are people I may never meet in person.
Taking and posting one picture has resulted in more than 5,500 Starbucks patrons being exposed to the gospel.
You Can Do This!
Friends: you can do this! This is a very easy and legitimate form of evangelism. It’s inexpensive. It’s not time-consuming. Keep a sign or two in your trunk and you can engage in evangelism as you go about your daily routine. Get the kids involved. Let them serve as your photographer. Better yet, have your kids hold the sign.
Let the joy of the Lord be your strength. Have fun. Reach the lost with the gospel!