One of the biggest social platforms worldwide is Instagram, next to Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat. This image sharing app is more than just an image sharing app, although that is pretty much what it is been made for. If you read the stories of people that found romantic love on Instagram, you wonder if God could use Instagram to show His great love!

Personal experiment

I started a personal experiment after years of already using Instagram to share my private pictures; you know the usual stuff that is interesting for people who actually know you. I wanted to see the potential when I started to use it focusing on one specific topic. In my case one of my passions: Triathlon, an endurance sport where swimming, biking and running is combined.

Inside out

I wanted to understand how I (or any ministry or NGO) can use this platform, without someone actually knows you in real life, but still gain followers and engagement. And I wanted to grow it organic, so I didn’t use any tool to gain more followers. This was my way to understand ‘Instagram for passion’ from the inside out.

Basics

Although I did choose to tell something about my circumstances (like age, marital status, my dream to do a full Triathlon before I turn 40 and the fact that I was a father of four), I never shared my name and I almost never shared a picture with my (full) face on it. In my next article I will share some of my insights of this experiment. This article I want to use to explain how God could use Instagram to grow a movement of disciples who make disciples.

The pictures you share have to support life stories (or tell them). If you don’t (want to) understand that, you might end up waste your time on this platform.

The pictures you share have to support life stories (or tell them). If you don’t (want to) understand that, you might end up waste your time on this platform.

Life stories

As you probably understand by now Instagram is a tool to storify your life in images. Especially when you start to use this platform it is important to understand how you can stand out int his growing platform. Before you can stand out, you need to stand and maybe to understand the basics first. For me one of the key words in this is ‘Life’. The pictures you share have to support life stories (or tell them). If you don’t(want to) understand that, you might end up waste your time on this platform.

Your audience’s story

What will your audience do just before and just after they see your Instagram post? Will they have just yelled at their kids? Then stormed off to a quiet place with their phone looking to zone out? Or will they be wondering how to find a better paying job? Spend a lot of time listening to your audience and asking probing questions to understand your persona.

Connect your audience’s need to Jesus

If you learn your audience and see that they often struggle yelling at their kids. Then you could post a short video of Jesus telling about the forgiving king (Matthew 18). Let’s ask God to enable us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Let’s ask God for empathy with the lost. Then use that empathy to communicate with them.

Look for people of peace

To boost engagement your Instagram post on the forgiving king could ask “do you see this kind of forgiveness in your culture? What does your family say when you share the video with them? Add a comment”. If a person shares messages of God’s kingdom with their family, they may be a person of peace that will open a whole network of people to enter God’s kingdom (Luke 10).

One media to movement initiative in Asia uses these four criteria to determine if someone may be a person of peace. If they meet these criteria they get passed along from social media for face to face follow-up.

  1. Willing to learn about Jesus/bible
  2. Willing to meet face to face
  3. Willing to say the city where they live
  4. Willing to share(make a group)

Of course you could apply these filtering criteria to any form of media. Whether Instagram, WeChat or conversations on the street, may God grow His kingdom!

In my next article, I want to share some of my insights from my personal experiment.