Faith

Influencers use Instagram to evangelize, encourage and inspire

Instagram’s influence on an individual’s thoughts and behaviors is sometimes stronger than people would like to admit, but many Christians have taken it upon themselves to use the platform to share their faith and to give hope to others.

 In 2018, there were over 100 million daily users and 800 million active accounts on Instagram, according to a study done by Statista. Instagram’s audience consists of mainly young adults.

Statista claims, “41 percent of users are 24 years of age or younger,” which means that an impressionable audience has access to all types of accounts.

Recently, many faith-based or Christian accounts have gained popularity. Some of the most-followed accounts include Morgan Harper Nichols (@morganharpernichols) with 1.1 million followers, Emma Mae Jenkins (@1corinthians13_love) with 138,000 followers and Daily Bible Verses (@daily_bibleverses) with 1.3 million followers.

In an interview with Christianity Today, Morgan Harper Nichols shared the purpose of her Instagram ministry. “I try to think about the person who is like, ‘I haven’t prayed in years’ or ‘I’ve had really bad experiences with Christians in my life’; that person is heavy on my heart a lot,” she said. “It’s like the Scripture that talks about ‘peace beyond understanding’ (Phil. 4:7). Lately God has been showing me, ‘Go a little deeper than the words you’ve always known, and I will meet you there.’”

Accounts like these can have a big impact as Natalie Maruschak, sophomore history and education double major, described. “[Christian accounts] help me refocus on what is real and what actually matters in my daily life,” Maruschak said. “[They] always bring a smile to my face, and, more often than not, the message is exactly what I needed to hear.”

Each account is unique and spreads their messages differently. Some share photos or art, others write poetry and some people openly share their journey alongside Christ. Either way, this has created a new community where all active users can freely express their faith without the fear of being judged.

Jules Boatwright, freshman construction management major, said, “Back at my high school, I really didn’t have anyone to talk about my faith with. These Instagram accounts were my only outlet.”

In cases like this, Christian Instagram accounts can be used as a valuable tool. Boatwright said, “If more people are willing to create or follow faith-based accounts, we could play a big role in furthering God’s kingdom beyond our own cities … these accounts could make a global impact.”

These Instagram accounts are creating a whole new atmosphere online, and Phillip Taylor, freshman business major, said, “These accounts are causing change, and I personally believe this change is long overdue.”

These creators, writers and bloggers seek to  further God’s kingdom, but they can also help further their followers’ growth in their personal relationships with God. Taylor said, “When I go on Instagram, I look forward to seeing posts that will uplift me. It’s a reminder to reflect. It’s a reminder that there are millions of other people that are on the same journey as me.”