Social media adds another element to a mission trip. It’s a great way to share more about the organization you are working with and highlight its impact. But there are many times when I see pictures of people’s mission trip experience on social media that send a message that is probably the opposite of what they are intending. Of course, we want to share with others what happens when we are out being the hands of feet of Jesus, but we have to be sure that what we are posting on social media puts the spotlight on God’s work and the beauty in the people instead of making ourselves the hero of the story.

It’s up to us to humble ourselves and be sure we are giving the glory to God and not ourselves as we can only make a difference through His grace in our lives.

Here are a few tips for using social media during a mission trip:

1. Don’t position yourself as the hero.

Celebrate the ministry as a whole and what they are doing! Instead of posting a picture of you working on a new building for a village or passing out resources to a crowd of children, think through how that comes across to people. Does it show them the big picture? What kind of emotion will that bring up in a person who sees that portrayed? Instead, position yourself in a place that tells the whole story and supports instead of “saves.”

2. Use social media to connect

The last time I was overseas, I was in a third-world country and was shocked at the number of people who lived in poverty but had a cell phone. They didn’t have clean water, but they had Facebook pages! This kept me in check knowing that they were going to see what I posted and the way I told my story. It also gave me a chance to connect with them and build long-term relationships. Try to reach out to people after the trip and stay in touch! Remember to only speak about them in an empowering way when you share on your social media. It would have been hurtful to post a picture of my friends and talk about the sadness in what they lacked. Instead, I focused on all they had to offer the world and the honor it was to meet them and know them.

3. Be where your feet are

This is just a reminder to be present on the mission trip and not glued to taking pictures or making social media posts. You want to be sure you remember the experience and not just from what you wrote or can view later in life. Take photos sparingly and only if it’s for the purpose of showing others to God or remembering a time when He was working in you.

Social media can be a great tool for sharing a message, so don’t let this discourage you from using it. Just keep these things in mind when sharing and post away!