Are Christian Vloggers Truly Sharing Christ or Just Selling Themselves?

SAM AND NIA / YOUTUBE
SAM AND NIA / YOUTUBE

It’s easy to see why pregnancy announcement videos go viral: the over-the-top excitement, the celebration of love and new life, the fun, creative ways parents share their big news. It’s the ultimate feel-good experience in our social media feeds.

Christian families in particular have taken to this trend. For them, such announcements (directly or indirectly) reflect the great value we set on life and family and on thanking God for his blessings. The expectant couples who had their few minutes of fame singing a parody of “Shut Up and Dance,” doing their best Miley Cyrus impression, and revealing “Mom” and “Dad” on Diet Coke cans were all involved in ministry.

Then came the Christian vloggers who recently posted a pregnancy announcement video… only to follow days later with news of their miscarriage. Even when a pregnancy ends tragically, Sam and Nia seemed to demonstrate how these videos can honor God and encourage others to draw near to him.

Yet despite the millions of views they’ve received, not everyone is a fan. Gawker recently critiqued faithful vloggers who use their YouTube channels to play up family news and essentially profit off their pregnancies. Their criticism, in this case, may be worth paying attention to.

Gawker’s Allie Jones notes Sam and Nia’s “tendency to talk about their unborn child in terms of views and social media engagement, and Sam’s announcement, directly after the videos went viral, that he quit his job due to the success of their YouTube channel.” Jones goes on to explore the Christian vlogging subculture in general: Are these families truly sharing their lives with the world to bring people to Christ, or are they more interested in fame and fortune?

It’s a fair question, as several couples conflate getting more viewers for God and getting more viewers for themselves. With pregnancy as clickbait, many play up announcements and details about baby-related news… even when they’re not actually pregnant. Sam—a dad so excited to share the news about his wife’s pregnancy that he sneaked a sample of her pee to test—confessed to Buzzfeed he’s always wanted to be famous. According to Jones, “a production company is ‘very interested’ in turning their lives into a reality TV show.”

Another successful vlogger, Mormon dad Shay Butler, calls family “our greatest source of happiness” and believes his family’s mission is to bring hope to their millions of viewers. There’s some truth to that; anyone who’s spent time with a genuinely happy, healthy family knows how fun, even how inspirational, it can be—despite the runny noses, poopy diapers, and shoving matches. If some couples have managed to pass along that positive feeling through the Internet, what’s the matter with that?

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Gina Dalfonzo