Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Social Media and Ministry

Social media has added a new dimension to ministry. I addressed this in a previous post where I explained why I decided to start this blog in the first place. If you missed it, that article was basically a 600ish word rant about how, for the most part, I view social media as a joke and want to be a better steward of the platforms God has given me. While I don't recant my words there, I do want to clarify that this statement is more about how we use social media then about the technology itself. Many people use social media for valid reasons. Some people like to use it to keep loved ones in another city up to date on their lives. Other people use it for entertainment. And still others use it as a way to share their thoughts with the world. While there are many great ways to use social media, as ministers of the Gospel, let's not use it as a platform to subtly brag about how great we are.

With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, we have raised a generation of ministry workers who may or may not even realize how much they come across as "hey, look how much God uses me!!!" Are today's ministers bragging about the work the Lord is doing through them, or are they bragging about all the work they do for the Lord? The difference is that one is for His glory, and one is for theirs.

Half of the people I follow who have a public ministry fill their timelines with "pray for me as I'm going to preach at..." and "I've got the opportunity to speak to [enter group name here] - pray for me." While there is nothing wrong with these words, I would encourage those who Tweet or post in this manner to evaluate their hearts. Are you really depending on the prayers of others? Or are you really saying, "Hey, look who asked me to preach!”? If you fall into the latter category, I would encourage you to just be bold enough to say, "I assume you want to know where I'm preaching, who I'm preaching to, and what I'm preaching about.” They follow you; they want to know about you. Don't you dare mask it with "I want your prayers."

Those of us who are in public ministry need a heart check. When you have a job where you are in front of people and often get pats on the back for "how great of a lesson you just taught," it’s already hard not to become prideful. The last thing we need is another public outlet where we can talk about and draw attention to "how much the Lord uses us."

Something tells me that if Jesus had had a Twitter account on the day represented in Matthew 5-7 He would not have Tweeted "headed to Capernaum to preach. #sermononthemount."

So let’s examine our hearts. I ask you to think about your own Tweets and posts that ask for prayer. Is your goal to show that you're relying on the help of the Holy Spirit? Or do you, however subtly, just want to remind everyone how important you are?

OK, enough of my soapbox; I need to wrap things up so I can Tweet the link to this blog post to everyone.