Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a person’s mouth are deep waters, a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.”
I opened up my Facebook page and cringed. A fellow pastor had posted an inflammatory statement on his Facebook page. I think he thought he could challenge people’s thinking and perhaps change a few of their minds on an important topic. What actually happened was for the next three hours there was one negative post after another as people argued with each other on his thread. Lots of anger was displayed. Very few attitudes that would reflect Christian values were displayed. If his goal was to prove a point, he failed. If his goal was to stir up controversy, he was amazingly successful. If his goal was to speak a word of the Lord and advance the cause of Christ, I would also consider his post a failure.
I think pastors must be particularly vigilant when they use social media. When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool in advancing the cause of Christ. When used incorrectly, it can set back several month’s worth of ministry in a matter of minutes.
While I do not consider myself to be a social media guru, in my experience I’ve learned that best use for social media includes:
- encouraging others with positive words and Bible verses
- staying in contact with others by expressing genuine concern and care
- promoting worthwhile ministry events
- sharing humorous moments in my life
I find that most people respond positively to these four things and enjoy interacting with me about them. A long time ago I determined that social media was not the place to discuss controversial issues or to get too preachy to the masses. There are other avenues in which we can discuss controversial issues and push our more preachy ideas. Social media is simply too brief to say all that needs to be said regarding controversial subjects. It misses body language and context, which often is just as important in our communication efforts as the words we use.
While I think this is good advice for everyone using social media, I think this is particularly important for ministers and key lay leaders in the church to understand. Social media can be a great ministry tool, if Christian leaders use it correctly.
Lord, help us use the technology You have enabled us to create for Your glory. Amen.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: