Social Media & Wisdom
- July 8, 2020
- / Tyler Mielke
- / Church Resources,Social Media
The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that “the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (TPT). I believe our written word and our agreeing with any sort of written word has strong power as well. I write this article because of a major, and rather unfortunate, event that has recently occurred. Pastor Chris of Church of the Highlands recently received backlash for “liking” a tweet that later resulted in his church’s lease being pulled by the city council. I am by no means declaring his action to “like” the tweet as right or wrong or even that taking a side on the tweet is wrong. However, in today’s world, the effect that you as pastors and leaders in the church have online is real and it is important. If you are interested in reading the entire story along with Pastor Chris’ apology click the link below.
As pastors and church leaders you have respect and authority in your community, and it is vital that you do everything you can to preserve your character. This is especially true on social media! I get it, you’re a human and not perfect. But the fact is that as a pastor, you are held to a high standard and as a source of reliable information. I urge you to be wise and mindful of your social media presence. Let’s talk about how to do that in the real world.
Sometimes It’s Ok to Wait For The Whole Story
Do you recall a particular news piece that went out about the Covington kids? If not, it was about how this group of kids harassed a Native American in Washington DC. The video depicted a pretty definitive display of these kids surrounding this man with what looked like intent to harm him! But, it was later found out that the video circulating news channels and written articles was edited to be misleading. Headlines ran like crazy before all the facts came out, and it turns out the Native American man is the one who actually started the entire encounter! The school ended up suing the news organization that ran the video footage. Outrage can often be a first response, and is sometimes justified, but it can also be a response of our flesh not of our spirit man. A wise man is slow to anger and in Proverbs 14:29 it takes it a step further saying a man being slow to anger and wrath has great understanding. You have to judge each situation separately and decide how you are going to act --if at all -- make sure you know the whole story before you jump to a conclusion and share an article or video on social media. The reality is that even if you don’t mean anything by it or are not intending to endorse it, people view what you share and like as an endorsement online.
Social Media Divides Us -- Do Something Different
There are dozens, even hundreds or thousands of articles designed to get a reaction out of people that are put out every day. These often divide us and make things political when it is not needed. We need to rise above it as leaders in the church community and find the times and instances that we can cut through the noise and get back to what God would say on the matter. I have heard some say that as Christians we are meant to respond, not react. Jesus was often apolitical, delved into the heart of the matter, and spoke the truth. The religious leaders of the times often tricked him and tried to get reactions of anger or malice. But, He saw through their plan and always cut through the confusion by utilizing the truth of what God says on the matter -- He would wait, think, and respond instead of quickly reacting. I’m sure many of you take a lot of time to think through, pray, and seek God’s will on a subject for your message on Sunday to make sure that you relay the information correctly. I encourage you to be sure that you don’t forget that what you do on social media is just as important, speaking the truth of what God says about issues not what man or feelings say.
Pray for Wisdom Before You Get On Any Social Platform
The right mindset for anything is key. It is so easy to jump online these days, but are you really taking the time to prepare your mind and guard your heart before you get online? As Pastor Lou shared with us last week, we must protect ourselves online because there are so many things that are out to change and warp our perception. Taking a couple of minutes to pray and seek God’s wisdom and mindset before you get online can change your entire experience and how you view things. This might seem like a lot of work if your habit is to click that app as soon as you see a notification; but think about the lives you affect. If you share an untrue article because of a headline or comment on something and it doesn’t come off the right way, it can damage your credibility which can ultimately lead someone to not seek out God. We are human and flawed, but we are still commanded to live in a way that represents our God’s love, truth, & grace. That is just as true online and even more so sometimes because there is a record of it to the public forever.
I urge you to spend time to take your platform online just as seriously as you take your position behind the pulpit.
If You Don’t Understand Online Culture, Ask for Help
Online culture is fast moving and often nuanced in ways that if you are not on it, you may miss or not understand. So if social media is confusing or hard, rather than jumping head first into an ocean that you don’t understand, ask for help! OUR is all about helping ministries online. If you need assistance please contact us! We love pastors and are here to help!