Social media and ministry is not something in the future; it’s now. The troubling reality is how disconnected pastors—particularly senior pastors—are from the discipline of social media as a way to connect with others.
When I presented to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary last fall, we discussed Tapping Social Media for Maximum Ministry. And Church Executive Magazine published by 10 Commandants of Social Media. In fact, if you’re still on the edge as to whether or not you’re interested in social media, consider reviewing these 5 posts about social media you won’t want to miss.
Most pastors are relatively disconnected from social media—a tool that has been used by individuals around the world to bring down corrupt regimes and billion dollar companies alike. When it comes to church, the pastor is likely to relegate social media to the communications director, education pastor, or the youth minister rather than seeing it as a tool he could benefit from as well.
Pastors who do not leverage social media in their daily routines and professional habits leave a lot on the table.
Social Media is not:
- A waste of time.
- Only for young people.
- Someone else’s responsibility.
Social media can help you overcome one of the stinging realities of ministry—isolation.
It’s easy to feel isolated as a pastor. Unless you’ve carried the weight of leading any size congregation over an extended period of time, you can’t comprehend the isolation that comes with the job. After seminary, many pastors simply lose touch with any meaningful community amongst their peers and become so busy that they forget to continue to build those important and necessary relationships.
Most pastors don’t use social media because:
- It doesn’t feel natural.
- They fear public criticism.
- They don’t want to make another commitment when their plate is already full.
All of those reasons are legitimate concerns. But they don’t outweigh some of the unintended—and perhaps unexpected—benefits it can bring to ministry.
Social media can help pastors:
- Connect with other pastors—even beyond your pocket of the world.
- Be inspired by new ideas.
- Stay current with books and resources that other pastors have found helpful.
- Research strategic decisions.
- Stay current with the needs/expectations/perspective of the people you want to reach and disciple.
There is a learning curve, for sure. It will cause some pastors to rethink their processes and maybe even priorities. But Jesus modeled that relationships were key to ministry effectiveness and personal and spiritual health. Perhaps we should follow His example in this area.
Being uncomfortable with social media is not a good excuse to not leverage social media. And for those final holdouts who object to social media due to its impersonal nature, I would argue that social media doesn’t replace human interaction. Rather, it accelerates it.
Social media isn’t a magic pill. But when senior pastors know they are not alone, they somehow find the strength to continue to be obedient to God’s call even when the feeling has temporarily vanished or the obstacles seems impossible to overcome.
What has been your experience with social media? How has it helped you connect with other pastors? Has it made you a better pastor? If so, how?
Ben Stroup is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant who specializes in topics related to church leadership, giving, communications, and technology. He posts regularly on The Content Matrix (www.thecontentmatrix.com) and can be reached at email@example.com.