I’m starting a new feature here at Church Whisperer: “Monday Morning Quarterback”. Perhaps you can guess which day of the week it will post. For my friends outside the United States (or for those inside the United States but are somehow, miraculously unaware), our professional football games are [mostly] played on Sundays. A “Monday Morning Quarterback”, therefore, is a person who, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, looks back at all the mistakes which were made and suggests better ways of doing them. In most cases, it is unbelievably annoying.
But “annoying” will not be my goal in this series. I promise. I actually intend to be helpful…in a non-annoying way. You are invited to hold me accountable. I expect you to let me know if I fumble that objective.
I intend to devote these Monday posts to the topic of social media, and how we, as Christ-followers, use it…and (importantly) how we abuse it. I, like you, am troubled by the divisiveness, hatred, and overall ugliness I see among Christ-followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets today. I want very much to be a “change agent” for that kind of abuse, just as I am in my work in churches. I want very much for God’s people to learn to use our words (and our tweets and our updates and our comments) to bring honor to God as opposed to using them to do harm.
I think Jesus’ prayer for “oneness” in John 17 extends very specifically to our posts on social media. I think we not only have an opportunity, but an obligation to be uplifting and encouraging and to speak the truth in love. But you and I know that we often miss the mark in that regard. I intend to use these posts to talk about very specific ways we sometimes miss the mark and also some very specific ways we get it right.
As stewards of an important message, we have been given an incredible gift in social media. Never in the history of the world has any technological development been so completely geared toward the immediate and effective dissemination of a message. And never in the history of the world has there been a more important message than the gospel with which we have been entrusted. I am just convinced we can do social media better…and as church leaders, I believe we can teach our people to do it better.
This will not be a gossip column. I will not be calling out names (sorry), but I will be pointing out failures…and successes…in how we say the things we say. I intend to use public posts and comments from the previous week as our jumping-off point. And my hope is that we can do this together. Who knows where it might take us?
This will not be lessons in social media either…I am no expert of social media strategies. But social media, like any other communications vehicle, has no value in itself…it merely reflects the values you bring into it. The messages behind my ministry have never been as much about specific strategies as they are about the values behind relationships. I just believe with all my heart that we as God’s people can uphold those values in how we communicate here in this on-line world. I just want to take the lessons God has given me for churches and their relationships and begin applying them to how we communicate here in this setting.
And so, are you ready? Here we go! See you here on Monday mornings!