“When Christ who is your life appears…”
– Colossians 3:4
I have a Facebook page, Twitter account and a blog. As a pastor, that doesn’t just make me connected or simply in touch with the tech-savvy culture around me, it also makes me dangerous. “To whom?” you might ask.
For one reason or another, many church leaders are tempted to be given to the idol of celebrity – to be made “much of” for who they are and what they do. I’m sure the reasons are limitless: broken family issues, leadership insecurities, flat-out narcissism or evangelicalism’s tendency to focus on personalities. While it is likely a combination of many different factors, the end result is usually the same: the unhealthy desire to make a name for oneself. Simply put, in your heart of hearts you want to be a celebrity instead of a servant, a personality instead of a pastor.
This is where social media can wage war with the pastor’s soul. Because he leads a congregation, he will probably have more Facebook “friends”, Twitter followers and subscribers to his blog than the regular Joe, and if he’s not careful, those larger numbers can tempt him to make them about his identity. Adding further fuel to this damning fire is the fact that many pastors are well-networked with other pastors. As a result, many can fall into the soul-shrinking practice of comparison, where the need to grow their Facebook, Twitter or blog isn’t about influencing others for Christ’s kingdom but their own. All of a sudden, social media becomes the pastor’s version of “keeping up with the Joneses.”
Needless to say, this isn’t very good for the soul. In fact, I’ve spent intentional time walking through the nooks and crannies of my heart to make sure I’m not trying to build up the Kingdom of Yancey. If I’m honest, there are times when I don’t like the answer I find there. That’s when it’s time to repent, preach the gospel to myself and be honest about my use of social media in the future.
Pastor, is social media dangerous for you? Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
- Do you feel find yourself artificially generating something to Tweet about even though you have nothing at present to say?
- Does it frustrate you if no one responds to your Tweets, posts or status updates?
- Is there ever a sense of jealousy when you read the posts, tweets or status updates of fellow pastors?
- Has social media become your new anti-spiritual discipline in that you have given it more of your time, attention and focus throughout the day?
- Have you become more (or less) secure in your identity in Christ since beginning your social media venues?
- Would it create anxiety in you to disconnect from Twitter, Facebook or other social media for an extended period of time?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get this posted on my Facebook and Twitter.