It is easy to live in the moment and lose perspective. For instance, let’s think about social media. As a preacher or church leader, just press rewind and imagine doing the following things back in the old days (i.e. even the 1980’s or 1990’s). What would it look like if we went back in time by a generation, thus removing social media, but still acted the same way? Would we really do the following?
1. Mundane Info Sharing. It’s Monday morning. You had a busy Sunday and are not feeling too motivated to dive into another week. So you are running a few errands for the family and decide to sit down at a cafe for a cup of (in those days) regular coffee. Before you do, you take out your church phone list and drop a load of coins into the public phone just outside the cafe. “Hey, Roger! I am just going to sit down for a coffee and unwind for a few minutes. I might look at a newspaper. I’m just a normal person! Thought you’d like to know!” Several hundred calls later, you get your coffee. Weird. Sharing mundane info should have died out after the first six months of Twitter. It mostly did. Facebook is another story . . .
2. Retweeting Praise of Your Preaching. Just as the crowded church is starting to head for the door, would you rush back up to the podium, tap awkwardly on the microphone and get everybody’s attention . . . “Hey folks!? Before you all head for home, I just wanted to share with you what I heard Tom saying in the lobby. He told a couple of his friends that my sermon was the best he’d ever heard!” And would you stop on the way, get the sound guy to press the record button on the cassette, then make copies of it and send it to everyone you know? Probably not. It is weird. Social media doesn’t make this kind of self-promotion any more appropriate today than thirty years ago. If other people praise you, be thankful. But a retweet smells a lot like self-praise.
3. Name Dropping. As you walk into the dining hall at the conference venue, you spot a “celebrity” Christian. So you squat down next to their seat and have your friend snap a picture. Immediately you rush to the nearest one-hour photo place and have a few hundred copies made, before posting them to everyone you know with the note, “Guess who I just met?” Would you have done this back in the day? Probably not. This is also weird behaviour. There is certainly a place for public acknowledgement of people you appreciate, but sometimes it can feel like the smiling you is the real centrepiece of the picture.
Bonus – Time Wasting. You have two hours before your next appointment. So you sit down to read a book. You never get to it. This may have happened back then, but maybe less than today?
I am sure all of us fall foul to this list now and then, but are any of these things your standard way of functioning? Social media is an amazing resource, but as preachers and church leaders, let’s be sure to use it well!
Any other weird behaviours you would add to the list?