I’m typing a blog, so I’m obviously using technology and social media. Therefore, you would expect me to say that the use of technology and social media is “A-okay.” Truth is, I’m guarded in my response. I know how much I depend on my computer and my cell phone to do my job as a pastor, so I want to carefully tread as I speak to the subject of social media and technology.
Without question social media and all of our technology are here to stay. There is no denying this fact or getting around it. This stuff is no more going away than we’d stop using microwave ovens and return to cooking over an open fire.
Hey, do some of you remember these?
The ole rotary phone! Would you want to return to that? It took forever to even dial a phone number. Ha!
Here’s my point. We’re not going back, so what do we do with all this technology, social media? We’ve got I-phones, I-pads, MacBooks, Androids, Galaxies, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc., etc. I read a study a couple of weeks ago that said the average teenager had their cell phone in their hand or on their body (in a pocket) for 7 1/2 hours per day. Yikes! But, I got thinking about it. So do I! I would probably would be considered “addicted” because, I almost fall apart if I can’t find my phone. So, please here me…I’m not going to be the “pot calling the kettle black.”
Yes, I’m the “chief of sinners” when it comes to using technology and social media. Again, I couldn’t do my job without my computer and phone. There is no way I’m going back to trying to do everything by “snail mail.” It would be impossible to communicate and coordinate with people and yes…even spread the Gospel in the ways I seek to do through blogs, Daily Devotions and Facebook updates without social media and the technology available to me.
I am so connected to the net that it’s hard for me to remember being without a smart phone. You see, when you are driven like me, it’s hard to put the phone down. I’ll go one step further and really be brutally honest. Here’s the truth. I’m often tempted to text while I’m driving. Are you? It’s so hard to wait isn’t it? But, I make myself not to text while driving, because I don’t want to ask Kandace, my 16-year-old, to do something I’m not willing to do. But, I’m being honest here. It’s tempting, because I want to get things done. I’m a worker, right? I want to make things happen. I want people to think that “I’m on it” and for them to think, “Boy, that sure is a hard-working pastor.” But, that’s pride. Nothing but awful pride. Lord, forgive me. So, I force myself to wait. That’s called self-control and it’s the fruit of the Spirit. But, I’ll say it again…it ain’t easy!
We all know what texting and driving can do. Look at what this Hong Kong movie theater did. They asked their patrons to leave their cell phones on as they entered the theater. Then watch what happened during a Volkswagen ad before the start of the movie.
I’m just saying we’ve got to have a handle on it and understand what we are allowing it to do to us. We’ve got to control the technology and social media, or they will control us. Let’s make sure the dog is wagging the tail and not the tail wagging the dog.
So, let’s talk a bit about the use of the technology in the specifics of how we’re going to use it. I like what Thom Rainer says about it. He chronicles a few trends with Social Media and the Church. I’m listing five of the eight he lists:
- More church members use social media to encourage others in their churches. These words of encouragement are typically directed toward pastors and church staff. The good news is that these tweets and posts seem to be more frequent and pervasive.
- Church members increasingly use social media to point others to interesting articles related to Christianity and church life. Indeed, I am encouraged to see many such visits to my blog and to other sites that include information on faith and church life.
- Though in the minority, an increasing number of church members use social media to attack and criticize church leaders. I recently read a scathing attack on a pastor. It was filled with venom and vitriol.
- A number of church members are using social media wisely to share the gospel. I have been greatly encouraged to read many tweets and posts that point readers to articulate and loving presentations of the gospel. May their numbers increase!
- Church members are using social media with increasing frequency to share prayer requests. On more than one occasion, I have seen a prayer request spread virally. It is very encouraging to see the power of prayer on this modern medium.
I think I’ll end my foray on the net tonight and talk to my bride before bedtime and offer you this thought-provoking music video. We used it tonight as part of our devotion time after supper. Clara and Andrew liked it so much that we watched it twice. It’s called: “Can We Auto-correct Life.”