When rec league softball could be more important than Twitter

Sam Rainer, pastor of West Bradenton Baptist ChurchShould a pastor run for City Council or play on a City League softball team?

Sam Rainer, pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, answers his own question with a qualified “yes.”

I spent time with Pastor Sam recently as part of our ongoing interview series we call “Behind the Pulpit.” During our time together, I asked him to elaborate on a podcast of his where he talked about pastors building a personal platform. Here's the link: http://samrainer.com/2017/02/est-church-podcast-building-a-church-brand/

There are pastors, unfortunately, who simply want to build name recognition so they can use their church to launch themselves, Pastor Sam said.

“But if you’re talking about platform in the sense of reputation—a platform in the sense of people knowing who you are—I do think it’s important for pastors to be known in their communities,” he said.

In fact, he said: “I would challenge any pastor to be more concerned about your reputation, or your platform, in your local community than, say, how many Twitter followers you have.”

In other words, make sure you or your pastor have positive answers to questions such as these:

  • • What do community leaders think of you?
  • • Are you even connected to community leaders?
  • • Do you know what’s going on in their lives, and what they’re doing in their spheres of influence?

And this draws us back to the civic organization or ball team.

“Pick something where you know who the influencers are, and join that organization and do everything you can to serve whatever civic organization you are a part of,” said Pastor Sam. “While you’re there, you’re going to make friends who know people, hopefully, and learn a little bit about how you can minister to them.”

Rotary not your thing? Chamber types appear to be too stuffy?

Then look for a rec league ball team that needs a left fielder or shooting guard.

“Whether it’s soccer or a basketball league, do something to get you out into the community and get you out of the church bubble,” says Pastor Sam, later adding: “Just get out of that church bubble. Civic organization, ball team, whatever it is. I don’t know if that’s a platform issue or not, but it certainly helps build your reputation in the community.

“You should be out there in your community in some way, shape or form.”

This was just one of the interesting things Pastor Sam and I talked about during our conversation. I’ll be posting more blogs in this space between now and the April 27th release of our May print edition, which will include an edited version of our conversation.

A video of our conversation also will appear on goFBW.com later this month. You can go now to the Witness’ YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/2nEDuy4 and watch videos of Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola; Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater; Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church outside of Tampa; and, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at kbumgarner@goFBW.com, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor

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