After I posted this story to our website, I immediately used social media to let you know it was here. So now I’m going to say that social media isn’t always the right tool for ministry communications.
And I’m not the only one who thinks that.
Matt Crawford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sebring, says there are too many limitations for it to be a one-size-fits-all solution. He made these remarks during a wide-ranging and face-to-face conversation for our Behind the Pulpit interview series.
“It is a very valuable tool that I use in ministry here at our church, and in other ministry contexts,” Pastor Matt said in reference to social media. “It is an incredible communications tool. But I think we’ve got to realize the limitations of 140 characters on Twitter.
“Just about every day you see a conversation and you’re like, ‘This would have gone much better in person.’ You can’t share much of the nuance, the emotion, the tone of voice—all that’s gone. All that’s gone on Facebook, too, even though there’s not the character limit.”
“So I think we’ve got to be careful about trying to have these big, serious debates. There’s a limitation. We probably don’t need to be spouting off right after a big event in the news, whether it’s terrorism or a shooting, or whatever. And I think Christians have got to be more sensitive to that than most people because of our responsibility in sharing and living out the Gospel.”
So what should we do when it comes to our use of social media?
First, consider its limitations. Secondly, if you are going to engage, make sure you can believe the best about that person and present their argument accurately. Then, and this is extremely important, Matt said: Decide whether you’d have a better outcome over a cup of coffee than a keyboard that’s hot from use.
This is our final blog post from my conversation with Pastor Matt. Here’s the link to the first one, where I asked Matt how the Southern Baptist Convention could get more young pastors involved in the convention: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1755 In our second blog, Matt and I talked about church-planting obstacles. Here’s that link: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1757 And, in our third blog post, Pastor Matt and I talked about strategies for reaching millennials with the Gospel: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1759
This digital content will not be repeated in our August print edition, but that issue will include an edited version of Pastor Matt’s thoughts on a range of other topics as part of our regular “Behind the Pulpit” feature.
A video of our conversation will appear on goFBW.com within the next several days. You can go now to the Witness’ YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/2pnmUFX to see videos of H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in the Jacksonville area; Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in the Tampa area; Sam Rainer, pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church; 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