Twittering Church?

Are churches engaging the culture, making changes to spread the news and share the hope of Jesus? Or are they just twittering?

In business, I’ve tweeted quotes of conference speakers. And, when attendance wasn’t an option, I’ve watched tweets of twitterers at the conference. Their twittering created a feeling of connection with the event and gave the most impressive information almost like I was there. I’ve also taken conference notes on my iPhone and scheduled noted events in my calendar all while listening to the speaker. I’ve seen speakers reading scripture from their Blackberry and following their presentation notes from the same. Mobile devices aren’t just phones to those who utilize their great functionality. They’re cool tools!

Should these awesome devices be used during church? For a long time I’ve thought how Twitter can be used to create a community that is involved rather than spectating during church. Christ followers want to interact, make a difference, and worship. They don’t want to watch church. They want to engage. Those who use mobile devices and Twitter in their everyday life will naturally want to do so during church.

Twitterers heralded the prayer request for the shooting of Pastor Fred Winters of Maryville, IL that happened during a church service.  My husband and I received the real-time tweet and brought the request to the attention of our church meeting a thousand miles away. Real-time prayer needs. Should we twitter in church?

I wonder if the question of twittering in church could be rephrased, “Should church engage the culture?” When we send missionaries into a culture, they study it to learn effective ministry in it. We live in a post Christian culture that needs engagement for the purpose of sharing Jesus. My previous post with great video, Twittering Ministry, shows how today’s business world has changed and the implications for necessary change in ministry.

Once I had a friend jokingly tap me on the shoulder during the service and whisper, “Are you texting in church?” Me, a preacher’s wife, texting in church? I’ll admit to nothing. At that time I was only taking notes.

It seems taboo to utilize a different way of making notes than scribbling on a piece of paper. Wasn’t there a time when scribbling on paper was considered prep for passing notes in church? Now churches have fill in the blank outlines and other methods of engaging attendees with note taking. Why not the PDA? It won’t get lost or tossed as scrap.

Churches could teach their parishioners how to engage each other and their community during church with these not-so-new tools and alleviate the stigma of “not paying attention.” The fact is users may be even more engaged in worship and ministry than those sleeping or staring blankly at the wall behind the pastor. (Do you know how many ceiling tiles are in your church?)

Time magazine released an interesting article worth reading, “Twittering in Church with the Pastor’s O.K.” Certainly our world gets it, and some churches are getting on board as well. Check out a worship leader’s perspective “Using Twitter the Phone in Church.” by Chad.

 “What is Twitter?” some ask. It’s micro-blogging, or broadcast texting. You can say whatever to whoever wants to listen in 140 characters. You can use text messaging on phones, applications on PDA’s, and online computers to Tweet. For a better description of the what and how of Twitter, check out Michael Hyatt’s step-by-step posts or peruse Social Media Strategies and Tools Explained blog by Beth.

Oh, and tweet me, @RobinBryce. Let’s engage for the glory of Christ.

JUST A MINUTE

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8 thoughts on “Twittering Church?

  1. You’re determined to drag me into the world of technology, aren’t you? Ugh!

  2. Great article that also gave me a big smile. As a caregiver with a senior mom and grandkids with special needs, I do keep my cell phone on and have, on rare occasions texted, but not twittered. One thing I would like to do more of is just look up Bible verses on my cell, but I rarely do that either. :)And yet, I think nothing of writing down a quick snatch of a phrase or even a whole paragraph for an article, alongside my sermon notes. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Bill Moss says:

    Robin,
    If a church allows tweeting during the service, would it not invite some people (younger people particularly)to just be texting their friends? Who would know the difference?

  4. Only God knows what goes on in the minds of those in church. Dinner plans/prep, another date/appointment, or just plain daydreaming.

    What if we gave instructions on how to engage one another on the topic of the sermon using text and twitter? Used prompts to begin the “note taking.”

    This is what we do with the more common fill in the blank outlines. We ask the hearer to engage by taking notes, making comments on paper.

    What if we were given permission to use laptops and phones to take notes, text, and twitter all the important things we heard in the sermon and see what others thought was important?

    Incidentally, this is how students learn these days. It’s how they take notes in college. The church would do well to embrace the new technology and those who use it. It’s only the future where the Bible is on their hand helds.

    Could it be fear of change that makes us wary of the interaction of the parishioners. Chicken-fried preacher happening in real time, rather than over dinner. Oops, was that spoken by a preacher’s wife?

    I’m not saying all should, nor am I saying none should. I am saying it’s worth thinking about. Why do we resist change so much? Maybe we should read and be inspired by the old book, “Who Moved My Cheese.”

  5. Bill Moss says:

    Robin,
    Christian Men’s Accountability Group … 6 to 8 men meet weekly, EVERY week to discuss each others major Christian or Church related projects as well as each others primary personal trials … pray for and support each other in these regards and, of course, hold each other accountable for Christ-like living.
    Even with very limited knowledge of Twitter my instinct suggests Twitter accounts of each member could really take the group to a new level. Any suggestions before I recommend the group do something I know virtually nothing about?