Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… they can be so encouraging some days when your feed is full of good news, funny pet videos and inspirational quotes. Other days it can make you want to crawl in a cave and hibernate until next spring!
I definitely want to be a positive contributor on social media. I hope people like hearing from me and I can share humor, encouragement and maybe even some motivation or inspiration. When I hear or read something that challenges me in a positive way or lifts my spirits I like to share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
However, I admit there have been a few times while listening to a message on a Sunday morning that I’ve caught myself eager to share a quote from my pastor, but hesitated. I figure I must not be the only person to wonder what is the right or best thing to do in this situation.
3 Things to Consider Before Posting During the Sermon:
1) Will I be a distraction?
These days you see fewer and fewer real Bibles being carried into church on a Sunday. We are in the digital age of YouVersion and many churches include the Scripture up on the screen during the message. So it is not unusual for someone to be reading Scripture and following the message outline right there on their smartphone or tablet. Many people even take notes on their device. However, consider if your typing and posting that amazing point pastor just made to Twitter might actually cause the people around you to turn their attention for a moment to you and away from the power of the message. You don’t ever want to be a stumbling block.
2) Would this be just as impactful if I waited to post?
It is not unusual for me to want to share immediately when I am impacted by a thought or verse. However, I’m trying to learn to allow myself more time to process. In this age of immediate gratification it makes sense to respond quickly. In 20 seconds I can hear…post…and share. I’m learning there is power in reflection and giving things time to internally settle. Often if I take a minute to type the quote into Evernote or take a picture of what I just read and then later go back and reflect on it, it brings greater depth and insight. Often then I’ve had time to really unpack why the quote impacted me and even what I can learn from it. There is maturity in moving past “knee-jerk” sharing to soul searching and then passing on some wisdom through social media.
3) Is it meant to criticize or encourage?
When you set out to post something about a sermon or comment on something regarding your church, it is wise to consider the bigger picture. Do you want your voice on social media to be one of criticism or encouragement? Perhaps you have a valid suggestion or point to be made, but if it might be viewed negatively you should consider sharing it in a less public forum. A private meeting in your pastor’s office, over coffee or even a personal email would usually be more positively received. Generally, your pastor and staff welcome feedback but they deserve the same respect and consideration you would like to receive.
Posting about your pastor’s great message on Sunday or an amazing event your youth group held is a great way to spread the word about your church as well as support your staff and lay leaders. Taking the time to slow down and consider a few things, you can use your online voice to help grow the Kingdom and carefully avoid unintended hurt feelings or offense.
What have you seen or heard recently at your church that you could post as an encouragement to others?