Today I came out of the Twitter closet. Actually, someone opened the door and there I was – a little embarrassing.
Let me give you the background. I’ve been on Twitter for a while. But three weeks ago I was at a conference of pastors in Springfield, MO and attended a ‘Social Media’ workshop. It was emphasized all that Twitter could do for connecting with people and we were encouraged to use Twitter for the good of the Gospel. So I ramped up my Twitter use.
Two weeks ago I attended another pastor’s one day workshop and it was again emphasized to use Twitter. The book ‘The Taos of Twitter’ was recommended and in 3 days I finished the book. I began to get a better following and saw the advantages of Twitter in church work. So when Twitter wanted to access my contacts to send an invite, I enthusiastically said “YES”!
That’s when the word got out. Today I attended my Kiwanis club meeting (I am a happy Kiwanis member) and I was lovingly attacked with questions like “What is Twitter?” I was even fined $1 (friendly way of raising money for community projects) for all my invites to join Twitter. All the people at my table weren’t on Twitter because they didn’t have time to do all this social media stuff. They were lucky to do email or Facebook.
So when I left the meeting I went on my afternoon run and began to think ‘Why do I do Twitter?’ So here’s what I came up with. This is what Twitter has done for me in the last 3 weeks.
Twitter gives immediate updates. I heard about the Oklahoma tornadoes as they were happening, sports scores, a fire in one of our downtown historic buildings, and even a power outage that affected my driving through town. Even though I have to pass several mundane tweets to get to some good useful information, when I find a good one it’s worth it. I found out that one of my favorite Christian artists of the 80s is on a comeback following his announcement of terminal cancer – Carman’s Back!
Connect with Hurting People
Just this week one of my friends tweeted how much she missed her dad. She was daddy’s little girl. At once my heart went out to her and prayed for her. My dad passed away 20 years ago and I still miss him. So Twitter gave me an opportunity to reach out a heart and a hand that said “I care.” Pray for Katie.
Share my own Hurts
The week after my pastor’s conference, my wife’s dad died suddenly. He was 85 and had pneumonia. But we thought he was getting better. So on the way down to his home I just tweeted to remember Judy’s family. Within minutes my niece in Washington State tweeted how sorry she was and contacted my sister. Within minutes most of my family knew. Sometimes when you’re going through times like this you don’t think of connecting with others. Too many phone numbers to contact. Twitter allowed me to let others know what was happening and receive many kind thoughts. My wife, Judy, is not on Twitter, but as I read to her the messages of care it brought her comfort. Twitter helped in the valley of the shadow of death. Continue to pray for Judy.
I don’t know how, but I started following @Bmoore_oc, a pastor in southern California. He tweeted he was starting a new sermon series last week called ‘At the Movies.’ I’m starting a sermon series after Father’s Day called ‘Sunday at the Movies’ so I tweeted him. We talked off-Twitter and he gave me a great idea. We’re going to give away movie passes to all first-time guests and those who bring them the first Sunday. Would have never thought of it had it not been for Twitter.
Since tweets are 140 characters or less you can’t preach a sermon. But I’ve heard a lot of good mini-sermons this past week. Here’s a couple of them. @andysgilbert tweeted: Watch thoughts, they become words; words become actions; actions become habits; habits become character. Let Your Life become like Jesus. @RickWarren tweeted: You can’t make God stop loving you! The reason is God’s love for you isn’t based on who you are but on who He is.
When I sent out my invite to follow me on Twitter, I had a few young people ask “You’re on Twitter?” They couldn’t believe their pastor did Twitter. Suddenly my coolness level went up a couple notches. I’m definitely not trying to impress the youth with my technology intelligence. But tweeting helps me stay out of the stone age and in their world.
There’s more but I think you get the point. Twitter is one of the best ways to connect quickly with people. And the ministry is all about connection – connect with God and one another. Try it, learn about it, work it, and see the benefits.
Do you have a practical benefit of twitter you want to share?