Technology is a blessing and a curse.
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, I have a blog, and I’m on Pinterest.
And, before you ask me to give up my man-card, you may want to hear the recipe for cinnamon roll waffles I picked up on Pinterest the other day.
Why have I embraced technology?
I want to stay connected with my friends, my congregation, my children, my extended family, and with my culture.
For example, here’s how I use Facebook as a ministry tool:
1) Keeping in touch with people in the church.
2) I’ve found it’s great for use as focus group (help with sermons). I routinely ask questions like, “What’s your biggest fear?”, “What drains you?”, and “What did you want to be when you grew up?” and use the results in my sermons.
3) Encouragement. I use it to offer encouragement to people in my congregation.
4) Shepherding. More than a few times, I’ve found out about a need or a crisis from Facebook. I can then follow up immediately with them.
5) Keeping informed. Facebook helps me to better know what is going on in the lives of people in my congregation. It’s common for me to comment to people on Sundays about something I read about on Facebook. This is not always good. I have also discovered things about members…like what they like to do in Vegas, how they look in a bikini, and where they put that tattoo they got while drunk one night in college :)…about which I’d rather not have known.
6) Prayer prompter. Almost every day, I’m prompted to pray for someone about something they shared on Facebook. Even today, I’ve already let about 4 people know that I’ll be praying for them today.
7) Outreach. I use technology to maintain and build relationships with my non-Christian friends because I care about them and hope they one day know how much Jesus cares about them.
8) Promoting church events.
9) Help people to get to know me, which can be both good and bad…but hopefully, mostly good.
All that being said, technology can drain us and keep us from being effective.
1. Create boundaries for your use of technology at home.
There should be times and places when you’re not on your smart phone, checking emails, or updating your status.
If you love to tweet I’d recommend things like TweetDeck that allow you to set up all your tweets conveniently.
2. Create boundaries for your use of technology at work.
It’s rude to be texting while someone is talking to you in the church lobby.
It’s ineffective to not be present in a meeting because you are present on the internet.
3. Turn off your phone when you need to “be where the bein’ is.”
I typically turn off my phone at 9 at night and on Sunday afternoons. I tell people in the church that, if they need me, they can always knock on my door.
We’re really not that important.
When I see a preacher who feels like he needs to be accessible to his people 24/7; I see an insecure man who needs his people more than they need him.
4. Don’t start measuring your value to the Kingdom by how many followers you have on Twitter or friends on Facebook.
I heard Perry Noble share that he took a picture of his daughter and she asked him, “Dad, will you please not put that on Twitter? Let’s just keep it a Daddy and daughter thing.” He said that was a wake-up-call.
5. Turn off your email when you’re on vacation.
6. Don’t text anyone of the opposite sex but your spouse or coworkers.
Of all the couples I’m working with who are trying to survive an extra-marital affair, every one started with texting.