Growing up in a church I was told treat the church worship service a lot like a library, somber and quiet. I was to remain as still as possible and pay attention to the front of the room (I was definitely not raised charismatic). That was almost twenty years ago, now when I look out at a worship service, I see things have definitely changed.
Now when I look across a worship service, I see various devices as church members are texting, tweeting, updating their Facebook statuses and well, just checking the time (we can’t be late for the lunch buffet down the street). More importantly though, I see people using social media to communicate about what is going on in the worship service in real time.
Is this a good thing? Should we be live tweeting a worship service? Aren’t we just feeding people’s inability to pay attention to God’s word as it is being taught? It’s a good question and one that I’ve been thinking about for a while.
Let me be clear, I think the teaching of God’s word is vital for the health of a church. I also know that we have shifted in the way we interact in everyday life. I think that tweeting during a worship service actually gives us some unique ways to not only interact with those in the pew, but also those outside our church. Here are few reasons why I think tweeting during a worship service is actually a good idea:
Tweeting Puts You in Front of the Story
Here’s a fact. People are going to tweet during the worship service. You can’t stop it and it will probably become more prevalent in the years to come. By tweeting during the worship service, you can get a head of the story. Why is this important? Well let’s say your minister says something that could be taken out of context to mean something entirely different. If someone tweets that out, you now have to come back and correct that person and try to set the record straight.
However, if you are live tweeting you can be the first to get the story out and make sure it’s accurate. (Note, this may require getting a sneak peek at your minister’s notes before they teach). It also let’s everyone know what you believe the key takeaways are for that teaching (click here to learn more about this).
Tweeting Makes the Sermon Interactive
Darrell Gwaltney recently shared with me the following idea and I think it’s great. If you have access to what your minister is speaking on beforehand, go ahead and pull any historical or biblical background research from the web. Then when your minister mentions a town, a theological term or major figure, tweet out a link to that background information on the web. This give your members real time information about what they are hearing.
Tweeting Lets Them Know You Are Listening
If you are planning to tweet during a worship service, make sure that you are keeping the social in social media. If your members have questions or comment during a service, don’t be afraid to answer them back. They will be surprised and delighted to know that their church is listening.
Tweeting Takes the Conversation Outside of the Church
While conversing on Twitter with your members can be great, it’s also important to remember that this is a chance to take the conversation outside of the church building. Show people what they are missing by not attending! Use hashtags, Vine and Instagram to give your tweets some variety and help them become more likely to be shared by your members to the outside world.
Now with all this said, are there times when you should encourage turning off the phone and enjoy the stillness of God? Yes. However, with social media we now have the tools and means to deeply engage our members on a level that has not existed before.
Question: Do you encourage live tweeting during the worship service? If so, how? Click here to comment below.