Pastors and Social Media: How Social Media Impacts Pastoral Duties

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My Pastor is Hooked on Social Media

This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell sit down and talk about the responsibilities of pastors and what seems to be a lack of focus by many pastors today due to the increasing presence many of them have on social media. Around the country, many pastors are found sounding off on all kinds of issues related to something happening in the media, politics, a new hashtag on Twitter, or even about things going on in other countries. Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell to what degree should a pastor, or even a ministry leader, be commenting on these kinds of things. At what point can this be considered excessive and potentially distracting from his ministry and his responsibility to his local church? Does a pastor even bear a responsibility to speak out about some of these things happening in the culture? Can they speak out about things happening within their denomination and maybe even about things within the church at large? Can this manner of constant commenting and sharing of viewpoints and opinions affect that pastor in more ways than just distraction from his primary calling? What kind of impact might it have on his congregation?

Dr. Caldwell does not see these as easy-to-answer questions with strict yes or no’s, sharing that it's really a matter of judgment. We all have viewpoints, and we all have opinions. Pastors aren’t singled out by Scripture and commanded to be silent with respect to these things. But they are responsible as shepherds to be good examples to their flock in every realm of life. So when we think about responding to some of these things going on, we need to think about what we're focused on. Are we focused on those things we’re supposed to be? Are we focused on those things we’re supposed to be giving our lives to; versus constant sensitivity, awareness, and reacting to everything happening in the world around us? We sort of live our lives with this fake omniscience where social media brings us into what’s happening in the world, all over the world. Dr. Caldwell reminds us that he has shared this before. He is convinced that we are not meant to go about living our lives like this. Think of those who have lived before us. They just didn’t live like this, constantly bombarded with news events, etc., every moment of every day, feeling an urgent and desperate need to respond to them. Yet, he doesn’t see it wrong or sinful to comment. There may even be times when it might be good, clarifying, and helpful to do so. But, he asks, are you in tune, focused on, and immersed in the local church that God has called you to give your life to? That’s the pastors calling; they aren’t called to shepherd the world but the local congregation where the Lord has placed them. In 1 Peter 5, Dr. Caldwell reminds us that Peter calls the elders to shepherd the flock that is among them. Dr. Caldwell points out that Peter reminds the elders that their responsibilities are to be right there, where God has placed them in that local congregation. They are to shepherd that flock!

Dr. Caldwell speaks about the podcast he and Dr. Philpot do each week. He explains that it represents their awareness that if they can be of some help to someone else in some other place in the world, to some small degree, advancing the gospel, and glorifying Christ, then they want to do that. But it needs to be done in such a way as to not distract from their primary calling and obligation. As Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Philpot do these podcasts, the congregation of Founders Baptist Church benefits from them as well, it’s not just for people outside this church. It’s a forum for talking about practical things that are hopefully helpful to people all over if the Lord should be pleased to use it that way. But not in a way that distracts them from shepherding the flock they’re to serve and minister to.

Lastly, Dr. Caldwell addresses the impact and effect this kind of caught-up-ness and distraction might have on the pastor who does this pretty regularly, and the congregation he shepherds. He tells us for that man, it’s as if his antennas are always up, up in the sense of being agitated, bothered, and overly distracted. He becomes a man constantly being pulled around by what’s happening around him. Pastors are meant to be men characterized by steadiness and even a sort of quietness. He shares the farming analogy from the New Testament to help us see what kind of men pastors ought to reflect. He also shares that they aren’t meant to be pugnacious fighters, always wanting to fight something and having a love of controversy. This ends up with the man being self-exalting, thinking his voice matters, his perspective matters. The danger this presents is that he produces the same kind of people in his congregation because that’s the influence he's having on them. It starts with the man himself and then flows out to the congregation, and that's a very real danger.

Someone somewhere said, “As the pulpit goes, so goes the church.” And to quote Steve Lawson, “No church will rise any higher than its pulpit.” What the man of God sets his plow to really matters, and the work to which the pastor shepherd has been called is a very high calling. Dr. Caldwell's advice for fellow shepherds is to not get distracted and not become a sort of full-time commentator on everything going on in the world. He says that’s not your calling if you’re a pastor. Give your life to your church; that’s your calling.

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 25 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Graphic Design
David Navejas

DP / EDITING / COLOR
JUAN CARLOS CLAVERIA

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE
FOUNDERS BAPTIST CHURCH
MEDIA TEAM VOLUNTEERS

Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by
LynneMusic

Motion Graphics
The Media Stock

Set Decorator
Molly Atchison

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

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