The Social Pastor

Pic from Flickr by linkedmediagrp

A pastor friend of mine said something at a conference that I just cannot let go. It sticks with me and almost haunts me. It has become a new way of thinking for me. This quote has also changed how I engage certain aspects of ministry. It is convicting, challenging, provoking and true.

“A shepherd that does not smell like sheep is not a shepherd.”
That is huge.
How many pastors do you know that only work for Sunday morning? They believe that they are effective by just communicating the Scripture on Sunday morning and that nothing more is required of them. They do not attend small groups. They do not engage in evangelism. They do not engage their people on Facebook and Twitter. They do not invite people over to their house. They do not go to lunch with people. They do not return text messages, phone calls, or emails. You would begin to think that they were seriously withdrawn and that they were being disconnected from people on purpose.
Jesus uses the illustration that he is a shepherd and we are sheep. Jesus says that his sheep belong to his flock and his sheep know his voice and follow him. Did you get that? The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd and they follow him. What can you glean from this?
Jesus was engaged in the lives of his followers. Jesus was involved in the lives of his people to the point that he established himself as the example that we are supposed to follow in our lives. Everything we do, say, think, is for the dual purpose of glorifying God and pointing people to Jesus.
To be effective in ministry, you have to be involved in the lives of the people that God has given you to lead.

Sheep cannot know the shepherd if the shepherd is never around. Sheep can know about the shepherd but they would not know the shepherd. Sheep are not likely to follow a shepherd that is disconnected and distant.
One of the best ways you can be engaged with people is through social media.

Pic from Flickr by Jon Gosier

Through social media, especially with sites like Twitter and Facebook, you have an insight into what is going on in the hearts and minds of your people.
By engaging with your people on social networking sites you can:
  • Share the gospel online
  • Encourage, inspire, edify
  • See who the sermon challenged because they tweet about it
  • Read how God is changing the lives of people
  • Link to the blog you just wrote so that your people can see what you have to say to them
  • Post your sermon audio or video onto your Facebook page so that your people can experience it again
  • See how you can be praying for your people
  • Invite somebody to church
  • Invite somebody to coffee or lunch
  • Do an online Bible study

Pic from Flickr by stevegarfield

The opportunities to engage your people are numerous. Do not let them slip by.

And just because you have an account with Twitter or Facebook does not mean you are engaging people. You have to actually use the services to engage people.
You can’t visit with all of your people everyday or every week.  However, through Twitter and Facebook you can influence and engage more people.
God has given you a message.
Share it with your people.
Be social.