He was referring to the way pastors often post pictures of restaurants and trips to conferences and date nights with their wives. Every post is about victory and success and ease. The message is "Become a Christian or a pastor and your life will be amazing like this!"
I actually saw a single mom comment on a pastor's Florida conference post recently, "I wish I could take vacations like that!"
We need to be careful the "reality" that we present on social media. That woman is being misled and the church is being taught that their money goes to give the pastor cool trips and experiences.
Here are two scenarios that I'm thinking through regarding social media and how I use it as a pastor.
- A person, non-Christian, wants to learn about a church or about Christ and they check out the pastor' social media feed. What do they learn?
- A company, church, or organization is looking to hire a pastor or bring him in for a conference or publish a book. What do they learn when they look at his social media feed?
- If you are brave, ask someone to Google your name and find out about you. What do they learn?
How do we use social media well? What is public? What is private? What is appropriate?
Right now, I'm treating Facebook as a private platform and Instagram as a public platform. So anyone can see whatever I post on Instagram but only friends see what is on Facebook. That way people can learn about me on Instagram, but since I have closer friends on Facebook (and 14 year history on there) I can post things for close friends.
What is the real me?
Gary Vaynerchuk says that social media is for documenting, not creating. We should be our real selves and not put on a show for other people.
If people see the real me on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube, then what is the real me? I hope it is that I am loved by Jesus and that that is a radically transforming truth. I hope that they see I actually treasure and enjoy my family. I hope that they see that I spend my life creating things: gardening is a seasonal activity for me as I join God in creation and cultivation; ice cream is a glorious thing to make at home with my family; renovating our house is an old and wonderful form of creativity where I literally change the world I live in; starting a church is a tough but wonderful act of creation.
I think we should evaluate ourselves. Are we presenting the version of ourselves that Jesus would have us present? Is this really what pastors should look like to the world?