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Should pastors tweet?

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by Jason Smathers on April 7, 2009

3 million is a conservative estimate of the number of twitter users. Twitter remains secretive about statistics on their network usage, but thanks to Quantcast we have a good idea of who is using twitter. The primary group being age 18-34 and a close second being the 35-49 age group with 32% of the users having kids under 18.

Anecdotal evidence from my visiting the six Southern Baptist churches nearest to me and a trip to the state SBC convention indicates that the church has failed to reach the 18-49 age group. I have witnessed a strong youth ministry and a strong senior ministry, but a gaping hole in between. We are faced with the challenge of reaching two skipped generations with the Gospel. The two generations we need to reach happen to be on Twitter.

I recently discussed tweeting with a pastor whom is reluctant start in fear of being tied down to his computer and taking time away from other ministry. This is a valid concern. People get carried away with Twitter. Many of us have seen the flutter YouTube video and other mockery of Twitter users being lost in Twitter and ignoring reality. This satire is humorous because of the truth in the matter. However, a cautious pastor can avoid this. A handful of tweets per day is sufficient and can be done from your cell phone.

Ready to get started? Create your account and have your webmaster put a link to it on your website. Print your user name in your church bulletin and mention it in church. Your congregation will begin to follow you and you should follow your favorite pastors and theologians.

Twitter is viral. You can tweet: “getting ready for the big Resurrection Sunday service at 11AM 4/12. Coffee, doughnuts, and the story of the cross.” Then your followers can “retweet” your message. You just gave your congregation a way to invite everyone they know to service and it will take them all of 5 seconds to rebroadcast your message.

Not only can you use twitter to grow your flock, but you can edify your flock as well. Many members of your church will enjoy following your ministry and it can encourage them to become involved. Imagine tweets like “door to door evangelism tonight, be at the worship building at 6pm if you want to join” or “Sunday’s sermon is online, have a listen here: ” or “I am reading Gill’s commentary on Romans 5 in preparation for Sunday’s sermon” and even “#pray4 sister smith, she is in the hospital with pneumonia”

My conclusion: Yes! Pastors should tweet.

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