Last year, while preaching, a notable pastor made comments on homosexuality that were recorded and posted on the internet. Her comments went viral. Many viewers—Christians and non-Christians alike—acknowledged that while portions of the comments were in line with Scriptures, the delivery was devoid of love and instead perpetuated hate and condemnation. The pastor in question was forced to respond to the backlash on social media, and in turn, she experienced a wave of ramifications, including the loss of an appearance on a popular television show, the cancellation of a radio show, and even the stripping of an earned honor and award.
I watched the situation with this pastor unfold from the periphery and as an outsider, but with a great deal of interest. As I fellowshipped with church leaders and met with clients of mine who are pastors, this trending topic was a constant point of conversation. Through these dialogues, I had the opportunity to talk to these ministry leaders about the rules of engagement for social media. After all, social media brings many positives to the church experience—through it, many churchgoers and followers feel more connected and more invested because they can interact with pastors and leaders as they share about issues and matters outside the realm of the pulpit and Bible study. Social media is now an intrinsic part of modern evangelism and a church’s “new normal” on myriad fronts.