As I write this post, my wife and I are driving the New Orleans to Tallahassee leg of our “Exploring the South” road trip from San Antonio to Miami and we are having a great time. When we are on vacation, Lavonne and I have a few fun traditions including me getting a haircut, taking selfies at borders / state lines but one our favorites is taking the opportunity to visit other Churches and just being in the congregation. We go in, eyes open and hearts open to what God wants to teach us and seeing how other Churches do Church. I always learn a lot and appreciate something new about life at home when I am there.
So this time we decided on Sunday to visit a large Church in Texas that is well know for sure. I was excited to see how they do things, how a new person is received, how they do media, worship, connection etc. I was all ears and eyes trying to take it all in. I posted a photo of the sanctuary and mentioned that I was going to Church there tonight.
Within minutes there was two comments on my Facebook wall, with criticism of the Theology and leadership of the Church that I was visiting while others were amazed by the grandeur of it, and other asking how it was. I was struck by the critical comments, not because of what they said ;after all they were comments I had heard before and knew of going in, but because I realized who was going to read them. I deleted the comments this morning for two reasons.
It confuses Students: For my students who logged onto Facebook last night they saw that I was at a Church, I work at a Church, they attend the Church I work at, so in their eyes its just more of the same. So when they log in a read that I am attending a Church that a friend of mine is criticizing it cause a disorientation that is not necessary or helpful to their walk.
It confuses Non-Believers: For my friends on Facebook who are non-believers, hearing a critical comment about a Church could be just another reason not to believe or to increase disillusionment with the Church. For them, just like students it can be confusing to hear Christians being publicly critical of another Christian group.
Its very important that we as pastors be informed, that we understand what we believe and why, but be constantly mindful of the side effects of sharing that opinion in a public forums online or even in coffee shop, people are listening to what we say and reading what we are writing. I am going to follow