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Subtle Self-Congratulations on Twitter

I love watching people (pastors especially) pat themselves on the back in very subtle ways on Twitter.  Most of us are guilty of it – let’s admit that up front – but the pure genius of some Twitter posts that promote the person without being obvious are pretty amazing.  For instance:

“We had 5,000 in attendance today!  God is good!”
“2,000 cars in the parking lot today, who would have believed it?”
“Did you read that great story on our ministry in the paper today?”
“A lady just told me what a blessing my message was this morning.  I’m just glad to help people!”
“My publisher tells me my book hit the 100,000 sales mark today!”

Don’t name names, but give us some better examples of what you’ve seen out there blatantly patting themselves on the back without it being noticeable…..  Find some good stuff out there!

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  1. Thank you for being bold enough to call this out. Someone that works for us got me into Twitter and I have many people I follow that I get something out of those 140 characters that uplift me. Some are friends that I follow to keep up. What I’ve noticed most is it’s a place to pimp your business – books, blogs, churches. I get that it’s a business tool but I was hoping for a little more. That being said, I hope to use your post to be mindful in what I tweet.

  2. Interesting that I’ve unfollowed a few pastors/ministry leaders for this blatant *self* promotion, but continue to follow business leaders who do it as their marketing agenda.

    Maybe twitter just isn’t the place to be truly authentic and that’s what we (I) require from Christian leaders. I wish I were better at celebrating successes like the ones you quoted. Instead I often turn a judgmental shoulder. Hypocritical? Or holding to a higher standard?

  3. I tweet. There I said it. I promote my book on it some. I say stupidly ridiculous stuff on it some. Pat me on the back? Well, I’m not a pastor, but I’ve bragged about God doing some cool stuff at church — never with the intent to say “Look what we did!”

    What’s strange is that just this past Monday I was reflecting on whether what I do via Twitter & Facebook have much meaning for anyone besides myself. I never spoke a word aloud to anyone. (Which is good, because I was home alone.) Later that night, I got this message from a friend:

  4. “Thank you for the varied quotes and tweets that you share. I read and digest them. Sometimes they are just what I needed to hear and are always a blessing. Keep this ministry going for the people like me who look for the Lords’ word but not so much in a group setting . It takes alot for me to quiet my mind and connect with the Holy Spirit. I can often do this after reading some of your blogs. I thankyou and love you.”
  5. Kinda cool, huh?

  6. It’s an interesting conundrum, because the very nature of Twitter is self-promoting (what am I doing/thinking/eating) & measures influence by numbers. Which is actually antithetical to the Christian life (to be great you must be a servant, lose your life to find it). Of course we’re human, and sinners, and even genuinely want to influence people for Christ. I don’t have an answer, but thanks for raising the question… 🙂

  7. I used to go to a church where the Pastor constantly talked about what God was doing in HIS church and HIS ministry and put down others in the body of Christ because they didn’t follow the Bible as good as he did. Okay, maybe that’s not so subtle…

    I don’t have a problem when pastors talk about how many people come to their church once in awhile but the problem is when they do it all he time and give themseles the glory instead of God.

  8. Some of the ones I have heard:

    “You’ll like this message, I already preached it to myself and was blessed.”

    Speaking of his current series: “I can’t wait to get blessed by this week’s teaching”.

    Nothing subtle here.

    Many Pastors (even the most “successful” ones), in my opinion/experience, are very insecure and need continuos afformation. There are only a few that I know of that don’t need a “at-a-boy” amen to affirm themselves.


  9. We are all guilty of a pat on the back now and then so it doesn’t bother me as long as it isn’t a reoccuring theme.

  10. The “prayer request” tweet — i.e., “We’re having this really impressive event with tons and tons of people coming: please pray.”  Or “Yesterday we had X,000 people in our service: please pray that they were touched.”  I tend to see this sort of thing a lot.

    Of course, sometimes self-congratulations are appropriate.  When done well, it’s called good P.R. and can boost the morale of church members or ministry supporters.

  11. I just want to say…

    That I’m so humbled about the way God is using my ministry to bless people. Only the other day a lady turned up and said what a blessing our website was.

    In fact we are so pumped because we think this has translated into an increase in our weekly attendence of 10% on the same time last year. I also see many new cars in our parking lot. Overjoyed as our missions strategy seems to be working – I’m seeing lots of cars who look like they are visiting from Germany cos they have the Bavarian flag on their bonnet.

    My publisher has told me that I’ve sold a staggering 1,000,000 books since my book was released yesterday. I knew that when I titled my book ‘What singing liturgical prophets can do for your church communications’ I was onto a winner.

    God is so good! Do I hear an amen?

  12. Things you will NEVER see on Twitter:

    “Lost 1,000 people after I preached a sermon about the ‘Myth of a Christian nation.'”  That happened to Pastor Greg Boyd.

    “Had to leave town because of the entrenched racism among a group of ‘God fearing, freedom loving patriots,’ who rejected me and my vision based on Revelation 7:9.”  That happened to a pastor whom I know and deeply love.

    “Baptised 10 people this week – 4 are dead and 3 are in hard labor in the gulag.”  Lots of Russian pastors could have shared that story …

    When are we going to drop the ego driven, star power version of Christianity and start getting real?  Good post Phil!  Keep calling them out!!


  13. The church I work at is large and growing (for our region). There is such a tendency to misuse social media. One pastor particularly notorious for this will write status updates on facebook that are clearly fishing for comments. What is worse, is people give him what he wants, and he will have 25, 30 sometimes more comments. So, it is hard to lay the issue entirely on him when so many others are enabling it.

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