Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

Why Aren’t Pastors Teaching About Social Media?

Few things in culture are having such a controversial impact…

I’ll get some haters with this article, but for a long time I’ve advocated that pastors teach their congregations about using social media with Biblical wisdom. Think about it. From the perspective of negative cultural impact, according to the Young Health Movement:

– Above 90% of people aged between 16 and 24 years on the Internet use social media websites only.
– In all age groups people using social media are more depressed.
– People find social media effects more addictive than the use of tobacco and alcohol.
– Most of the users of social media are also suffering from increased anxiety, depression and poor sleeping conditions like insomnia.

The negative effects on families is mounting. It provides a place where kids and teens can engage with sites and people their parents know nothing about. Kids are avoiding their families and prefer to spend more time with their gadgets alone in their rooms. A number of years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, I saw a documentary on the phenomenon in China where parents are having their kids kidnapped and put into intensive de-programming because online gaming is taking up so much of their lives.

I could go on and on, but you get it. Social media is a wonderful thing – IF you have the knowledge and skills to control it. Say what you like, but most people don’t have those skills and we’re seeing the deterioration happening in our culture every day.

Does the Bible speak about social media? Of course not. But there’s plenty of things pastors discuss from the pulpit that aren’t mentioned in the Bible. All I’m asking is for pastors to consider having someone come in and teach parents how to help their kids navigate the social media world – or pastors can do it themselves if they have the knowledge. While they’re at it, they can teach the rest of us how to be wise when it comes to using those platforms.

The dramatic rise in misinformation, polarization, criticism, stalking, and overall snarkiness can be traced to social media. So before it completely takes over our lives, let’s learn how to harness it for good.

Pastors?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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4 Comments

  1. Phil, your post has had me very pensive for the past few days because I am a professor at the Hispanic Bible School and the leader of the media department at my Hispanic church. As such, I operate in this cultural context where the older generation has basically shutdown social media as evil and the following generation does not, as you stated, “have the knowledge and skills to control it.”

    So, if you don’t mind, I am going to borrow your statement, translate it, “Las redes sociales son algo maravilloso, si tienes el conocimiento y las habilidades para controlarlas.” And continue teaching how to use social media as tool to propagate the Gospel.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement and wisdom.

  2. Dear Phil, thank you for the wonderful thought of having to tell the congregation about Social media. It is a sensitive subject and I don’t think I can tell it in my church. But I like your suggestion to invite somebody who good at it to teach the young people in the church. Thanks again.

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