Check Facebook and Twitter in Selecting Your Next Preacher (Church)

In 1976, when I started compiling a list of topics to discuss with elders in evaluating a move, I wanted to get all the right answers. I thought if we agreed on everything, we’d work well together. Read: Questions to Discuss with Elders When Considering Working with a Congregation

I found two problems with this approach:

  1. I didn’t find a group of elders who agreed with me on everything.
  2. After I moved, I found some topics we hadn’t discussed.

In the following years, I became more concerned with finding people with the heart to work through differences when we encountered them. I wanted to examine the heart of those I would be working with.

That’s when I developed the idea that churches were “trying out” as well as the preacher. You’ll find some ways I did that: Read: Checking Church References

We now have more tools to observe the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:34-37:

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (ESV).

If search teams, elders, and preachers are doing their homework in the selection process, people will give an account of words they speak before the day of judgment.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, podcasts, and other media sites reveal the hearts of those writing or speaking.

  • Do you want to work with people who refer to people who disagree with them in a discussion as “stupid,” “idiot,” or “false teacher” (quotes from some Facebook discussion pages where preachers and elders discuss important issues), or someone who asks, “Have you thought about this verse, this approach?”
  • Which gains more credibility — one who shares many posts about political and religious ideas without checking them to determine if they are accurate, or those who have researched the sources?
  • Had you rather work with people who are more ready to tell everyone else how they’re wrong or someone who shares how he or she made a mistake or realized they’d believed something was not the way they’d previously thought?

I recommend churches looking for a preacher and preachers looking for a church to search the social media pages of prospective preachers and their wives. I suggest preachers search the social media pages of elders and their wives. Check group pages where many of these topics are discussed.

It’s better to learn these things before you sign the contract and unload the U-Haul than to learn them six weeks after you’ve made the decision.

People (you and I) speak and write out of the abundance of our hearts.

What are some ways you determine compatibility before you decide to get into a close relationship?

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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