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Should We Use Twitter During Church?

Twitter%20in%20Church.jpg

In the past year Twitter has exploded in popularity. A USA Today article I read this week said its membership increased 3,000% in the last year. This year at Next 2009 a number of attendees (along with the team at Next) used Twitter to share ongoing reports about the conference (you can read these posts by doing a search for #thisisnext.) Last year people blogged about the conference, this year there was hardly any blog activity--Twitter's micro-blogging had essentially wiped out "traditional" blogging.

Lately I've been hearing the question of whether Twitter has a place during a church's worship services. If people use Twitter to comment on every aspect of their life during the week, should they continue the practice while their pastor is preaching? TIME magazine did an article entitled "Twittering in Church, with the Pastor's O.K." that described several congregations that are actively encouraging their congregation Twitter during church. One church had training sessions and even has a feed of Twitter comments projected on the screen.

While I personally enjoy Twitter and find it to be a useful tool for sharing and receiving information, I'm not excited about encouraging people to use Twitter during the Sunday meeting. This isn't to pass judgment on pastors who do encourage its use and I'm happy to hear evidence that it adds spiritual benefit, but here are a few reasons why I won't be encouraging the members of Covenant Life Church to Twitter during the meetings. I'll apply this to myself:

1. Playing with my iPhone (or cell phone or Blackberry) during the sermon will likely distract me. I'll be tempted to check my email or read my Twitter feed that has nothing to do with the sermon.

2. Even if I didn't look at anything else, the mere act of "tweeting" some quote or question or thought from the sermon would be several minutes in which I wasn't actively listening to the sermon. Brain space would be taken up with typing and getting my word count under 140. God's word preached is so important, so precious, I don't want anything to distract me from hearing it. What if those two minutes in which I'm distracted are the two minutes my soul needs the most?

3. The most important thing I can do while I'm sitting under the preaching of God's word is to listen to what God is saying to me. I need to actively engage my heart and mind to receive (Isaiah 66:2). Twitter, can take the focus off of hearing and receiving and and makes it broadcasting and sharing. So instead of my mind being engaged with thoughts of "What is the Word of God saying to me?" when I start "tweeting" my focus becomes, "What do I want to say? What do I want to express? What am I thinking?"

4. I think we all need to ask what our example says to other people we're worshiping alongside. Can a person look at me during the worship and see from the way I sit, listen and engage that the Bible is "breathed out by God" (2 Tim. 3:16), and worthy of honor, that preaching is valuable? Of course this applies to a lot more than the issue of Twitter. If I'm nodding off to sleep, reading the bulletin, staring off into space or filing my finger nails it can send the wrong message, too. So what does someone think if they see me playing with my cell-phone during the sermon? "Oh, he must be so enamored with the truth of God's word that he's using Twitter to share the truth he's just heard with the world! God, your word is glorious!" Uh, I really don't think so. They'll probably think, "I should pull out my phone...wonder if I've gotten any email."

5. Just because something is incredibly popular in culture doesn't mean we have to accommodate it in our worship. Who cares if the whole world is talking about Twitter? Lost people in this world don't need to see that we're current with the latest trend, they need to hear God's unchanging truth (see 1 Peter 1:24-25). They need to understand that God's word makes a demand on their life. And they should see from us a reverence and holy awe in the presence of God and his word that points them to the fact that what happens in a Christian church is completely different than anything happening in the world.

6. My final reason for why Twitter should be left at the door when we come to church is very simple: you can tweet about the Sunday service after church. I'm not a Twitter hater. In fact I love the idea of members of my church reviewing their notes and tweeting about what God spoke to them during the message. But they can do that later on Sunday afternoon and nothing will be lost.

Twitter is a useful tool. If you're a Christian and you use it I hope you actively consider how it can reflect the supremacy of Jesus Christ in your life. Ask God to help you use it to share the gospel and build up the saints.

One way to do that is to use Twitter (after the Sunday service) to share what you learned from the Sunday sermon. I think it's a great witness to unbelieving friends and an encouragement to fellow-Christians who follow you on Twitter to see that you're hearing and seeking to apply the sermon you heard Sunday.

But it's also a good witness for them to see that something so important, so essential, so holy happens on Sunday morning when God's church gathers that Twitter takes a back seat. When God is speaking again through his word, we should all be silent--and so should our Twitter feeds.


Update: I've enjoyed reading all the feedback. John Piper even joined the conversation with this insightful post.

I wanted to add a few points of clarification to my original thoughts. First, I wouldn't encourage anyone to make "no tweeting in church" some sort of law or to judge people or churches that have a different practice than you. I appreciate the comments pointing out the fact that God is concerned with our hearts. We can be distracted and cold-hearted with a pen and paper in our hands just as easily. I'm simply sharing here why I don't plan to actively encourage my congregation to use twitter during worship.

Second, a number of people have commented on note taking as being the same as using Twitter. I do think it's possible to be so consumed with perfect notes that you miss some of the sermon. It's worth thinking about. But obviously each person is different. That's why we should be careful in saying there's only one way to do things. For me personally, the issue of medium (note pad or computer or iPhone) is less an important than the issue of recording something in order to instantly share it with others.

The obvious difference between taking notes on a pad and tweeting is that when I tweet I'm concerned with writing it for others. I'm focused on delivering instead of receiving. Plus my note pad doesn't do email.

I hope you've found this discussion useful. Where we disagree, let's do so charitably.

Your feedback--encouragement or disagreement--on this post is welcomed. You can follow me on Twitter at @HarrisJosh.

Comments (95)

Great article. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Leave the tweeting for after the service.

"What if those two minutes in which I'm distracted are the two minutes my soul needs the most?"

Then God wouldn't have you tweet at that time.

I agree. I'll admit I've tweeted in church before, but only because I really liked a line that the pastor used, so I posted that up. But in the same vein as what you said, Josh, what if what was said as I was typing it in on my phone was what I really needed to hear?

Amen, Josh!

I agree completely. I, personally, think there's something to be said for pen, paper, and Bible. I can type much faster than I can write, but I feel that something about being on my computer (or phone) disengages me from the preaching. If I'm listening to my friend share his heartfelt advice to me, I'm not going to be on my cell phone. How much more attention should I be giving my Creator and Savior whose word is being preached?

...In a way it's like attempting to create a group conversation when God wants to speak to you alone.

Great points and I agree. Personally, I turn off my cell phone before church and sometimes even leave it in the car. I don't want to be tempted to check for messages. I go to church to focus on God's word and worship away from the chatter of electronics. It is like my little vacation from the stressors of the outside. This is one reason I get a little perturbed when I hear a cell phone go off in the middle of a sermon. However, I do take notes during a service-is this equally distracting?

Very good article. I don't understand why anyone would disagree.

I don't have a problem is someone wants to type their notes either. However, it's the potential to be distracted by other items in the gadget. It may be easier to just write it down and type it later. Then, you will definitely revisit whatever you wrote down.

Plus, the way Twitter overloads at times you might really get distracted trying to get Twitter to tweet.

Mark

p.s. I will send my other thoughts via Twitter :-)

I agree... But what do we say to tweeting for tech teams? I think that's a very effective way of communication within the team for fixing errors, or queing something up. At my church, we use texting for notifying the worship and tech teams of the final song after the service. That, I think is a good usage of Twitter at church.

As for cell phones going off, those always make me laugh- purely because of the silly ringtones people choose.

I sit in enough meetings at my secular work where participants are so thoroughly absorbed in their "crackberries" to recognize that one can't properly participate in real conversations while twiddling thumbs on keyboards.

Twitter is for people who have attention span problems.

I tried to live twitter the NEXT conference for a few of my friends and family who weren't able to come. I found myself listening for what would be a helpful quote rather than for my own soul. One session I twittered after the sermon and that was great because it helped me to review my own notes which helped me remember the main points of the teaching better.

1: you assume we all know what Twitter is and that the whole world is talking about Twitter. Sorry. I've heard of it, but don't know what it is (exactly). Nor do i really care exactly. Your contextual clues helped me get a better idea of what it is tho.
2: yep, very good points. i think all this applies to most distractions.
3: many times i will pull out my cell phone to look up Bible verses, whether in service or not. whether other people "think" i'm being distracted or not, is not my concern. but i know most ppl probly are distracted by them. but as with any technology, the choice is totally up to us, my friends.

Choose wisely. Thanks for the thoughts, Josh.

4: There's a bug when commenting and previewing our comments. Once posting after previewing our comment, it bugs out and does not let us post if we Preview our comment.

I feel that church is a time to focus completely on the Lord. I agree, with the article in that we should leave the twitter off till after church and honestly after fellowshipping with the saints. I believe face to face contact is much more important then twitting or text messaging. In fact cell phones should be turned off as well (Unless of course you are a medical doctor on call.) We can tweet when we are well on our way home or at home.

I agree 100%. I find especially true your second and third points emphasizing the preciousness of the teaching of the Word of God.

I completely agree. Even during Next, I only tweeted during downtime, when no one was preaching. I enjoyed reading quotes after the message, though!

Great post Josh, I have to say that I agree and while tweeting is a great temptation during church it can definitely wait until after the service. Just look at your notes after and all the major points should be there anyway. :)
It's just another thing that can distract us... As if there weren't enough to distract us already!


I'm with you, Josh, though I have used my iphone to look up a book on Amazon after the pastor mentions it - just so I don't forget.

I agree with you, Mr. Harris! Although I couldn't twitter during church even if I wanted to cause I don't have cool phone or ipod to do so! :) God bless!

The only thing I do in between a sermon is to pick a ipod touch new note to write lines of the sermon that are impacting my life in that moment the pastor is preaching. Some of my youth friends do the same and send each other the notes of what they get in the sermon. Josh, what do you think about it?

Josh,

I am one of those people who used twitter throughout NEXT to share quotes from the teachings and the many ways God was impacting my soul through the messages and the conference. That being said, I fully agree with what you have said here.

While most of the time I was simply using it as an extension of my note taking, there were a few instances where sending a "tweet" in the form of a txt message caused me to tune out of what was being said.
You have convicted me. Thank you for dealing with this issue.

"Lost people in this world... need to hear God's unchanging truth. They need to understand that God's word makes a demand on their life. And they should see from us a reverence and holy awe in the presence of God and his word that points them to the fact that what happens in a Christian church is completely different than anything happening in the world."

If they're not in church to see that, can't tweeting it be a part of sharing the gospel in 140 characters or less?

isn't it really just the same conversation as whether or not we should have drums in church?

totally agree josh! we shouldnt let technology (or anything else really) get in the way of our focus on God when we are in church.

I agree with what you are saying here, Josh. I think that it is important we take time out of our week to focus totally on God and our 'family'. I usually try to keep my Sunday a 'computer free' day, and try to spend the day focusing on people rather than technology...

Great thoughts! I think the key is that technology can increase our ability to preach the gospel to ourselves and to others when done in the right context. When tweeting after church, it can bring our minds back to the truth. During church- it is simply a 140 word distraction.

Can you repeat that? I'm sorry I was tweeting.

Thank you for standing for Christ and keeping the focus on Him.

Twittering, etc. during the sharing of God's Word/church is disrespectful to say the least to the Lord.

Wow - what an article. It's actually kinda ridiculous - why would you want to twitter in church? We're there to learn about Jesus - don't distract others. It's also just case of good manners ...

i gust want to say some thing "great job"

Update your Twitter randomly according to your intrest Or, from Rss Feed Or, from your own tweet message list Or, Any combination of the above three http://feedmytwitter.com

Good point. I'm not a churchgoer, but I think it's important to think about the etiquette of any new technology. Twitter is new and through trial and error and discourse,we will discover what is acceptable and unacceptable.

Okay, I admit, I twitter during church. In fact, some friends even check my FB/twitter to get a glimpse at what church is going to be like. (I usually attend the first service) Mostly I'll twitter something that impacts me. Sometimes I'll tweet a question that sparks a discussion.

I nowadays don't twitter quite as often. The novelty of it has worn off slightly, and since I'm the only one tweeting in my church do feel it to be a distraction and that people judge me for it, think less of me.

Its interesting though, that the appearance of something is more important to some than the actual truth. The truth is I could be really excited about a sermon or taking notes (real notes, not twitter notes) on my iphone and have people look disdainfully on the fact that I have my phone out. Whereas, I could be doodling all over my note paper and others could think I'm taking extensive notes when I'm not.

There are times in my Bible study that i have my phone out and look up bible verses on it (since its a different translation) or look up a word. Even then it once was assumed I was playing with my phone. Now those close to me know I'm usually looking something up.

I'll all for not distracting someone else, but am saddened that I am potentially judged by my twitter usage in church.

Excellent post, I agree! Thanks for sharing!

sweet! another rule to stick in my pharisaical book of laws. i feel so much more righteous already!

If we can switch off our phones during a play or movie, perhaps we can do the same for church.

Amen to all of your points above. You were able to articulate so clearly what I could only describe as "it rubs me the wrong way". Thanks.

This article is so awesome. I also think we should take this one step further. Not only should the saints not be tweeting and texting during worship, they should also think twice before broadcasting things over twitter in general. I've seen young men in church leadership positions act like fools in the things they flippantly send across Twitter, Facebook, etc. I believe that men in these positions should strive to be more set-apart than the world, and more sensitive to how things might be perceived by non-believers reading their content. I believe social networking can easily become an idol that consumes people, so much that all they're thinking about is updating their status constantly. I've seen youth leaders send out the most flippant, silly, worldly, etc. remarks and pictures across Twitter a lost man would never know the person who sent the tweet was in a church leadership position. I'm not saying I think Twitter is bad, but I think we should be more careful as to what we broadcast to people and think about how it might be perceived. I think we need to spend more time studying the teachings of Paul to Timothy and Titus, growing in sanctification, and meditating on the Word of God than we do updating our friends on which stores in the mall have all the stuff we're lusting over. I've even seen tweets of this nature, "Studying to preach on Sunday!! I love my job!!" with a picture of their bible attached. Seriously, how deep in study can a person be if they focus so much on making sure the world knows what they're doing? In a sense, social networking can pour gasoline on the fire of pride, because it can be very prideful to constantly bombard people with every single detail of what's going on in our lives at every moment. It can take a lifetime to gain credibility and live a Godly testimony before lost people, but it can also take just a moment to destory it.

As a blogger and a twitter, I whole-heartedly agree with you. I just finished an article on my blog about spending time in God's presence. One of the things I addressed was the issue of focus. It is easy to be distracted during times of worship. Twittering simply adds to that distraction.

It seems like your arguments would apply to taking notes as well. Do you disagree with writing down notes because you are thinking about what you are writing instead of what the pastor is saying? Somebody probably said the same things when the ballpoint pen was invented. Or when the Bible was printed and people could read for themselves instead of depending on the pastor.

Twitter is just a short note. No different.

I'm not sure if we will use it in church because I'm not sure if it will be helpful but it seems like a silly thing to be "against."

If you want to remember something for yourself or to share with someone else, there is another option: pen and paper. Easy to use, non-addictive, harder to be distracted, and probably faster to use! :-)

What's the difference between tweeting and taking notes? Just because you're tweeting doesn't mean your checking other people's updates. Its only a distraction only if you let it be one.

I understand #2, but I don't think it is a great point.
"Brain space would be taken up with typing and getting my word count under 140". Couldn't you replace "typing" with "writing", don't we use that same brain space to formulate how we want to phrase a point that the preacher makes when we are taking written notes?

The heart of a person is what God is concerned with. If one can Twitter to the glory of God during a service, God bless them! Personally, as hand-held devices become more popular, most people will start taking notes electronically. If someone occasionally chooses to send one of their notes out over Twitter for the edification of others then I certainly won't stand against it.

I remember hearing a sermon several years ago about how overhead projectors shouldn't be used in a church service. That sentiment today sounds ridiculous as projectors are a staple in most churches for worship song lyrics and for displaying scripture text. The Church adapts to new technology and will adapt to Twitter, iPhone, etc.

I fully understand what you are saying, but I do believe that some of the responsibility for engaging me in the worship and the learning falls on the one preaching. As an educator, I have done a lot of research about learning and the brain. Brain research cannot be ignored if we want people to learn and be changed. I learn/worship more efficiently if my brain is engaged and the material is meaningful to me. I take the responsibility to take notes, underline, follow an outline etc. But I become very frustrated when pastors preach as if I am not there. Please engage me!

Josh's 6 points provides good wisdom but the Bible says nothing about to "twit" or not to "twit." We need to be careful not to make a person's opinion a law. I may agree with some of what Josh says but if my friend can twitter during the service for the glory of God, then good for him and may he and others be blessed by the gospel of grace.

Other than outside perception, which is a dangerous road, what is the difference between tweeting your thought and writing it in a notebook? Either way you could miss that "2 minutes that your soul needs." Should we not take any notes then?

This is a great post.

I'm always struck by how people react according to how church *should* be.

"Church" can mean many things...from a worship service, to a sermon, to a Bible study, to a discussion. Jesus himself took part in discussions in the temple as a youngster.

Twitter just seems to be one way to discuss. It's like talking. There are appropriate times and inappropriate times.

I could not agree with you more. Thank YOU for not only blogging about this, but doing so with a voice of grace.

AMEN!

In regards to using a phone to look up bible verses, why not just use a regular bible? If we rely on the internet for looking up verses, it's definitely going to be more distracting b/c of all of the other things to check out on the web. Including twitter.

Amen! It is not only distracting to the person who is using twitter, texting, or surfing th web, but also to those sitting near them. I witness texters, and tweeters every Sunday and it distracts/angers me that they'd rather do that than sit to listen to God's Word.

Also in regards to someone else's comment about using the phone to look up bible verses, why not just bring the actual bible to accomplish that? It's so much easier and appropriate.

There are times our pastor actually discourages note taking while he preaches, because he knows it can be a distraction to mindful listening. One thing I make a point to do on Sundays from time to time is transcribe the things I remember from the preaching into a spiral notebook after I come home. It proves to be a test to see if I am a forgetful hearer.

Great thoughts that lead to great discussion... and a good reminder for some people. But, I personally love tweeting the sermon notes IN church (and using the Bible App on my iPhone) for a number of reasons:

1) I've tried taking paper 'n pen notes for years and inevitably get MORE distracted and/or I lose my notes (I pretty much do everything digitally now anyway).

2) Tweeting my notes helps me pay attention as I try to fit my thoughts into 140 characters - and preserves them in a format that I am more likely to return to... primarily b/c they generate discussion that I participate in, (after church).

3) There are for more distracting things in church than someone silently poking a small screen to read a Bible verse or "touch-in" a few notes that they could otherwise be writing with a pen on noisy paper (krinkle, krinkle, krinkle.. shhhh!).

I could be wrong, but being overly concerned with how others view my worship style stifles my worship style... I fidget, think, and sometimes want to walk while I listen... it makes me think of a calm and reverent reformed christian in the midst of a gospel hallelujah church... LOL... it's different, but it's still worship.

I like your thoughts, Josh, but unfortunately some of these responses simply seem agreeable and a little self righteous about how people "should worship."

Although I strongly agree with your desire to ensure that the word of God is listened to properly, I disagree with you that tweeting while listening necessarily prohibits every individual from doing so.

I do see it as an issue of gospel liberty and have written a fuller response on my blog.

Cheers!

I really like the post but I really think that the 6 points were out of order. #5 is first, not 5th. God has given us commands on Who to worship and How to worship (1st & 2nd Commandments)and in His list they were first; to quote the confession: "But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture."

Unfortunately, from our technology to our speech to our music and rock bands to our liturgies we don't show a holy reverence nor do we "[point] them to the fact that what happens in a Christian church is completely different than anything happening in the world". When we look like the rest of the world in all that we do in the Lord's Day Worship, what difference will it make if we tweet?

As far as "personal" styles or needs for worship, whether what helps me listen, remember, focus, learn, it is the corporate gathering, it is more about the Body as a whole than about what helps or reaches me; if my use of a phone to read Scripture or tweet distracts others then I have failed as a Christian brother, and have sinned in breaking the first 4 commandments at one time and neglecting Paul's exhortations about corporate worship in 1 Corinthians 11-14.

Oh, that we all (myself included) might return to a holy and reverent posture in the Lord's Day worship that would seek to edify the Body and not just ourselves.

No, I disagree. Do not think that your sermon is more important than it really is. I believe in preaching. I'm not sure preaching in the bible is the same as the modern american image of preaching. I do not subscribe to the "this is worship" line about listening to monologues about the bible - as if now you are doing something much holier than earlier or later. Tying shoelaces is worship too. If it is distraction for the preacher that you are worried about - the US president isn't distracted by the press room twittering and chatter. I agree that it is insulting for a personal conversation (dialogue) to be interrupted by text messages or twitter. But lots of people sitting on pews listening to pastors who monopolise the audiospace is not dialogue - I wish teaching times were much much more "dialogue".
I reckon all of our church meetings need to be rethought. Most of what happens is mindless tradition, not necessarily the pattern of the new testament.

What I'm interested to understand is if tweeting can create a conversation during worship that can add to the worship. It seems like there is potential for the shared tweetings of prayer requests, thoughts, relevant scripture and other reflections which could enrich the worship. Maybe what other people gain from a tweet can be greater than what is lost to the tweeter. Maybe God can use His people in this way ?

The discussion here is focused on preaching but that's only a part of worship. There seem to be many other aspects of worship that can be enhanced. If I can cry out with an exaltation or prayer why not use twitter as the means ? I think this may help to more tightly bond the church in large church settings.

I'd love to hear more experiences and stories from those who have tried to add this to worship.

honestly, with the diversity of sermons on a week to week basis in my church alone, I'm lucky to recall, let alone apply everything from a given message. i tend to hear one or two things that really hit me in a message and spend the rest of the time thinking through those things.

Community helps me to process and I think twitter develops community.

I like your little addendum.

Your second point is something I've been thinking about since the Gospel Coalition.

During the conference I was getting perhaps too wrapped up in some of my (traditional pen and paper) note taking. However, sitting behind Tullian Tchividjian for a couple sessions started me thinking...

The whole time, this guy who is arguable higher profile than any of the rest of ever will be, sat leaning forward on the edge of his seat, Bible in hand, taking in every word like a little kid on Christmas...I never saw him write a single thing down.

Not to put him on a pedestal, but it made me really think about putting away my pen and allowing myself to have a focus in which God could engage my heart and not just my notebook.

So perhaps the real discussion is not as much about the mechanism we use, but how do we individually, and corporately, best focus everything on King Jesus and hear His sweet word for us today.

Luke 10:38-41 - "...Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

John 6:60-69 - "To whom shall we go...?"

Thoughts?

Al Shaw has a written an intelligent contribution/response to this at http://is.gd/JRrT

------

It's not possible to hear God while Twittering = doing 2 things at once: Not so bad...?

During the 18th Century, prayers in the Church of England were pre-written.

John Wesley prayed as many of us do now, making the prayer up as it was spoken.

One clergyman complained that this was not right/godly as he said it was not possible to think of the prayer _and_ pray out loud at the same time!

One point above smacked a little of such logic!

It really boils down to this:

We're in church, supposedly, to hear from God about God.

Not to broadcast ourselves, or even what we think about God.

Are we that narcissistic that being quiet, keeping our thoughts to ourselves, and our focus on the word from God about God for an hour a week is a problem?

We have 167 hours during the rest of the week to engage in our compulsive need for self-expression. Why not spend that remaining hour forgetting about ourselves and focusing on God?

And if preaching from Scripture is truly God speaking to us--why in the world would we want to avert our gaze for a moment so that we can, once again, start talking about ourselves?

Josh,

I think your update is helpful. I blogged in response to your post--and John Piper's-- before you added the update.

If you are interested in my response, since you linked to the article about me and Westwinds, you can find it here http://johnvoelzblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/time-to-pay-piper-my-response-to-john.html

While I disagree at points, I sure appreciate your heart. Peace.

I agree that we should not take our focus off Jesus when worshipping him, so that must mean 24/7 - right? Isn't worship "all of life"? One of the comments stated that this was very similar to drums n church.
I agree! I think many people have jumped on the "twitter is wrong in church" bandwagon without contexualizing it's use in some churches.
Is it any wonder that the church has little effext on our society when our conversations get so ridiculous?
I don't twet in church, yet, but I do take extensive notes - should I stop because someone might think I'm not paying attention? I don't worship so that I can be judged by others; I worship for an audience of One!

I think that one of the biggest things that we're forgetting is that we ARE the CHURCH. Church is not something we go to in order to pay attention to a man or woman who has studied for the last week to help us be better Christians. We talk about having a personal relationship with Christ and yet we rely so much on Sundays.

Sundays are NOT a time to be bored, or to be drenched with truth. When we gather on Sundays, we BRING OUR WORSHIP WITH US! If you expect to be fed on a Sunday because that's the one time you're spending with God, then you need to be challenged. I am a worship leader and I can tell the difference between a congregation that brings their worship with them on a Sunday and one that's expecting to live off of that Sundays worship music and sermon. When a congregation brings their worship with them, it's much easier to be led into the presence of God because the people know what it feels like... If you only get a taste of that on Sunday, then it's rare.

All of that to say, Twitter is just another tool to connect on Sunday and just like any other tool, if it's too much for you, don't do it... Paul says, "don't do stuff that's gonna hurt your brother's growth." 1 COR 8.9-13... Twitter is not for every congregation, and if Twitter becomes the focus instead of God, then it obviously needs to be put into check. On the other hand, if Twitter is helping someone to connect, by all means use that tool! I think that people who know the presence of God and are wise enough to know the difference between being distracted from that presence and enjoying that presence while multi-tasking (and obviously they have to be honest with themselves about this) can learn to Twitter meaningful things during a sermon that maybe even the preacher didn't think of! Maybe it could be used as a feedback or interactive setting and not just thought of as a distraction. You can tweet more than once in a matter of a minute. Stop worrying about getting it into 140 characters and just tweet away! I'm a big fan of the elipsis... Obviously!

I think some preachers have forgotten tht it's about Christ and the Church... Not their sermon... Not the music... If someone is distracted during your sermon, so what? As a teacher, I can definitely tell you that nobody pays attention 100% of the time... Sometimes it takes a little faith to believe that what the Spirit of God needs to tell a specific person will get through somehow... Even if it has nothing to do with your sermon.

Much Love

I think that one of the biggest things that we're forgetting is that we ARE the CHURCH. Church is not something we go to in order to pay attention to a man or woman who has studied for the last week to help us be better Christians. We talk about having a personal relationship with Christ and yet we rely so much on Sundays.

Sundays are NOT a time to be bored, or to be drenched with truth. When we gather on Sundays, we BRING OUR WORSHIP WITH US! If you expect to be fed on a Sunday because that's the one time you're spending with God, then you need to be challenged. I am a worship leader and I can tell the difference between a congregation that brings their worship with them on a Sunday and one that's expecting to live off of that Sundays worship music and sermon. When a congregation brings their worship with them, it's much easier to be led into the presence of God because the people know what it feels like... If you only get a taste of that on Sunday, then it's rare.

All of that to say, Twitter is just another tool to connect on Sunday and just like any other tool, if it's too much for you, don't do it... Paul says, "don't do stuff that's gonna hurt your brother's growth." 1 COR 8.9-13... Twitter is not for every congregation, and if Twitter becomes the focus instead of God, then it obviously needs to be put into check. On the other hand, if Twitter is helping someone to connect, by all means use that tool! I think that people who know the presence of God and are wise enough to know the difference between being distracted from that presence and enjoying that presence while multi-tasking (and obviously they have to be honest with themselves about this) can learn to Twitter meaningful things during a sermon that maybe even the preacher didn't think of! Maybe it could be used as a feedback or interactive setting and not just thought of as a distraction. You can tweet more than once in a matter of a minute. Stop worrying about getting it into 140 characters and just tweet away! I'm a big fan of the elipsis... Obviously!

I think some preachers have forgotten tht it's about Christ and the Church... Not their sermon... Not the music... If someone is distracted during your sermon, so what? As a teacher, I can definitely tell you that nobody pays attention 100% of the time... Sometimes it takes a little faith to believe that what the Spirit of God needs to tell a specific person will get through somehow... Even if it has nothing to do with your sermon.

Much Love

Great article I enjoyed it and even though I did not read all the comments I read this last one and it broght light to something I will share in church tomorrow."BRING OUR WORSHIP WITH US!" I´m a pastor in the Dominican Republic and here not everybody twitts from their iphone or blackberry or palm is mostly from home computers but I agree with your view God bless

Thank you for a thought provoking post. And thanks to your readers for their comments; some of them were useful and some not so useful.

I am a regular taker of notes during sermons. I also tweeted for the first time during church recently. I always feel uncomfortable when I see someone playing around with their mobile phone so get the point that you make about distraction. And, I am certainly one of those people who is easily distracted so it may not be something that I do on a regular basis but I certainly don't rule out doing it again as I find twitter a useful way of sharing.

I didn't read all of the comments, so forgive me if this has been said already, but here is what I think.

I definitely agree that twittering can be distracting, and it may not be the best tool for Sunday morning. However, I think it would help a lot of people feel more involved as a participant if it was used on occasion.

The following isn't the right view to have, but sadly I know a lot of people who become bored or distracted sitting still and listening for 45 minutes. This has nothing to do with the sermon, paying close attention to anything at all for 45 minutes can be rough. Notice all of the people who use the restroom and come and go during the sermon, people get restless. Again, this shouldn't be the attitude of the congregation, but it often is. I myself can often be tempted to zone or doodle in my notes or check my phone, etc...

Maybe twittering shouldn't be acceptable for the entire sermon, but I liked Time's ideas of spending a few minutes using twitter for open discussions. It would definitely make me feel more involved.

So many people check their phones, email, text, twitter, etc... during church anyway, and I think this might help them pay more attention. I know it would be pretty fun for me anyway, and I'm sure I speak for a lot of people.

Josh:
While I appreciate the motive behind your article, how would you qualify the following comment you made in regards to corporate worship?

When the church gathers and the Word of God is opened, God himself is speaking again. Everybody else can shut up.

Ouch.

Surely you didn't mean "everybody..." did you? I mean the worship team would be exempt correct? The pastor would be exempt too right? People praying, sharing testimonies, giving missional update reports, etc. would be exempt also true?

But... somehow twittering during a service is somehow not listening to the Lord and ones need to "shut up", IOW, stop tweeting in order to really be engaged in corporate worship?

Please help me understand your thoughts a bit more brother.

Based on your conviction about the Word of God (which I agree with) then why no mention of Scripture in making your points in your entire article? It would have been very helpful if you would have written this post from a clear biblical foundation rather than a personal preference one.

I know you would agree that anytime the Word of God is opened, God is speaking... but I just couldn't hear Him in this article.

Thank you for listening. With grace and humility in the Lord.

Steve
Phil. 4:6-8

Hey, Steve. Thanks for the comments.

Yeah, I think that line does come across as harsh. I'm going to go back and cut it out.

My purpose in saying it wasn't to comment on the whole meeting, but the specific time when scripture was being taught. And my point was that this wasn't a time where any of us (preachers included) should be competing with God's words by focusing on adding our own thoughts and opinions.

But that wasn't real clear or helpfully clarified. So thanks. And, yes, adding more scripture would have strengthened it.

God bless,

Joshua

Excellent points.
Using Twitter (or text, etc) during church probably reveals a heart attitude of disinterest in the God of the Word. I have been guilty at times of using text. Time to refocus.

Another thought:
I have been having a discussion with some of the staff at my church regarding focus in worship. All of life ought to be reflecting a worship of God (and twittering is certainly included in that), yet not all forms of worship are identical.
Example: praise and preaching are crucial to worship, yet don't mix well simultaneously (imagine someone singing during the sermon).
Twitter is another sphere that, as Joshua has pointed out, has a great place in life, and can be used for spiritual activities. Yet that doesn't mean it ought to be mixed with the church service.

All these modernities are cool and some may say they are absolutely necessary "especially in this day and age..."
We, modern people, tend to believe we NEED more than our parents and probably they thought they needed more stuff than their parents and so on.
Then we Christians will use words such as: need, necessary, a must, edifying(?), important, etc....
But this all makes me think and wonder. Every year new (necessary) things come up and marketing is the one who dictates what people need or not. I just read about the 2.1 million netbooks arriving in the States just this year and of course, marketing again will persuade us and by next year or shortly after that(believe it or not) we will all be carrying our netbooks everywhere and maybe sitting in the congregation looking at the little screen typing in "important spiritual matters that will help us grow" by the sound of hundreds of fingers hitting those buttons on the keyboard...
My thing is, in America we are constantly finding new ways to grow: One day it may be a pray-everyday prayer of Jabez, the next day it is a 40 day something, then it becomes a 5 language of something else (nothing against those things, by the way) which we will exhaust its use until a newer thing shows up and though we say with conviction that we grew a lot doing those things it seems like the American church in general is not going forward as churches grow by seeing people changing churches, a cool looking service may create the newest megachurch in town, as people become more and more worldly in the way they think (and vote) according to Barna and this way, some have said America who once was the number one in the world to send missionaries is one of the largest mission fields today, losing space and power to muslims more and more.
But no, we can't quite see that yet as our eyes are flipping through hundreds of channels on TV all day or spending 7 hours a day playing video game according to what I heard on Moody radio if not spending our lives running after money. Meanwhile, countries that don't have a fraction of America's comfort and modernities, who have no new-christian-fashion-way-of-getting-closer-to-God types of books, shows, radios, internet. But simply the Word of God and believe in it wholeheartedly are seeing countless salvations, healings, miracles, expansion of the Gospel and experiencing God simply by living what Paul said: "As you first believed continue", that is, that old simple faith in that old rugged cross of Christ which does not need any add-ons not 2.000 years ago neither now as He is the same yesterday, today and forever so is his Word, it does not get old and therefore does not need "new stuff" to help us get closer to Him. We may say and scream about all our personal experiences of how these things have benefited us but if it really did, wouldnt the long term results show just as the tree is known by the fruits which come later and not the "now-appearance"? Without wanting to cricize anything, of course we can use modernities and no, I am not a legalist. But according to my observations, what if, only what if we had never left the simple faith that used to work powerfully in the history of America? That which caused America to be known as a nation under God? God help us.

I linked to this article from Vertizontal(John Voelz' blog). I attend Westwinds and have been doing so since around 1992 when I was 11. I remember when John first started talking about twitter. It was almost 2 years ago. I know I hadn't heard of twitter before then. Neither had most people. John is a digital jedi, so he was out in front on this one, NOT because he's trying to be cool, it's just who he is. He certainly wasn't doing it to follow the crowd and be "relevant". John was just being John, sharing with his friends a tool he had found that helped him be connected to people he cares about. He dared to have a little dream, a little vision of what it could be for Westwinds, and he took the risk of trying something new. That takes guts.

I remember being apprehensive about signing up for one of these "twitter accounts". What would I say? Why would people care? Simultaneously, the Holy Spirit had been slowly nudging me to live in the truth that I am a gift to others. Perhaps i did have something to say. Perhaps there are people in my life that would like semi-regular updates on what im doing/thinking.

So I signed up and immediately saw there were other people from Westwinds with accounts. So I followed them and they did likewise. Some of these people I had "known" for years, but only seen on Sunday, and had minimal information about their life. Now that's different. People in my life have moved from the sphere of acquaintances to the sphere of friends, and that has been a real gift. My face to face interactions with them are more edifying and less awkward because we know each other better.

for me twitter is a way to stay connected to church folk throughout the week. Yes I attend a small group too. Twitter is also a way to connect with that part of me that wants to be creative. That's sounds dumb let me explain.

I haven't written any books, I haven't cut an album, and I don't maintain an interesting blog. But lately, I do feel called to write. To express myself with the written word, to communicate my journey with God. For me, twitter is a baby-step in that direction. It builds up my confidence that hey, I can do this. I can write stuff that other people will read and it won't be stupid or trite, or so what if it is, it's worth the risk. So many of us are hiding. Especially men. I know I was hiding in a video game(World of Warcraft) for a couple years. Twitter has been part of me coming out of that hiding and engaging christian community fully, instead of half-heartedly. Instead of being interested in checking a website for the latest information on Warcraft(my hobby), I found myself checking my twitter feed, seeing what my friends were up to, praying for them, laughing with them about stupid stuff, and just generally being more participatory in my community.

I also keep more regular contact with a couple long distance friends, both non-believers and that's been awesome too.

I guess it just really saddens me to see all the people responding with "amen! those people need to pay attention. Obviously they aren't as serious about church/christ/god's word as we are."

I'm serious about all that, and at Westwinds, Twitter being part of the worship experience helps not hurts. I understand it's different for everyone.

If you read all of that you deserve a gold star.

Tim,
I agree with all that you said about the value and usefulness of Twitter. I am a little curious though. How the value of networking with Twitter during the week justify using it during worship?


hey, josh i sorry, but what did you say in your article, i was in the middle of tweeting. LOL. seriously though are we trying to do it better than the MASTER teacher. i mean he didn't have twitter and look at all the souls HE touched. allow the SPIRIT to do his job. can HE use twitter, yes but let's not force his hand (if you will), and say to HIM this is the only way i will talk to you GOD. are we then going to go soul-winning door-door via twitter. what happened to good old fashioned face to face contact.

Daniel,
I can't answer for Tim Maynard because I don't go to his church and my church is different from his but if you've read the TIME article, his church has collectively embraced twitter in the context of corporate worship. They've had services where they invite everyone to tweet and have it set up to enhance their service.

Perhaps we're all slightly (or very) reformed or evangelical here but the collective Church is facing a difficult time right now. There are many books that cite that most growth in churches is transfer growth, not new converts. Why is that? I've read that "roughly half of all churches in America did not add one new person through conversion growth last year." I've read studies that show that preaching is often not the best way to impact people and have them retain knowledge. Personally, I love preaching. I listen, I question, I take notes, I think about it all week, bring it up in conversations all week, etc. but I know many others that simply forget about what they heard by dinnertime.

There's a growing trend for churches to combat this and they are doing so in innovative ways. It may not be for every church. I hate to bring up the words "contextualization" or being "relevant" because those are now buzzwords that stereotype these churches to be "less than" traditional churches. Less serious, less bible based, less ..... etc. etc. I personally think there's a place for both, as long as Biblical teaching is preached. Or conversed. Or dialogued. Whatever method a church chooses to use.

In my church I may most likely be a a distraction because I'd be the only one tweeting, but at Tim's church its standard practice and it works for them. If it did not work for them I'm sure the leadership staff would cease to encourage it. It seems to me their Twitter services are well planned out. Could it become messy? Maybe. But thats because its real community. From what I've read this church is indeed special. Twitter church may not be appropriate for everyone but it seems to be working for them.

Personally, though I don't typically tweet in service anymore, partly because I don't wish to distract and partly (gulp) because my husband doesn't see it as acceptable and I'm trying to be submissive. (my pastor preached on submission a few weeks ago) When I do pose a question about service on Twitter which links to facebook, some really good dialogues ensue. There's a huge population that are hungry for spirituality but hesitant to set foot into a church. Why is that? And why is it that so many believers are content to sit in their pews (wait; do churches have pews anymore?) ;-) listen to the sermon and then Monday comes along and there's hardly a thought of what was preached on Sunday, and lets not even speculate how many people in the church (collective, not any one specific) reads their Bible and prays daily.

I suppose I've lost my point, If I ever had one, but I guess my plea is to perhaps see things from a different perspective. Twitter may not be for every church, but for some churches its working! It may not always work for them but at least they are trying and succeeding.

Thanks for reading my rambling, long, incoherent post. I mean no disrespect to anyone.

wow, what a verbose comment thread on a topic like twitter, that constrains comments to 140 characters. (; I think some people may also have different assumptions, i.e. for me, I twitter for myself and not so much for others- I do intend to use twitter as a note taking device, and share the wealth of knowledge. I think your point is well taken here, that bc you value God's Word so much, you want nothing to distract. There's also God's sovereignty at play, so if He wants to get a message to my soul, it could come as a tweet of a quote I didn't quite hear or grasp on the spot

I don't judge those who use their phone/tweet/computer during church. I just don't think that they realize how distracting it really is for everyone around them to hear the tap tap tap of them "taking notes" or looking up a verse. I think that the considerate thing is to leave your electronics at home. Lest anyone think i am just an old fogey out of touch, i tweet, Facebook, and blog: just not during service. :)

Hello,

I thought this was a thought provoking topic and wrote a blog reply.
http://travisthoughts.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/to-twitter-or-not-to-twitter-a-new-church-question/

I mostly agree with you and I would add one or two comments.

Thanks!

Travis

I wonder if things like this are distracting only because they aren't the "norm" or what is currently accepted.

The more people adapt to these new technologies and more common it gets I don't believe it will be so distracting.

Many at my church no longer bring their Bible. There's little need to since its on the screen, yet our pastor still encourages us every week to bring our own Bible. I personally do. Since not many bring their Bibles and not many take notes, the rustle of the pages and paper were noticeable. (especially he said something and I wanted to look it up so for about 1 minute I was searching for the verse he quoted)

There will always be a distraction.

I once did not like digital photography and now I'd never go back to film. I love my Bible, I love flipping to the different verses but now that I have the ESV study Bible on my laptop as well, I find myself using it often. (but not in church)

I Just think it will be very, very interesting what will happen in the future and how attitudes will shift to what is acceptable and what is distracting. For good or for bad, I'm not sure.

You know, I think Kanye West pretty much spends all his time acting like a spoiled little brat, so im suprised to find out we agree on a comment he made a few weeks ago. "Everything Twitter has, I need less of"

Now let me say i have a short attention span...im not above checking my email, or keeping tabs on an ebay auction when my mind wanders during a service.

I just think the ME centered culture we are propogating with the help of things like Twitter is troubling, and extremely tiring. I read "tweets" and all i see are self absorbed musings by the attention deprived, on topics i couldnt care less about. Jason is eating Taco bell...or Sara is stuck in traffic. Its all childish if you ask me. I dont think it builds community...Face to face personal interaction builds community. I wonder when we as a society will grow up and realize we ARENT, infact, the center of the universe.

So, to Twitter for me...in church or otherwise.

Josh,

Thank you for your article. I am in complete agreement with you. What is of concern to me is that there are so many personal opinions and so few responses with scripture. As I skimmed through each of the posts, I saw where someone suggested more scripture be provided. However, if more was provided I missed it. As Christians, don't we believe in the sufficiency of scripture and go to the Word for our answers?

Over the last several months, I have been convicted regarding this issue and any other type of potential distraction in church that could be a potential stumbling block to another. Some of the scripture references related to being a stumbling block include: Leviticus 19:14; Ezekiel 14:3-6; Matthew 16:23, 18:5-10; Romans 14:13-23; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13, 9:12, 9:19-23, 10:32-33. Whether we like or not, perception becomes reality in our society. Today, the perception of most is that if you are taking notes in church, you are excercising active listening skills and helping your retention by not only hearing the words, but also writing them and seeing them. While you can use twitter for the same purpose, the perception of most is that if you are using a handheld electronic device, you are probably doing something other than note taking or looking up scripture. Jesus provides a stern warning about stumbling blocks in Matthew 18:5-9 (NASB)

(5)"And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;(6) but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (7)"Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! (8)"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.(9)"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

When Jesus begins with the word "Woe" and ends the sentence with an exclamation point followed by discussion of removing body parts, the decision for me is easy. I leave the electronic devices in the car during church. For those wondering, I used to carry multiple devices on my person every waking hour. Suffice it to say, they were my electronic idols. If I leave all devices in the car, there is no temptation for me to use them and I am free to worship the Almighty through complete attentiveness. A good illustration of attentiveness to the Word is Nehemiah 8:2-3 (NASB)

(2) Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. (3)He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.

In verse 5, Nehemiah tells us that the people stood up in respect at reading God's word. If Ezra and company can stand attentively for 6 hours of exposition, is it asking too much for us to be attentive for an hour or two during corporate worship without the potential distraction of our devices?

Those of us who respect pastors and teachers who share their understanding of God's word should also embrace channels that further the message. Most of the arguments I read on this blog challenge the medium of twitter because the person tweeting might miss something important. What many fail to acknowledge is that twittering during church (about the message they are receiving)can reinforce important concepts and applications for the twitterer and benefits those twitterees who receive fragments of the message. We are able to listen to up to 800 words per minute but most speak at 125 words per minute. We use up that extra time by restating what someone has said, writing it, recontextualizing it or by inserting our own illustrations/applications. Based on this phenomenon, twittering during church makes sense and can be useful. According to the transactional model that attempts to explain the complexity of communication, when we listen to a message we are both decoding (deciphering, interpreting, etc.) and encoding (composing a response). Therefore, twittering is a form of decoding and encoding that normally occurs during a transaction. Finally, technology has created cultural changes in the ways we communicate. Not too long ago, I attended a church where members were reluctant to display portions of the Bible on a screen because they believed that people should read scripture from their own Bibles. While it is important for us to follow the example of the Bereans and search the scriptures to identify falacies in a speaker's message, we should embrace technology that increases access to God's message.

Couldn't disagree more.

Any step in making church more interactive in my mind is a good thing. I also like the idea of people twittering whats going on in church and their twitter lists seeing and potentially being ministered to through it. This is the same argument that the mainline stick up the but churches gave when we tried to dump the organ, display bible verses with a projector, etc. It's not distracting, I pound out a tweet in about 15 seconds, if you take 2 minutes to send a tweet, then that is probably a good reason not to do it. For the rest of us, its not an issue. Multitasking, using technology, these are things that help this generation connect. Get a clue, stop being so old fashioned for the sake of being old fashioned. I feel like I am listening to my grandfather complain about how small his cell phone is, Josh, your my grandfather in this illustration.

Not to be mean, but if you can't tweet and listen intently enough to the sermon, then put your phone, pen, or whatever down. Now I can tweet, write or whatever and still gather a great word from the pastor. BUT, it's only because I am a techy, and have had to learn to multitask. If you can't do it (and you know if can or not), then just sit and listen. The rest of us will tweet away.

Every year, we depend upon having 52 life changing Sunday sermons along with 52 life changing Sunday evening sermons, along with 52 life changing mid week sermons.
Let's put Twitter up for all to see what people agree with or not about the sermons.
Now that would be life changing --grin--

I do agree with John Pipers comments that the "wire of spiritual attention" seems fragile. Yet, I believe Twitter could be used as a way of expanding the worship experience. I am encouraged by the testimony of a Believer. To know what God is doing in the Spirit of another Believer is confirming. To see this on screen, during worship may well take me to deeper. Folks have a tendency to write out what they may not easily or quickly vocalize. Our King is constantly communicating. Would Jesus have used Twitter in His day to communicate to the multitudes?
In pondering the two great commandments (Mark 12:29-31)perhaps the first one may apply to using Twitter. Heart, soul, mind, and strength seem pretty comprehensive.
Recently we've had a deaf man attending our service. Perhaps this could be a resource of worship for him?

The Fathers richest blessing to each of you.
Steve

steveprays@gmail.com

I personally think this Twittering in churches has gone too far, it's just too much information that can take up too much of your day. We were recently contacted with what we thought was a better alternative to Twitter by a company in Phoenix, AZ that is called MCJC Ventures, LLC. They offer and provide an existing "texting" platform to get one daily message out to our church's donors and members. I called the company back (480) 236-9272 and asked them about it, they gladly sent me some information on it. I asked them if they have any churches currently using their texting platform and they told me Creflo Dollar Ministries and Jamal Bryant Ministries (but mainly megachurches in the Phoenix area) that have been using it for some time now. They charge each donor or "subscriber" as he put it $4.99/mo. to get a daily custom text message directly from the church (news, events, etc.) and the church gets a good portion of that back in donation revenue. He said many churches are dumping Twitter for this platform because they can control the daily message much better than on Twitter. Could this be the new technology to increase a church's revenues? Probably. Anyone else heard about this?
Carla

I personally think this Twittering in churches has gone too far, it's just too much information that can take up too much of your day. We were recently contacted with what we thought was a better alternative to Twitter by a company in Phoenix, AZ that is called MCJC Ventures, LLC. They offer and provide an existing "texting" platform to get one daily message out to our church's donors and members. I called the company back (480) 236-9272 and asked them about it, they gladly sent me some information on it. I asked them if they have any churches currently using their texting platform and they told me Creflo Dollar Ministries and Jamal Bryant Ministries (but mainly megachurches in the Phoenix area) that have been using it for some time now. They charge each donor or "subscriber" as he put it $4.99/mo. to get a daily custom text message directly from the church (news, events, etc.) and the church gets a good portion of that back in donation revenue. He said many churches are dumping Twitter for this platform because they can control the daily message much better than on Twitter. Could this be the new technology to increase a church's revenues? Probably. Anyone else heard about this?
Carla

We spend at least 110hrs each week outside of church and set aside just about two hours each week to meet with God. Can we begrudge God of just 2hrs of our full concentration? If you think the sermons are so memorable, invest in a church notebook and take notes during service. You can later think about which quotes are your favourites and select the right ones to upload on facebook or twitter.

Let's give God the respect (and attention) due him!
Remember: "have no gods but me".

It works like any other tool that we use today. Does it fit, is it appropriate for this service, people, age group, etc.

I have been "guilty" of tweeting in church. I generally take the sermon's high points and put 'em out there. The pastors know I do this, and to this point have expressed no opinion on it. If they ask me to stop, I will - though I will be disappointed in them if they do.

The points brought up in the original post, and in many of the responses, are flawed for these reasons:

(1) I, at least, don't have time to "check e-mail" or "read others' updates" while I'm tweeting a sermon. I'm about the business.
(2) I, at least, am no more likely to retain these key points if I take written notes than if I tweet them. I am, however, more likely to lose the written notes.
(3) I, at least, am not "fellowshipping with the saints" while the sermon is going on. That's not the time for that.
(4) I, at least, am not hanging on every word of a sermon as though it were God himself broadcasting from a burning bush. The fact is, people don't listen or learn that way. Anyone in the congregation who claims to does not understand how learning works. I am hanging on the the key points, and by sharing them, I am "locking them in."

In my opinion, the only valid counterpoint raised here is the one about good manners. But my pastor himself reads his sermon notes off a Blackberry. If it's about setting an example to the congregation about how technology is to be used in church, I know where the example has to start. LOL

Mr. Harris was very kind in response to my last, above. But it occurs to me to let anyone reading see what I tweeted in church this past Sunday, and judge for themselves as to whether the tool is used rightly. To wit:

Church's lead guitarist gets totally into his occasional solo riff. In a sorta spiritual way. LOL

Joshua was a ripe old 110 when gave his final words to Israel: "[this stone] will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God."

I have offended God and mankind for my work has not achieved the quality it should. - Leonardo da Vinci's last words

This is the last of Earth! I am content. - President John Quincy Adams' last words

Assistant Pastor reminds the crowd that God has something particular to do for each of us, regardless of age. God hired Joshua at age 80.

Joshua reminds his crowd, "one of you routs a thousand, because God fights for you as He promised. So be careful to love Him."

You wanna be stronger, you work out. This is true not only of pecs, glutes, and 'ceps, but also of faith, love, and service.

What is the purpose of our interactions? To lead by example or to be like everyone else? Joshua, and God, would say it's the former.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." This is not itself a command, but a cause-and effect deal. An equation.

In case you're curious, the church is Calvary Chapel of Mercer County
(NJ), and the speaker was @GreggDowns.

i agree... when a person is in a church service, that person should be seeking God's spirit in that service so that the Lord can speak to them through what the pastor/preacher is preaching on. Save the tweeting for after the service; and then once you have fully comprehended what the Lord wanted you to hear, then you are able to fully share it with others, whether it be through twitter or not, so that way if the person that is hearing/reading what you have to say has any questions, you are better equipped to engage in the conversation with a full understanding.

This is the problem with Christians today. This shouldn't even be a topic or issue to discuss. Church has become a thing of, "should i care or not". WHY would you need to play on a phone during church in the first place. Everyone wants to just act or play christian on the outside. Punks, quit your whining, the answer is NO!
Common Sense People...COMMON SENSE!

Twitter is merely a tool. You are as likely to be distracted by reading the liner notes in your bible or thinking about where to have lunch after church.

Whether or not it becomes a distraction is a reflection of the heart of the user.

IMHO, the debate about Twitter runs much deeper than distractions in service. It is your whole idealogy of what worship and church is. I think that much is reflected in the comments.

So, it really depends on the individual pastor - is Twitter *right* for his style and for his congregation?

If no, then don't. If he can creatively do so, then by all means go ahead.

excellent gospel-centered reminders... I think I will tweet that now... seriously, I linked to the article... Thanks!

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