Thinking Out Loud

June 3, 2009

Twitching, Twittering and Texting in Church

Filed under: Christianity, Church, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:18 pm

TwitterI was using that hot new media format called Twitcher in church on Sunday, and was just about to post a Twitch when I noticed the woman across the aisle scowling at me.   Okay, there is no such thing as Twitching (in the media sense) but I thought the post title needed a third element.

A lot of people who Twitter do so in the middle of church services.    Recently Josh Harris posted six reasons why he’s not warm to the idea, but I liked reasons number three and five the best:

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?”

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.

Even John Piper joined the discussion, with remarks that included:

…But when you are in corporate worship, Worship! There is a difference between communion with God and commenting on communion with God.   Don’t tweet while having sex. Don’t tweet while praying with the dying. Don’t tweet when your wife is telling you about the kids. There’s a season for everything. Multitasking only makes sense when none of the tasks requires heart-engaged, loving attention…

This is a fragile bond. The fact that an electric cord is easily cut, does not mean that the power flowing through it is small. It produces bright and wonderful effects. So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus.    Perfume can break it. A ruffled collar can break it. A cough can break it. A whisper can break it. Clipping fingernails, chewing gum, a memory, a stomach growl, a sunbeam, and a hundred other things can break it. The power that flows through the wire of spiritual attention is strong, but the wire is weak.

Somehow, I don’t think either of these guys will be promoting the book The Reason Your Church Must Twitter.

So where do you stand on the burning theological issue of the week?   And should denominations decide or should it be settled at the congregational level?   Okay, I’m not really making light of this, because I think both Harris and Piper have rightly shown us that this is all a microcosm of a much greater issue; it says what we think about worship, which says what we think about God.

~ HT Randy Bohlendar

Related:  Take microblogging to a new level with Flutter


  1. What wrong with twittering church it a mission field.There’s a harvest.

    Comment by williamjordandirect — June 3, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

  2. I am disturbed every sunday during worship and the sermon by people who are texting, examining their vibrating callers etc. My cell phone stays in the car and my heart, which as you point out can be disturbed by far more subtle things that a electronic device, is disciplined to turn toward God.

    Comment by Cynthia — June 3, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

  3. While twittering, texting, or whatever…..are our hearts fully engaged towards God? If not it needs to go!

    Comment by Rick Apperson — June 4, 2009 @ 12:10 am

  4. When the pastor does finally speak, people no longer take out pen and paper and take notes.

    Nor do they write notes in the Bible margins.

    They lug a laptop in and proceed to clack away at his every word, as if they are the only audience.
    (I suspect some check their emails in a sermon lull).

    Pastors are silent on these intrusions.

    I do recall sitting in on a Sunday School, where the teacher gave common sense advice on how not to disturb or distract others.

    Among his thoughts was to dress properly, so as not to distract the audience with your bra-less look, or vampness.

    There was a church picnic the following week.
    During annonucements shortly after this Sunday School on proper dress, the pastor told everyone to wear shorts and summer clothes as the picnic was immediately after service.

    Messages at church are now bipolar.

    Comment by Keystone — June 4, 2009 @ 6:03 am

  5. Ummm… What’s your Twitter user name, Paul? Was going to link to an older post of yours on Twitter this morning.

    I love Twitter, but I definitely can’t see using it as a means of “worship”. And I think of myself as moderately open-minded (as open as Scripture directs, anyway).

    Comment by @deanlusk — June 5, 2009 @ 6:44 am

    • I’m actually not on Twitter; nor Facebook; nor LinkedIn; nor can my cell phone do anything besides make and receive phone calls. Blogging, e-mail and business account for 3-5 hours online as it is.

      BTW, Thanks for linking to one of my older articles! Everybody else, click on Dean’s name and check out his blog!

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 5, 2009 @ 9:03 am

      • And oops — just noticed that I should’ve replied within the thread.

        Comment by Dean Lusk — June 5, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  6. Wow… Why in the world does that sound so refreshing? Especially the part about a phone that just makes and receives these “phone call” things you speak of.


    I am digging your blog (I would say “loving your blog” but I wouldn’t feel as relevant if I did that) to the extreme!

    Comment by Dean Lusk — June 5, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  7. I totally agree, and I am thankful for your thoughts on this. I posted it for our house church network..

    Comment by Derek Iannelli-Smith — December 10, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

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