Everyone is social nowadays! Pastors, elders, and deacons are joining the party and getting social but at what cost?
Social media isn’t just for young folks anymore. Family members, professionals, and businesses are on social media and the church is no different. The church is a business, so most churches have a website, some type of streaming service, a Facebook page, and other online services. Along with churches, pastors and church leaders alike are becoming entrepreneurs and authors. And a part of building a business as an entrepreneur includes branding, marketing, and being social. Pastors have their own websites now which are separate and apart from the church. They are joining the increasingly growing number of public figures in our society who are impacting and influencing people inside and outside of the church.
A great example of this evolution is Bishop T.D. Jakes. Bishop Jakes serves as the pastor of Potter’s House and the CEO of his for-profit company, TDJ Enterprises. He is also, the author of more than 30 books and nearly 20 albums under his Dexterity Sound label.
With more than 25 years in ministry under his belt, I think that Bishop T.D Jakes has mastered being a public figure while remaining social media safe. That doesn’t mean that he is exempt from public scrutiny. But Bishop Jakes’ his ability to stay focused and move in purpose is a quality that others like John Gray may consider spending some time cultivating.
1. DON’T POST FLASHY PICS. “You light my fire, let this Lamborghini light your fire, baby." So said Pastor John Gray when he gave his wife a Lamborghini according to Newser. The lesson here is simple. We know that y’all are balling. We clearly saw that with the $200,000 Lamborghini. It’s just a matter of timing and discretion. You don’t have to hide it, nor do you have to display it for the world to see. It is possible to be a public figure and live a private life.
2. DON’T ENCOURAGE YOUR CONGREGATION TO FIGHT YOUR BATTLE. As one of God’s appointed shepherd’s, it is unethical and manipulative in my opinion to encourage your supporters to defend you on someone else’s social media platform. I know the beehive does it and the navy does it for Rhianna, but a pastor should not condone or encourage this behavior among the saints. When you see it and say nothing, your silence makes it okay.
3. DON’T ARGUE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Once you officially become a public figure arguing with people in the comments is petty and adds more fuel for a good ole twitter dragging. In the case of John Gray, his wife Aventer Gray publicly responded to Derrick Jaxn when he commented on Gray's interview, where he said,
“I married a woman two sizes too big. I have to grow into Aventer. She’s a coat. I still can’t fit her. She’s bigger than me and she’s had to cover me while I grow up. I gotta grow into her. She’s a covering, not a lid. Because if a man marries a lid she’ll stop your dream. But if you marrying a covering, she’ll push you to your destiny. Let me tell you something, my wife has endured more pain birthing me than both of our children. She has sacrificed these last eight years, uncovering the painful areas of my manhood and covering the areas that could have exposed me.”
The comment was controversial, to say the least. Why? It sounds nice but it ain't biblical. Of course Gray was giving his personal testimony about his marriage but as a public figure, a pastor, and marriage conference facilitator, this comment brought the heat. Jaxn who is an author, philanthropist, and YouTuber with over 500K subscribers, spoke about it on his social media platform and Aventer decided to send out a resounding, "No body comes for my Hub-Son!" clap back towards Jaxn. You don’t see people like Beyoncé doing this so stop it! In most cases, silence is the best line of defense until you hire a good publicist.
4. DON’T INCLUDE RANTS IN YOUR SUNDAY SERMONS. Don’t mix your calling with anger and resentment about how social media is carrying you. If you are in the middle of a social media dragging re-commit to your calling! When delivering sermons let the message be life changing not people shaming.
5. DON’T BATTLE THE VLOGGERS. You can’t win with vloggers. They are the new TV! Every time you react you provide them with new content for another show, podcast, or blog. Some try to pay off vloggers and it works sometimes but I wouldn’t depend on that strategy. In the case of Gray's infidelity scandal, Larry Reid Live, broke the story and gave both sides the opportunity to address the matter. Gray choose to rant about it on his own platform while the alleged mistress provided Larry Reid Live, who is a YouTuber with 28K subscribers, with her side of the story. In the end, if you want the vloggers to stop talking about you either cooperate and give a statement or feel the heat and wait for the next story to catch fire.