I am not a pastor, but I am interested in why pastors do what they do. For the last two months I have followed hundreds of pastors on the new social networking tool Twitter.com. Here are seven things I've learned about pastors:
1. Pastors are looking for new ways to reach people. For those of you who have not caught the buzz, Twitter enables you to use your cell phone or computer to send out "tweets" or short updates about what you are doing to all your friends. Basically, it is text-messaging lots of people at the same time. I was amazed at how many pastors are using this technology to build relationships with their flock. It shows that pastors can be cutting-edge and innovative.
2. Pastors can reinvent themselves to reach a new generation. Are bulletins boring, offerings blah, and church announcements putting people to sleep? Why not film your announcements, post them on YouTube, and send everyone a tweet to go check it out. Then provide a link to give tithes and offerings online through PayPal. Today's generation lives online. Relevant churches desiring to be effective will join the online conversation.
3. Pastors are using new terminology to express age-old truth. A new vocabulary has arisen to communicate to a modern generation. "Christian" is out, "Christ-follower" is in. No one is a "head pastor" instead they are called "lead pastors." In addition to being pastors, many have added life coach, spiritual entrepreneur, or success motivator to their resume. Relationship is now more important than denominational labels.
4. Pastors like to preach. From messages about grace and forgiveness, to exegetical studies of First Thessalonians, pastors spend a lot of time studying God's word and preparing to communicate truth to their congregations.
5. Pastors are normal people. Pastors pick up their kids from soccer, watch Lost and American Idol on television, go to the grocery store, play Nintendo Wii, and love their wives. Pastors are not supermen or superwomen, but they do rely on a supernatural God.
6. Pastors have one of the toughest jobs in the world. Who is called when someone gets sick? Or dies? Or has a problem in their marriage? Usually, the pastor is there to offer comfort and advice. Continually putting out fires can be mentally and physically draining, but pastors keep going because they genuinely care about people. Some of the tweets I read brought tears to my eyes as pastors dwelt with human tragedy by offering hope.
7. Pastors have one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. I have read statistics that show many pastors think about quitting the ministry, especially on Monday morning, but I saw little evidence of this on Twitter. Most of the pastors I follow are excited, energized, and motivated. They are reading, learning, and continually looking for new ways to communicate the Gospel through modern methods of evangelism. Eternity is their focus, the world is their parish, and changing lives is their reward.
Daniel King is a missionary evangelist who has ministered in more than fifty nations. He invites you to follow him on his Twitter profile: danielking100. Or check out his website: www.kingministries.com