Pastors, Politics, and Twitter

8 Suggestions for Pastors Who Use Twitter During This Election Season

Most of us have some opinion on our country’s (United States) politics. Some are Bible issues, but many are not. Here are some suggestions for pastors who use Twitter during this election season:

  1. Remember, you are a pastor. You have a calling. You are the shepherd of your local congregation. Within each congregation is an array of political stances. Be sensitive to the people whom you are guiding. Do not let a different opinion on fiscal policy destroy your ability to lead an individual in your church. Make sure your tweets do not cause an unnecessary divide.
  1. Remember, you are a pastor of a church that someone hasn’t attended yet. Someone is trying to determine whether they want to visit your church. They are checking out your website, listening to a few minutes of your teachings, and reading your comments on Twitter. If they align with your political beliefs, it is possible that they might be further drawn to the church. If they feel that you care more about politics than Jesus or do not share your same stances, a barrier may be constructed out of fiscal policy preference.
  1. Stick to issues, not people. You can reduce potentially hazardous tweeting tension by sticking to the issues instead of attacking a candidate. There already appears to be a public distaste for the personal attacks by candidates on both sides of the ticket. A negative comment regarding a particular candidate probably will not increase your ability to lead your church.
  1. Be for, not against. Being against certain opinions automatically makes you for an alternative opinion. Tweet what you are for. This always comes across better.
  1. Do not suggest to your church members that they vote for a particular candidate. According to the IRS, a church is exempt under section 501(c)(3). In order to maintain this status, the church cannot promote a candidate for political office. I am not sure how the IRS would handle a pastor campaigning for a candidate via Twitter, but I recommend not volunteering to be the test subject.
  1. Avoid arguments amongst other Twitter users. Rarely is getting into an argument on open feed with another Twitter user a win. No matter how good your 140 character argument may be, the perception of you takes a hit. Manage perception.
  1. Stay away from harsh language. Like other social medias, Twitter has no rules, just consequences. A lapse of judgment often falls on those who use social media. Individuals feel free to vomit out whatever is on their mind. The sensitivity of politics can cause one to be harsh. Scrutinize the 140 characters before pressing “Tweet.”
  1. Make Jesus famous. Always maintain perspective. We are chasing after something far more important, far more lasting than America’s financial stability. It trumps all politics. When one reads your Twitter feed, the main takeaway should not be that you are a diehard Republican or hardcore Democrat. This would be a failure of social media stewardship. Woven amongst each Tweet, there should be an obvious effort to make Jesus famous. This is Twitter success.

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18 thoughts on “Pastors, Politics, and Twitter

  1. Great thoughts in this tumultuous election season… especially your last call to “make Jesus famous.” We should encourage our people to vote as the Spirit leads, but ultimately we should remind our people that no political platform or party on this side of eternity will solve our problems. We can only look to Jesus for that!

  2. An important reminder. As a pastor who uses Twitter, I appreciate this. May we ultimately point people to the King of Kings (or President of Presidents!) instead of pointing them to the Republican or Democrat party. Thanks for your post. David Richardson – Sebring, Florida

  3. Thank you sir. I find it increasingly more curious every year how one’s party affiliation somehow defines one’s orthodoxy or lack thereof. Oddly enough, I have seen the attitude on both sides of the aisle. Vote …. Of course. Participate in the debate … With God’s help. But more than anything preach Christ and Him crucified.

    • Good point, Jeff. The opportunity our citizenship provides is an undeserved blessing and demands stewardship. Let’s just make sure that our leadership points people to Jesus first and not a political party.

  4. Thank you Sir for the encouragement! This is so very true in leadership. We all need to work on stewardship and we are a very blessed country to have opportunities that other countries do not have for their citizens. As God has called us to lead and direct the flock, it is very important to let God direct our thoughts and our actions will fall into right standing with Him who loves us. I, myself strive toward a goal in mind and that goal is living more like Jesus. We have such a wonderful opportunity to set a great example to others. This is what makes us unique. Because we are not living as the world lives; we are living as children of God. Thank you so much for this article. It’s a wonderful inspiration!

  5. This is a great article. I compare people who trade one soul for ten thousand votes as the Esau of our generation. They trade their unique birth right for a common bowl of pottage.
    One point is that, however imprudent, the IRS rules are clear. If a pastor does not promote his private blog from the church and it is not linked to in church media, he may post politically. He can even call himself “Pastor of Meadow Spring Valley Neighborhood Assembly” for “identification purposes.” So if your Twitter bio is “pastor of msvna. Personal Twitter.” You are in the clear.