The Case for Twittering in Worship

Hi all! As promised, here is the article I sent to the Methodist Message. I hope it gets published so that people hear both sides of the story.


The Case for Twittering in Worship by Jonathan Huang

The last Methodist Message (November 2009, Vol 111 No 11) ran an article entitled “Twittering in worship: One Methodist’s perspective” by Dr Anthony Goh, which discourages Twittering during worship because it draws attention to the self instead of God. While I applaud Dr Goh’s plea to rid ourselves of a self-centred focus in worship, his arguments were based on a simplistic understanding of Twitter, and there is indeed a case for “Twittering in worship”, especially in the context of today’s Methodist youth.

Twitter is a tool. Like any tool, Twitter is not inherently good or bad – it depends on how you use it. It is a means of communication which allows information to be passed from a sender to a receiver. It is like a microphone hooked up to a sound system which the pastor can use to communicate with the congregation. It is also a tool that is fast gaining popularity among today’s youth, both inside and outside the church.

Sure, Twitter can be used to talk about your own feelings, like how “the drummer is really cute today”. But it can also be used in other ways, for example, to communicate biblical truths such as “He makes us rise on wings like eagles”. It depends on how you use it.

Right – so why and how should we Tweet during a service? For example, some people take notes during a sermon. This is perfectly acceptable. Some people take notes on their PDA. Lately, I have begun taking notes via Twitter.

Firstly, note taking increases my engagement level. It forces me to process what the preacher is saying, and reproduce it in easy to remember points. It also allows me to revise the points of the sermon that I found interesting and applicable even after I leave church. With today’s youth, engagement levels are a concern for preachers. This is one way to keep them engaged.

Secondly, Tweets are read by people outside the service. Not only does this immediately multiply the influence of your ministry, but it is a testimony to God. Youths actually stand to “lose face” if they tweet about Godly things. Friends may see them as “holy joes”. But if they choose to tweet about church during church, their friends will see that they choose to spend Sunday morning in the house of God, rather than sleep in, or go to the beach.

There is another way I think that Twitter can be used well in a service – prayer requests. Churches may have a segment where church members come up and publicly share their prayer requests or thanksgiving via a microphone. The congregation then prays on their behalf.

During this segment, the congregation could be prompted to Tweet their prayer requests with the hash-tag[i] #prayerABCmethodistchurch which are displayed on the projection screen. Those who do not use Twitter can submit their prayer requests before the service, which the ushers will Tweet on their behalf.

Twitter is a social phenomenon that is quickly gaining popularity amongst today’s youth, including Methodists. I believe that Twitter is one of the many social media tools that Methodist youth leaders should evaluate as a means of being more effective in engaging young people, and fostering a sense of community in our Methodist churches.

Jonathan Huang is also a “technophile” and very much a fan of Twitter, but I hate people talking about shopping during the service as much as Dr Goh does It’s about how you use it.

You may reach me at: jonathanhyz@gmail.com, or read my blog about worship at https://turnyourears.wordpress.com/, or heaven forbid, Tweet me at http://twitter.com/turnyourears/


[i] Hash-tags are a way of labelling individual Tweets and makes them easily to find and categorise.

Advertisements

~ by jonhyz on November 19, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Case for Twittering in Worship”

  1. I agree.

  2. […] Jonathan’s rebuttal took two forms: first, an informal one on his blog, and second, a formal article submitted for publication. Both are excellent, and I commend them to you for your […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: