Eagle's Wings Community Church

Social Media

Social Media Introduction Video

Social media is wonderful in many ways.  It allows us to connect more easily to people in more places and from different times in our lives.  I now have people from my high school and Navy days that I can inexpensively keep in touch with.  However, there are some risky drawbacks that we should consider.

It isn’t difficult to know that gossip is not a proper action regardless of whether someone is Christian or not.  Often, it is harmful and often it is untrue.  It used to be that gossip was localized.  If someone told a lie about so-and-so sleeping with so-and-so, no one from five states away was likely to hear about it.  This is no longer true.  If I Twitter about someone behind their back I may be surprised to find out how far and how fast the tweet gets around.

So, I’ve established some rules for myself that feel to me like the Spirit working in me regarding social media.  One is that I’m going to make an extreme effort not to disrespect people with social media.  Sometimes, even when we think we’re being sneaky by not using their names, it’s painfully obvious who we’re talking about.  So, I’ll just try to avoid this scenario.  Basically, if I wouldn’t say it in a crowd or to their face, I hope I won’t say it in a blog or on a tweet.

However, the major purpose of this blog is to enter into theological debate in a constructive and respectful way.  So, one might ask if I’m being hypocritical when I post on the views of a theologian.  To me, it seems perfectly reasonable to calmly state, “I disagree with Borg’s theology here for these reasons…”  However, to call him an idiot publicly isn’t necessary and could give the wrong impression to non-Christians; something I’m trying to avoid as much as possible in my daily life.

What ever happened to the tactful strategy of asking loaded questions when we disagree with someone?  Doesn’t it give a better impression to ask, “What do you do with this text when you claim…”  I appear more open to the possibility that I could be wrong, I may learn more information about another’s view, and I still accomplish my goal of challenging their view.  Do we always have to immediately fire back as though we’re on the offense rather than sit back and strategize?

Finally, social media has the power to destroy or to build community.  If we let it rule our lives, we’ll shut ourselves in our living room prison and never engage in face-to-face interaction with others.  Or, we can let social media be a conduit to building community the way God intended.  We can meet Christians, non-Christians, people who are asking the tough questions, people of other colors, etc. that we may have never met without this great new tool.

I’ve found it’s easy to seek out people who are just like me via social media.  I’ve also found that I can connect with people very different from me and begin the process of learning about them and myself.  I’m choosing to intentionally reach out to many types of people through social media in hopes that I build the kind of social network that will some day be reflected on God’s new Earth.

For some reason, we threw out the idea of taking all our thoughts captive to Christ when Twitter came around.  All sorts of things we would have never spoken before we now tweet impulsively.  The things we used to whisper in private we now post for the world to see.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Titter and Facebook, etc.  However, I’m hoping to use them in the same love I try to exemplify in my non-virtual life.

I can’t wait for your comments.

P.S.  For information on participating in our dialogue group, click on the “Become A Participant” tab and tell us if you’d like to join us in person or via the web.  We’d love to be in community with you!

Should Pastors Be Paid

This is one of the latest questions I received on my blog, so here goes.

Before getting right to the yes or no, let me preface (As I love to do!).  First of all, there are usually two questions being asked here, at least implicitly.  We also want to know, if the answer is yes, how much they should be paid.

There are usually a few reasons for these questions to pop up.  One of the major ones is that someone has observed either an inappropriate level of wealth building from someone in a church vocation or they feel suspicious about its possible occurrence.  Sometimes, in this situation, the following scenario exists:  1. Lots of pressure to give.  2. Higher church receivables.  3. Higher Pastor salaries.  Many times in this series of events there is, in my view, an unbiblical appeal to a doctrine of tithing.  Unfortunately, then, the whole concept of how we’re supposed to give and receive is out of whack from the start of it all.  There are far reaching consequences for this, as I hope to show.

The second reason is usually an imbalanced idea of scripture’s teaching on the subject.  Proponents of no pay for Pastors, or church staff in general, usually refer to Paul’s example.  In order to be a good example to unbelievers Paul chose to take no pay for his work planting churches.  While doing that ministry, he chose to earn his money for daily living by making tents.

I’ll deal with this second reason first and then circle back to the first.  From the Old Testament design, set up by God, the Levites were to dedicate their lives in service to God and live off a portion of the offerings (Num. 18:21-32; Lev. 2:10; 7:8).  The Levites were set aside for service to God.  They were to administer the offerings, lead worship, and maintain the worship center, among other things.  The non-Levites were to pay tithes to the temple.  Part of the tithe was to go to the Levites for the special service God had entrusted to them.

Paul suggests that this same model regarding those set aside for service has carried over to the present days when he communicates with the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 9) and to Timothy (1 Tim 5:17-18).  His address on the topic is twofold.  While he says he will not take wages for his work, he aggressively defends the action.  He indicates that those who labor to deliver the gospel should be sustained by offerings given by those they serve.   In fact, Paul’s quotes Jesus’ words when he says the worker is worthy of their wages.

Finally, the issue for most isn’t whether they should be paid but how much they should be paid.  Excessive pay is the problem.  This question is a bit more of a matter of opinion.  So, I’ll just give some of my own personal convictions.  I don’t think it is right to ask people to give sacrificially and not give sacrificially.  I think the example given of the ox who works all day deserving to eat is a good way to show that it is reasonable to be paid for our labor and that we should not desire extravagancies.  However, I also recognize that extravagancies are a bit relative.  What we consider needs in our culture are luxuries in other cultures.  Peter tells his elders to have proper motives for service and to leave aside greed (1 Peter 5:2).

I have taken all these ideas and personally applied them towards a few ministry goals.  My hope is to work as long as possible at my current job while helping to build our church.  During that time, I plan to take no salary for some time, a meager salary for as long as possible, and a modest salary should we be blessed enough to require full-time service.  With prayer and God’s leading I hope to choose just the right time to leave my current job.  My hope is that others in leadership positions would humbly do the same or something similar.

Here’s one thing I’d love to get comments on.  Some people say that pastors should be paid more according to their success.  The more their church flourishes the more they should be paid, so the saying goes.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  When I’ve seen this statement, they usually use the corporate world as a reference.  If I do a good job as CEO I should get a bonus.  I guess I’m fine with pay increases to a point, but then it feels like the pay should level off regardless of success.  For those who think that will minimize motivation I’d say we should be motivated by something other than money anyways.  There seems to be some possibility for a conflict of interest.  If I can do a good job fund raising I can give myself a raise.  Hmm.  Maybe I do know how I feel.

I can’t wait for your comments.

P.S.  For information on participating in our dialogue group, click on the “Become A Participant” tab and tell us if you’d like to join us in person or via the web.  We’d love to be in community with you!