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Preaching: to tweet or not to tweet

That is the question. At least that’s the question raised by the twitter feed from my treasured old seminary, Moore College (@MooreCollege if you want to follow them!)

This morning John Woodhouse is continuing his series in 1 Timothy. You can follow tweets at #MTCchapel - esv.to/1Tim6.11-16.

I replied,

As a MTC grad and preacher I am not real keen on people tweeting during church myself. So no thanks! Afterwards OK.

(People who know me probably think it’s ironic for me to comment on technology when I only got a mobile phone two months ago. But hey, I’ve been tweeting since the second half of last year, via laptop, so how’s that for cred?)
Anyway, back on topic, someone tweeted back, and here’s how the conversation unfolded (I’m quoting with permission, edited slightly for clarity)…
  • @thebiblebasher - I’m pro-sermon tweeting. A 140 character concise tweet is a sign God’s word is being digested… much more encouraging than people passively sat there like they’re at the movies. #readmarkandinwardlydigest [over 2 tweets]
  • Me: Maybe, but a sermon tweet gives others the impression they can do whatever on their phones (maybe not prob at MTC)
  • @shanerogerson - what about note taking and doodling, is it any different ? Lloyd Jones preferred no sermon notes

We all want people to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the preached Word of God, as Cranmer’s old collect memorably said! And clearly, people learn in different ways. And people also get distracted in different ways.

So as we use technology to take notes or help us reflect further on the sermon (whether old technology like a pen and pad, or new technology like a smart phone), we all need to think whether our use of technology distracts others or inadvertantly gives them permission to focus elsewhere (as they see my doodle, or use of Twitter).

And speaking personally, as a new user of a smart phone, I can see how easy it is to get distracted. During a sermon, I remember a task I need to do, so I take my phone out to list it in my task manager app (Wunderlist, if you were wondering), to get it out off my mind and refocus on the Word. But then I notice I have some new messages, and get tempted to read them… Know what I mean? Maybe the novelty wears off, and all you experienced phone users are no longer distracted!

Remarkably I have even found myself justifying this, because in my case I already heard the sermon at an earlier service I attended that day. Note to self: what about the bad example I am setting for others? Second note to self: even if no one can see you, don’t you realise God’s Spirit might help you get something you missed the first time!?

On the other hand, clearly one can use a smart phone to follow the Bible electronically, take notes, and so forth. OK, my tweeting friend, Andy, got the discussion back on track…

@thebiblebasher - the challenge is how we use tech to build & glorify, rather than being anti. It’s Gods gift to us.

Fair enough. However, I had another concern. It wasn’t just about using technology for note-taking to aid one’s own concentration or reflection or memory.

The original tweet apparently encouraged students to ‘live-tweet’ (is that a word?) during the sermon. This must be so that others could follow along, using a hashtag (#MTCchapel) and see what the tweeters were saying. Presumably it would be in summary of sermon higlights or in reaction to the sermon.

So I tweeted back…

Does 1 Cor 14:31 have relevance? You can all prophesy in turn! Wait till preacher has finished?

In response, Shane wondered,

@shanerogerson - not sure it’s really that prophetic, just summarising salient points of what is being prophesied

Of course, tweets during sermons could just summarise what is preached.

But they could also be critiques. And I am certainly not sure the latter – especially when made instantly public – is appropriate from those sitting under the Word. Certainly 1 Cor 14:29 suggests it is the job of the “others” to weigh what is said. But I suspect these “others” are most likely the prophets, or the congregational elders. So if anyone is to tweet during a sermon at Moore College, maybe it should be the other lecturers!

However my real point in raising that bit of 1 Corinthians 14 is that of orderliness, when people bring the Word of God to one another. (This even reflects something of God’s nature, v33.)

Only one speaks at a time! (1 Cor 14:30-31 again!)

And others can control themselves and wait till the current speaker has finished.

It is more important to listen, than to be immediately telling others what you think. But live-tweeting during a sermon seems to encourage the potential for many people to be speaking before the first speaker, i.e. the preacher, has even finished.

It was a good and friendly interchange. And I have asked my conversation partners to comment here.

Maybe I lack self-awareness, but I do not think I am anti-tech. After all, we discussed this by tweeting. And I myself have tweeted highlights of sermons from others I have heard at St Michael’s where I serve (try #GongCathedral). But I waited till after church before I sent the tweets. In conclusion, as I tweeted myself…

pro-tech people realise there are times when it is appropriate to wait before using tech!

74 thoughts on “Preaching: to tweet or not to tweet

  1. If I was a preacher (and you can all be thankful that I’m not), I think I’d be reluctant to have my ?? hours of sermon prep, which I’ve worked very hard to condense down to a 25 minute sermon, further condensed into such small bites, and delivered across the world without the context of the the full content of what I had said. Nice (flattering?) that people want to republish what I say, but easily misrepresented?

  2. Ian and Sandy,

    In regards to the reaction of the preacher to having their talks tweeted – I would disagree generally speaking.

    In the end as a preacher one wants what one says to be given a wide audience – and twitter is one good new way of doing that. And of course there’s going to be loss in translation, nuance, the moment – all that will be lost – but generally better to be out there in the marketplace of ideas!

    So why haven’t I started doing it when I am listening to talks? Well personal reasons. I contemplated and I think maybe tried to join the twitter conversation about the preaching at Oxygen – listening to Piper and Lennox – but in the end didn’t join in – because I needed to concentrate on what was being said for me (which I find note taking helps me to do) – rather than listening and repackaging/republishing it for others (especially thinking about how it might be taken by different audiences on my twitter feed). I decided that I wasn’t able to process for me and repackage for others in real time – especially not on such an important topic – as nuancing the teaching of the word of God – and that here and now the most important thing to do was to give me headspace to process for me. Other cleverer people whose brains work differently may be able to – and if so – all power to them!!

    But what a helpful discussion on a current ministry topic.

    • Dominic said:

      ‘In the end as a preacher one wants what one says to be given a wide audience…’

      I am less convinced that it is good for my preaching to be abstracted to an audience beyond my personal and pastoral relations. I concede that this may just be my – again, personal – reaction to the absent-pastor effect of mp3s.

      Every now and again I receive an email from someone ‘out there’ listening to my sermons online, and though I thank God that they may have benefited from the labours enabled by my generous church, each time I also wonder whether now is the time to shut down our sermon feed. Preaching is personal, and involves taking responsibility for listeners within and beyond the frame of the sermon. I cannot do that for those beyond my care.

      • The problem Michael and others raise about context doesn’t just apply to tweets — anytime we quote a preacher that is an inherent danger, regardless of the medium. And even whole sermons in print (Calvin, Lloyd-Jones, etc.) don’t have that personal element Michael speaks of, yet they can be of enormous value to the reader.
        For me the issue is more the one that Dominic raises – if you’re already packaging parts of the message and sending it out before you’ve had time to process it and before it’s complete, are you really ‘reading, marking, etc.’? What is lost by waiting to do it afterwards (as Sandy urges) other than not satisfying the contemporary urge for instant gratification?

  3. Hi there,

    Just thought I would give some perspective as to how @moorecollege is (trying) to use twitter. But first some back story. 

    Each year college participates in an event which we call Moore Mission. Simply put, groups of students and faculty are sent out to various parts of Australia (and occasionally the world) to partner with churches in running local missions that proclaim Jesus.

    In the past (up until 2011) there had been fairly good engagement individually on social networks about mission. The social networks that were implemented were the student run mission blog and individual use of twitter. The topics of the tweets included things like prayer requests, encouraging stories of people learning about Jesus and some included personal tweets about things that individual students were learning from their experiences. While this engagement was good, it had no real traction in the wider college community. This lack of traction was partly due to the college not utilising its social networks to raise the profile of what was happening during the mission and therefore the profile of the college.

    It left some of us (students and faculty) asking the questions like, ‘Why we didn’t utilise these networks better?’ and then ‘How could we do things differently moving forward?’

    What happened after was the identification of several 1st year students who had professional backgrounds in digital and social media. This group were given the ok to try some new things on the web with the hope of a) increasing the online presence of the college and its activities, b) give a glimpse of the day-to-day college experience and the great things God has blessed students with; as well as the work He is doing through Moore College, and c) explore new ways of using digital and social media with a view to educating others about these things by example and formal training sessions. 

    While these aims may broaden in the future, this is what we are currently trying to do and we’re having fun asking ‘how can we use this technology for the glory of God and the building-up of His Kingdom?’. Not everything works well, and the #MTCchapel hashtag wasn’t actually started by our group. We were simply making public something that was already being used by a number of students. And by we, I mean me, as I’m the one who sent the tweet which started all of this.

    *** On a slightly related note: @moorecollege plan to hosting a couple of student-run Digital Ministry training workshops over the course of the year. If you’re a minister and would like to attend a student-run workshop, we’d love to have you. Please register your interest here:
    https://docs.google.com/a/student.moore.edu.au/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHBUZ1pzR0RNUU1QaGp0LVlyZ3dOYlE6MQ ***

  4. Hi All,
    I agree with Sandy; and also would include this reasoning:

    Would it not be rude to ‘comment’ to others throughout a sermon while sitting as a Church under the preaching of God’s Word; and what’s more, would it not also be inappropriate because of the role of the listener and the Spirit whenever the Preacher is declaring God’s Word to his Church?

    I believe the role of the Listener is not only to be ‘hearing’ the Preaching as God’s Word, is is also to ‘submit’ as under the authority of God’s direct Word in that moment.

    It is because of this that ‘speaking’ is out of Order, is inappropriate at this point. He Speaks; We Listen. The importance of this Order comes from the place of Authority in the relationship.

    But instead if we speak throughout the Sermon, by ‘chatting’ (when we Tweet), every time we do this are we leave the Mode of Listener; when we Tweet we exit our Place under God’s Word as Listener, under Authority, and actively cross-over, and step into the mode of Commentor. And is not engaging in Commentary while under the authority of Preaching actively working against our sole and singular role as Listeners to God?

  5. Thanks everyone, I appreciate your comments.

    I really appreciate the kind way the Moore College students engaged with my (hopefully friendly) critique.

    And I like the idea of those with professional backgrounds in digital and social media at Moore trying a few things to leverage these opportunities technology gives us. Keep it up. I am sure we will benefit as a result. My post is an encouragement to refine one of those uses.

    Joe, I think you nailed it. We must never lose sight of hearing the voice not of the preacher but of God, and sitting under his Word.

    In that regards, it’s worth saying that the #MTCchapel tweets I have seen have been godly and edifying.

    I think I’d just prefer to wait till after church/chapel before sending those messages.

    • Thanks Sandy,

      Glad we could outline some of the reasoning behind what we are trying to do @moorecollege. Thanks for your encouragement to keep thinking about how we can refine our thinking in this area.

      On another note: Sorry I couldn’t actually engage with you on twitter over last weekend. Was in the mountains for MKC. With the horrible mobile coverage I wouldn’t of been able to contribute much and Andy (@thebiblebasher) is more than qualified to keep the discussion going :)

      Peace.

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  8. As the world marches, so too the Christians saddle up right behind. It’s all about ‘sound bites’.

  9. I think David Murray linked to this post, and I know he, among many others, see the collection and dispersion of information as NOT the primary purpose of a sermon. It is a supernatural moment in time, where divine truth is relayed by God’s under-shepherd to his people. I’m not saying that there aren’t things to learn, but what’s most important is being fully aware of God’s moving and teaching in the moment. I know there is a call among many teachers of preaching to not use sermon notes in the pulpit for that very reason. Know the Word and then engage with your people. I think that’s why using video screens just simply isn’t preaching, but that’s a top for another time.

  10. While some people are practiced at doing several things at once, the reality is these people are practiced at segmenting their attention from one activity to another. The problem with this is we can really on focus on one activity at a time with everything else standing in a line waiting for further attention. Think of how a cook operates within a kitchen. Many things happening but the cook’s activity is a series of performed actions. We can only focus on one thing at a time. We can operate with noise in the background but we cannot focus on the noise at the exclusion of the activity at hand.

    An example is when talking to a child who really does not want to listen, the child’s thoughts will wander to something else – a miniture form of rebellion. One way as a parent to counter-act this, in a limited form, is to actively engage the child by asking thought provoking questions rather than just “yes/no” questions, as this forces the child to actively listen and respond. Unfortunately I do not know many pastors who do this in the midst of their sermons…calling out people in the middle of their sermon.

    For the Twitter to decide they will tweet in the middle of a sermon is a reflection of the child mentally deciding to think of other things and move the focus from the one who is speaking to something that reflects where the Heart actually is and where it is not. Using the old adage of God giving you one mouth which you can open and close, He gave you two ears that are always open, the Twitter has just replaced their mouth with their hands as they tweet.

    Taking notes means you must actively listen so you can record important points knowing that while you are actively writing the note you also know your attention or focus has shifted from the speaker to the pen and paper in front of you. The attention of the dialog is still only between you and the speaker and there is no expectation of having anyone make a comment on the note until maybe after the speaker is finished speaking. This is not so with the Twitter. Attention has shifted to condensing what was said for others to read so they can try to understand and make comments. Note taking is personal and acts as a mental sign post to jog memory. Tweeting by its very nature is not personal as it is a communication tool between 2+ people with the expectation of soliticing comments.

    • Michael, do you have evidence of all this ‘brain stuff’ that you’ve posted?
      It seems to me that what you’re arguing against is Tweeting, per se, but in reality, there is very little difference in brain function between note taking and Tweeting. Unless, of course, you can provide evidence …
      Just so that it is known, I’m not a person who Tweets during sermons, and very little at any other time. Less than 50 in my life, and I’ve had a Twitter account for over 2 years.

      • Andrew, he’s right about the brain stuff. There is evidence for the fact that we can’t really multi-task, only move from one task to another; and that when we try to do two things at once, rather than sequentially, we atually take longer to do them and do them less well. You’d find evidence for this in Challies The Next Story, his book on technology. So yes, you could take notes as a way of helping your own brain concentrate. You’d find it harder to tweet a comment to someone else – and certainly to read their reaction – while absorbing what was being said during a sermon.

        Not so much a comment on the right and wrong of all this (I don’t feel informed enough to comment), just an answer to your question.

        • Thanks Jean. My only three sources of input for my reasoning is the the 2009 Stanford study on the degraded cognitive ability when multitasking, my own personal experiences where I have found how many different tasks I can accomplish at the same time plus discussions with other people attempting the same, and one of the ways I look at Paul in 1st Cor 8: 1-13.
          I have found that I can do analysis work when I look for patterns within a data set and listen with comprehension to a speaker (e.g. A podcast, a an audio file) but I cannot listen with comprehension while trying to or while writing as this uses the same portion of my brain and I will miss a part of the discussion when I write or I stop writing when I am comprehending what I hear. The advantage I have over someone in a live/sermon setting is I can turn off the audio and replay. The person Tweeting does not have the same ability. As for Paul in 1st Cor. 8:1-13, he is discussing food and idols and how it can influence those.indivuals who are not as strong in their faith as others. I can see this also being turned with how we should respond when we go to worship to hear a sermon built from the Word of God. By removing our attention from the sermon and the speaker we are in a sense placing our own importance above the message and set a poor example for others (e.g. those new to the church, children and teens who follow the examples set by the adults).
          There is no real good reason for Tweeting during a sermon or any other live event if the intent is to hear, comprehend, and learn. If someone cannot come to the sermon they will not miss much in waiting for a podcast or a recording of the sermon. Or you can personally go to them afterward and tell them in person or by telephone. This enables us to maintain the respect towards the speaker (e.g. pastor, teacher, chaplian, priest), set the correct example, keep our focus on what we are meant to hear, and know that by giving fully to the speaker our attention we are also giving the glory to God and not to something or someone else.

          • Good point about which parts of the brain you’re using at the same time. I can knit and listen (see discussion with Karen below…) so obviously some kinds of multitasking work well :).

        • Jean, thanks for replying on behalf of Michael.
          I have Tim Challies’ book – just haven’t got around to listening to it, yet. (I’m an audiobook listener, not a book reader.) Does Tim link to studies? No need to provide the links; I’m just interested to know.
          The other thing I want to say is that when I try and take notes, I lose most of what is being said at the time I’m writing. I was like that in school. I’m like that now. Put me in front of a computer, however, and I can (usually) keep my concentration on listening and what I’m typing.
          Call me odd. Many people do!

          • Yep, page 125.

            Typing is easier, faster, neater and more efficient than writing. You can also look at someone while you do it. I agree: it’s easier to concentrate while typing (not that I would ever attempt this during a sermon, mainly because of the impact on those around me!).

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  12. Personally, I really dislike when people tweet during service. I’m far from being anti-technology, I’m attached to my cell and my laptop the majority of the day, but I think that for a hour or so at church we could all stand to pay a little more attention to the Word instead of tweeting a reaction to it. Generally I think it looks disrespectful when I see people on their cells or ipads during church. What really bothers me is that the pastors at the church I used to attend would be nonstop tweeting throughout the service. We should be giving God all of our attention when we are coming together as a church to hear His Word.

  13. I can think of numerous times when I’ve been sitting in on a particularly rich and meaty sermon, and the pastor has brought up points on which I’ve wanted to raise my hand (as if in a discussion) because I know in my heart that I have something I could add that might be a clarifier or that might help deepen the message. But I don’t do it because the middle of a sermon, sitting amongst the congregation is not the appropriate place for that kind of exchange. The problem with social media in this application is that this forum gives everyone the podium all the time, and leads us to believe that we all have equally valid points to contribute whenever we want to contribute them. We get so busy paying close attention to the sermon for sparkling bits of wisdom that really pop, things that we think others might be interested in and how we can put our own turn on them so that they might be more interesting and applicable, that we forget to really listen to the message so that we can digest it and apply it to ourselves. We forget that God’s message of application for me in that sermon may not be the same application that He has for every other one of my Twitter followers.

    More often than not, when I have those ‘Aha!’ moments in the middle of the sermon, wishing so dearly that I could have my say in the middle of the congregation, by the time the pastor has reached the end of his sermon and I’ve digested it all in context, I realise that what I would have said wasn’t as appropriate as I thought. Or that the pastor brought it up later on in the sermon in a better context than I would have done. We live in a world of instant gratification, where everyone is able to have their say at any time about anything. As believers, we must be discerning as to what is the proper time to speak and the proper time to be silent, else we will merely become a congregation of clashing gongs and clattering cymbals.

    • “We get so busy paying close attention to the sermon for sparkling bits of wisdom that really pop, things that we think others might be interested in and how we can put our own turn on them so that they might be more interesting and applicable, that we forget to really listen to the message so that we can digest it and apply it to ourselves.” That’s a really helpful point. Again, Challies in The Next Story comments on this: one of the impacts of technology is that we’ve become less able to maintain sustained reflection on a book, sermon or argument; instead, our brain jumps from point to point to task to task. I guess a helpful question is: does tweeting during a sermon help my brain to develop the skills of concentrating and digesting, or does it train my brain in distraction and inattention?

      • Ditto with Jean, Jaye, I liked your comment

        We get so busy paying close attention to the sermon for sparkling bits of wisdom that really pop, things that we think others might be interested in and how we can put our own turn on them so that they might be more interesting and applicable, that we forget to really listen to the message so that we can digest it and apply it to ourselves.

        But sometimes these are worth remembering and even sharing, so I find writing them down helps me:
        (i) remember it, and
        (ii) have it ready if maturer judgment later after church on assesses it as still worth sharing for edification of others.

  14. I vote against tweeting during sermons. At the very least–I don’t want people to be doing it near and at the end of the sermon. If people still feel like tweeting near the end of the sermon (instead of praying, repenting, resolving, or praising) then as a preacher I’ve not accomplished my goal.

  15. I won’t repeat all the great points already made in previous comments, but I’d just like to say that I think tweeting during any type of situation that is supposed to turn the focus solely on God is inappropriate. As a student at Wheaton College, which just experience “Chapelgate”*, I know it can even be hurtful to do so. Why engage social media if it does nothing to enhance our spiritual growth?

    * A group of Wheaton students pledged to tweet during chapel services about chapel services. Though often critical comments, the tweets were relatively tame until a recent “Rhythm & Praise” chapel, in which racially insensitive comments were directed towards the participants in the chapel, who were mostly minority students. The administration is addressing the incident and the ensuing uproar, and working to improve diversity and racial relations on campus.

  16. Great to see a series of disagreeing men & women treat each other so well!

    I feel as though there’s a theme among some of the “don’t tweet” brigade that assumes that those who tweet mid-sermon are doing it for attention.

    Fair cop, some of the time.

    But one of the features of twitter is that people not right there and then can see in part what’s being said. Good for people dislocated/unable to be there.

    I’ve been prompted to think and reflect by reading the tweets of others (more at conferences that I’m not at, than sermons), and have been encouraged to see people engage with services/sermons that I’m involved with!

    • “Good for people dislocated/unable to be there.” Could one person be given the Tweeting task for the sake of those who are not there?

  17. Oh dear, just after Rog complimented you all on being so nice! I’m going to be blunt. But in love, so that makes it ok right? ;-)

    Let’s face it guys, most of us can only listen to and digest 60% of what you’re saying at the time, and will remember, at most, about 10%. That’s right, 10% of what you say will actually remain in our brains more than 2 hours after you stopped talking.

    It seems to me there are those who don’t seem to actually grasp the concepts of active listening and different learning styles, and instead want to engage in cloaking specific types of personalities and learning styles with godliness-jargon, making ‘being a good Christian sermon participant’ on par with their preferred style (God wants you to sit quietly, facing the speaker at all times, without moving or writing any notes, but simply listening, preferably while wearing neat and tidy clothes’).

    I would ask, “why did you decide that the inherited concept of preaching being the focus of ‘church’ (services/basically that whole model of church) was the best way of making the Living Word of God the focus of church?” Is it because preaching was what had/has the most impact on you and your relationship with God? Is it because everybody else in your white culture is doing it? Is it because it was the only task you’ve been trained for? Is it because you’ve subtly replaced ‘the Word of God’ with ‘the preached Word of God’? I don’t think the Bible ever actually goes that far. It’s deffo pro-preaching (cue your mental cascade of proof-texts), but, a.) weren’t a lot of people illiterate and b.) does pro-preaching equal, ‘Word of God = preached Word of God’?

    There is actually a huge variety of ways for engaging with God through His Word to happen communally, and most of them have a lot more impact on people’s actual behaviour and attitudes than the stuff you say for half an hour at us from behind your pulpit in your dress. Especially when 1 in 3 of us have depression or anxiety, 1 in 5 of us have a mood disorder and some strange amount of us have the sit-quietly-and-listen-attention-span of a gnat.

    Having said that, I am one of those people whose brains are continually summarising and analysing what is being said (aren’t we awful!), however, my Mum and Dad also taught me manners, so I try not to make side comments to people sitting next to me, and while some of my notes could sensibly be made into tweets, I’m not a Twit yet, so I don’t use that medium. I generally wait and digest, y’know? I don’t start complaining until during the next song, like most of the people around me.

    As usual, the solution is not to legalistically ban or encourage something (in this case, tweeting), but, as Tim said, to be the best we can be at what we’re doing (if we’ve decided it’s worth the time and effort), and let/ask God to do His thing.

    Should I sign this “Grumpy and Confused in Broken Hill”?

    (And to prove the attention span thing, probably only, maybe, 2 people have read this far cos I’m over 500 words! ;-)

    • Joanna, I read all the way, and I’m glad you took the time to write.

      These are the things I really appreciated.

      1. You reminded us of the importance of the variety of learning styles. Some people need to be more physically engaged in the whole thing to be mentally engaged etc. Maybe (some) reflectors and theorists can sit still and (some) activists and pragmatists are helped by seeing and even articulating where it is all going. Ditto for personality styles more generally. And kinaesthetics too, I guess? Pen or phone in hand and some physical movement might genuinely help (not just distract)!

      2. But I also loved what you said about your parents and how they taught you manners. We all need to wait – at times – before we speak out or move around. I think this may be related to the 1 Corinthians 14 point about order. It’s very important.

      3. And thanks so much for saying let’s not legalistically ban (or encourage) something. That was certainly not my purpose.

      • Thanks Sandy! I definitely wasn’t thinking you were saying we should ban, it’s just that often these types of conversations end up going in that direction…

  18. I’m one of what appears to have become known as the “don’t tweet brigade,” and to give my reasons would merely be to restate the well-made points above. But a couple of points:

    1. In the original article, @Thebiblebasher was quoted as saying that a concise tweet is a sight that God’s word is being digested. Really? That’s a sign? I think not.

    2. He then goes onto say that technology is God’s gift to us. Well yes and no. It’s God’s gift to the world (not just “us” believers), and like all such gifts we need to work out whether they are appropriate for church use before we work out how they are appropriate for church use. But let’s be clear, technology as “God’s gift” is a long way away from those things that God does actually give to “us” for the building up of his church: the reading and preaching of the word, prayer, sacraments, church discipline.

    3. I take Rogers’s point above about those unable to hear the sermon in the usual way benefitting from tweets. Let’s be honest, if we’re talking about the housebound or the incarcerated, they are probably not getting a twitter feed on their smartphone. For genuine cases of this, perhaps tweeting that the sermon recording ministry could use some technologically savvy people to assist in the production of CDs and tapes might have been a better use of “God’s gift” of technology.

    But maybe we should ask, why aren’t these people at church or chapel? Are they absent because they can’t be arsed to turn up? Yikes, I wouldn’t want to be encouraging that. Or are they absent because they are at their own church on Sunday morning? In which case, they are, we must assume, receiving something about a trillion times better than 140 characters of sound bite; they are receiving the very word of God (or at least the preached word of God if you disagree with the Second Helvetic Confession)! And preached by their own pastor, who knows them and lives them and stands before them.

    4. And finally, I just wonder why it is only the sermon the tweeting of which is encouraged? I’m preaching in a few hours’ time, but before I do I’ll be calling the sauna to worship, I’ll be leading them in a prayer of approach, I’ll be praying for them and thanking God on their behalf, I’ll be feeding richly as one of them reads from the Old and New Testaments, and I’ll be joining my voice with theirs as we sing praise to God. An afterward I’ll declare God’s blessing upon them as we depart and end our time of worship. I don’t know how much of that goes on at Moore College chapel, but if we’re going to see the sermon celebrated in such a way, I’d love to see a bit of #awesomebenediction or #AAPBgeneralconfession action on my twitter feed too!

    • Thanks for some good thoughts, Chris, and love your rhetorical flourish in the last paragraph. And although it’s almost 2 decades since I have been in Moore College chapel, my younger friends who continue to go assure me there are those other sort of features you mention.

      But no, I haven’t seen them in the tweets; maybe we’ll have to keep an eye out for those new hashtag suggestions?!

  19. What about the impact on the preacher as he preaches? (The same could be asked – and I ask myself – about note-taking, Bible-flicking and doodling.) What encourages a preacher most at the moment he’s preaching God’s word? What activities and body language on the part of his congregation?

    I’m not a preacher (obviously!) but I do wonder if the sight of lots of heads down and fingers tapping might be a little distracting and/or disheartening! Of course it would depend on the context and the expectations for that preacher’s particular congregation.

    Ben Pfahlert encourages listeners to look at the preacher, nod at good points, laugh at funny points etc etc – all ways of making the preacher feel encouraged and engaged with his audience rather than disconnected and disregarded.

    This doesn’t stop me taking notes when I think it would help me to concentrate, so it’s no clinching argument on the Tweeting thing. But it’s a point worth considering.

  20. Hi Sandy,

    I’m glad you clarified things in response to Jo as your post did come across as anti smartphone at times. I think it’s because you’re really talking about two things here: tweeting during sermons (which I am also against) and smartphone usage in church. You are right: the latter has disadvantages (distraction being chief, as you point out!) even as there are benefits. I would just hate for people to adopt a judgemental attitude towards smartphone users purely for using a smartphone in church. That happened to me once; I was in the creche room with my toddler and one of the other congregation members started talking to me in the middle of the sermon because, as he later told me, he assumed I was reading my messages/SMS-ing people when in fact I was reading the Bible and trying to follow the sermon as best I could while also keeping an eye on my toddler. (I responded by asking him if we could talk about whatever he had asked me later.)

    For me, some of the benefits of using a smartphone in church include:

    * Being able to look up passages quickly.

    * Being able to read a passage in different versions. Now that I’m attending church twice on Sundays, I usually read it in the version the church uses during the first service and then in another during the second service as doing so helps me understand the passage a little more.

    * Cross-references are easier and quicker to look up when there’s something in the passage that refers to another part of the Bible.

    * When my child was younger, breastfeeding and using a smartphone to read the Bible was much easier than trying to juggle a book one-handed. (Maybe I’m just not that dexterous …)

    * When my child got older and more mobile, the same applied when following her around the creche room. (Now that _really_ required good concentration skills!)

    * When I find that my brain is being distracted by other matters, I’ve actually found it aids my concentration to make short notes to myself in something like Evernote or Note so that I can stop worrying that I’ll forget to buy milk or take the clothes out of the dryer when I get home as the phone will remember these things for me. Writing such things down on a piece of paper just increases my chances of losing that piece of paper, whereas the phone keeps them in the same place and even emails them to me.

    I take Jean’s point about trying to love and serve the preacher by paying attention and appearing to be engaged. I also take your point about setting a good example for other congregation members. But I wonder where the balance is between doing things for the sake of appearances and doing things for your own sake. Elaborating on what I mean by that, pre-smartphone, I used to write notes while listening. But I found that if I was tired (which is more of an issue now, and I must say that fatigue is far more of a distraction than any electronic gadget), writing notes didn’t actually stop me from nodding off. These days, I knit during sermons with a smartphone balanced on my knee. (The bub is now going to creche in the morning and I attend by myself in the evenings, but even before this, I would knit in the creche room.) I find knitting aids concentration as it gives me something to do with my hands, it’s usually repetitive enough that it demands very little brain space, and it requires just enough physical activity to keep me awake. I’m aware it looks bad, it can be distracting for others, and I also know that at times trying to follow knitting patterns as well as listening to sermons can be distracting (it really depends on the knitting pattern). But the benefit for me is that I have paid far more attention and imbibed far more Bible teaching than I would have had I simply sat and taken notes, or sat and just listened. Also, surely it’s more encouraging to the preacher and to others to be awake and actively listening while doing something than asleep. Then I try to encourage the preacher through expressing my appreciation and/or asking questions on my feedback card. I realise my practices are unusual, but they work for me, and because of them, I think I have managed to listen and follow along far more than many new mums in the initial months of parenting.

    Anyways, I hope some of that was intelligible; apologies if it’s not! I’m writing this so dreadfully early in the morning because my toddler woke up and would not go back to sleep.

    • Karen, I find that knitting aids concentration too! :) Haven’t done it for a while (I’m not knitting much at the moment) but I used to sit up the back of conference talks, knit, watch my kids, and listen. A good combination. I think it was still clear from my body language that I was listening to the sermon. Crafters take note! :)

  21. What is the point of preaching?

    I think that Bible teaching and exhortation is probably most effective in relatively small groups – sometimes individually, sometimes a one-to-one and sometimes a study group. Of course there has been many times when a sermon has deeply affected me too, but I don’t think it’s the ideal situation for teaching and exhortation.

    Preaching is public, and wide. Ignoring evangelistic sermons (which is not what church is for, though are okay on occasion), preaching is to be aimed at imparting a little of something to the whole church. Strategically, it should really be aimed at those who for whatever reason are not participating in one of those smaller groups. The other characteristic of preaching is that it is usually a monologue, whereas smaller groups are dialogues (and hence their strength).

    So I am inclined to suggest that the best preaching will be an explicit demonstration of exegesis, to equip people for those smaller groups. And while that will lead to teaching and exhortation, I don’t think you can tweet an exegesis demonstration. (Now live tweeting might, but I agree with the others who say the distraction will be too great.)

    • Hi Dannii,

      It’s a little off the original topic, but I am intrigued by your comment. You start by asking the “point of preaching,” and conclude that, whatever it is, you “don’t think it’s the ideal situation for teaching and exhortation.” Really? So during those “public, and wide” sermons, what do you think is actually going on?

      But even more problematic is that you see this “teaching and exhortation” role being better fulfilled by “relatively small groups – sometimes individually, sometimes a one-to-one and sometimes a study group.” What the?

      When did that core function of the church – teaching and exhortation of Scripture – become better accomplished by untrained lay people? And even by individual Bible study? Now I have nothing against Bible study groups. I have nothing against suitably qualified lay leaders. I don’t believe in the necessity of a theological degree. And I certainly encourage private Bible study. But in the Bible and in the history of the church, these are not the primary forums for the teaching and exhortation of the saints of God. How can they be when, as you say, their strength is in the dialogue of voices (often voices of ignorance and confusion) rather than in the authoritative proclamation of God’s word to his people?

      • Way to twist my words… where did I ever say that the teaching and exhortation should be done by untrained lay people who speak with confusion and ignorance? It should be done by trained lay people of course!

        • Way to twist MY words, Dannii!

          My reference to confusion and ignorance refers to the dialogue that you affirm as the strength of small groups, and not to the qualified lay leaders that you would see appointed to lead them.

          As for lay people leading…it’s amusing how quickly you got back to me to tell me that “of course” they are the trained variety! My mistake.

          But in any case I’m lost as to where Scripture suggests that the “teaching and exhortation” is to be primarily done (a) in small groups, etc, or (b) by other than the ministers of the church.

          • I think we really have fundamentally different opinions about how church should be done.

            I am very egalitarian – there is no qualitative difference between Christians, only differing Christian maturities and a diversity of gifts. Ideally all Christians would be highly trained, would continually be trained further, and would serve each other. There’d be little need for a small group leader, except when there is a substantial difference in maturities, such as with new believers. However even new believers can be taught exegesis, so that they too can explore the scriptures rather than just sprouting confusion and ignorance. And I think the regular Sunday sermon can be a good place to demonstrate exegesis.

            Where do the scriptures ever say that teaching should be done primarily by “ministers”? No instead “each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Cor 14:26). To suggest otherwise is to deny that the spirit equips us all.
            The scriptures don’t specifically endorse small groups, that’s just me speaking from my experience.

            Also, I misspoke earlier, teaching and exhortation can’t really happen by yourself. But the single person equivalents of study and application can.

      • I should say: I don’t believe in “clergy”, but I do believe in a church having paid staff – people who the church believes it worth supporting financially so that they can be freed up to do more ministry. I think the main role we should pay staff for is training and discipleship (if those two can even be distinguished).

        I am now suggesting that non-evangelistic preaching be thought of as primarily a training opportunity, and that teaching and exhortation be secondary outcomes.

        • I’m pretty sure clergy do exist, and that you should believe in them. But seriously, your view is rather extreme, and at odds with the teaching of Scripture (can you really argue that it makes NO distinction apart from their salary?) and the history of the church (including the reformed and evangelical traditions).

          As I said, I think we’ve become distracted from the point of the article (my fault, entirely), and I’m sorry that that is the case. I will make this my last comment and close with the words of the apostle (clergyman?) Paul (Titus :

          This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint paid staff – people who the church believes it worth supporting financially so that they can be freed up to do more ministry – in every town…

          • I don’t mind being off topic, as long as good discussion is happening, and I feel it still is.

            I know my position disagrees with church history – I believe that most churches for a long time have got it wrong. They have conflated two things which the scriptures do not conflate: ministry, and oversight.

            Overseers/elders are essential – they are responsible for ensuring that the church avoids heresy. The qualifications Paul gives us include that they must be able to teach and to rebuke false teaching (1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:9), but this ability neither means that they must do the lion’s share of the teaching, nor that they even have a special gift of teaching. We are all able to do much more than what we have been specially gifted to do.

            In terms of a churches ministries, the day to day serving and teaching and prayer etc, the elders may or may not be prominent – it really depends on how everyone else is gifted and led to serve. But even if they’re not prominent then they’ll be there in the background, quietly watching, ready to correct any false teaching if it arises.

  22. I believe the core function of interpreting, understanding and applying the word belongs to the Holy Spirit, and that every believer in having access to the Spirit has access to those gifts also. I think that’s when lay people got in on the act Chris.

    • Ha…when was that, exactly?

      I don’t there is anywhere in my original reply to Dannii that suggests I don’t agree with all that. But “teaching and exhortation” do not mean sitting around dialoguing about a passage in the typical small group context, and they certainly don’t mean private Bible study, as beneficial as both of these things are.

      But I think we’ve gone off topic, and I apologise for that.

  23. I have never been a note taker until recently. I only write diwn either quotes or one word to help me jog my memory. If I like a quote I will upload it to my buffer app (which will then tweet it at a designated time) after the sermon is done not during. I find if I am tweeting during the sermon I am too concerned with twitter rather than what is preached.

  24. Interesting discussion. I’ve got a couple of thoughts, probably more towards the pro-tweeting side than others, I suspect.

    The thing I really appreciate about Sandy’s piece is the warning to not sit in judgement before it’s warranted. Quite apart from the Twitter question, I know as a preacher myself it’s very easy to sit in sermon-critique mode and not really listen.

    Regarding the great point that Jean made of the effect on the preacher – in many of our local church contexts I suspect the knowledge the preacher has of his congregation helps out here. So, for example, I know if I’m preaching that when this person in the 3rd row is hunched over his phone, I’m pretty sure he’s reading his bible on it, or taking a note. That other guy over in the 6th row… because I know him, I’m pretty sure he’s playing Angry Birds. If I’m in your congregation, sitting next to Karen, and knitting—well, you can be pretty sure I’m not paying much attention to you. The same goes for note-taking & doodles, knitting, or Bible reading, or whatever else people are doing while they’re listening.

    Another thing to recognise is how one-sided Twitter is for most people. Most people have fewer followers than the number of people they follow. That is, for most people on Twitter there’s not a massive number of people listening to them, just a (relatively) small circle of friends. I suspect this makes the #sermonhighlights hashtag much closer to the note-taking end than the megaphone end of the spectrum.

    Those followers, however, are interested at least a little in what I’m thinking, in pithy form. So if I’m thinking that a phrase captured Romans X:Y really beautifully, why not make that note on this forum?

    I’ve certainly tweeted through conferences, and occasionally at church, because there’s an idea that was put beautifully that I wanted to remember and have access to. I know enough about the way my brain works that if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it, but there’s a good chance that putting it into words just once will lodge it in my head for the long term. Publishing that more broadly than my personal journal has the benefit of a very small amount of encouragement to those who are following me (I don’t assume too much here!). I don’t write it to engage in conversation; I’m certainly not checking #myCongregationsHashtag during the service. In fact I use an app that allows me to ‘draft’ tweets without seeing the rest of the timeline. I recognise that others use Twitter differently to me, but as it is I find it useful.

  25. Thank you Sandy. 50 comments is a sign of how much this dialogue is needed. What’s the record Tony?

    As it was my response to @SandmanGrant I thought it was about time I joined the party.

    I actually think we’re getting our knickers in a bit of twist about all of this. No one is proposing that we introduce a Q&A style twitter-feed into Sydney Churches – although that would be fun to try at a conference.

    The discussion Sandy and I had was simply about whether a concise tweet was a sign of engagement with the word or a sign of distraction. I stand by my view that an accurate, descriptive sermon tweet (not a critique, conversation or derogatory remark) is more desirable than a doodling pew-dweller who can only remember your intro and the gag you made 12 minutes in.

    As a preacher, my prayer before, during and after my sermon is for the word of God to dwell in my hearers richly, that God’s spirit would convict, encourage and grow people as they hear the voice of the living God addressing them personally. No preacher would want any less for their flock. However, I’m not convinced that a sermon tweet is at odds with that supernatural process. Taking accurate notes and summarising the main point of a sermon, then sending a tweet requires a high level of engagement with the preached word. How many preachers could sum-up their own sermon purpose in 140 characters?

    I also think it’s worth thinking about what’s going on ‘under the bonnet’ as the 23-year-old lawyer tweets a sermon point that powerfully speaks to him. In sending that tweet, he is standing-up for Jesus in front of his hostile lawyer-mates who follow him on twitter. He’s starting a conversation with his colleagues that he’ll continue over beers with the boys from work. He’s sharing the riches that he’s been hearing and it took him 30 seconds. There are many examples of this exact thing happening. We preachers should be massively encouraged by this.

    Sure – he could do it after the sermon, but digital-natives don’t think like that. Sure – others may think it rude to be on your mobile phone, but digital-natives don’t consider it rude and the rest of us need to get over that. Sure – there might be a temptation to check email, but not if if he’s gripped by God’s word preached.

    As I looked around at what people were doing during the sermon this Sunday, I was reminded of how valuable a gripping sermon is. People close their eyes, take old-fashioned notes, knit (since when was sermon knitting acceptable?!), tap notes into their phones or just sit there like at the movies. Whatever they do, it is up to us servants of the word to preach to the audience of one and so grip, surprise and delight our hearers with the richness of God’s revelation. If we do that, what’s a tweet between friends? :)

    @thebiblebasher

  26. Hi everyone, just trying to attempt a bit of a sum up…

    Karen was helpful in pointing out that I had conflated two issues:
    (i) the use of smart phones in general in church, and
    (ii) tweeting during church (and especially during sermons).

    I was a little surprised that I was perceived by some as simply being against (i) the use of phones in church altogether. I carefully mentioned that we can be distracting with old technology like pen and paper and over on twitter, Shane provided an example of a particularly distracting doodle on a church bulletin! And I said you can do good things with phones like follow the Bible, record a task to get it off your mind, and take notes.

    My warning with (i) is to consider the issue of how it impacts on others; is it likely to distract people near you, and Jean added, is it likely to be off-putting to the preacher, although as Sam pointed out in some congregations the preacher knows people enough to copy, and I would add that some preachers are oblivious to body language!

    One other thing that came out from a talk I heard at a Christian business breakfast by Graham Stanton on social media this morning is to beware of how a particular technology exaggerates already existing tendencies. So for example, if you have a tendency to be distractible, the smart phone may well exaggerate it. (Preach it to yourself, brother!)

    (ii) My real issue was tweeting during the sermon. Andy and Sam did a good job of pointing out helpful aspects of tweeting and even suggesting it could be OK during church.

    But the work friends of the 23 y.o. lawyer courageously tweeting the sermon summary to the world are not going to be impressed because they got it the moment it happened instead of two hours later. They are probably only vaguely aware, if at all, what time his church meets. It’s the content that matters there, not the instant timing. And why can’t your Christian friends wait a little bit? (Waiting and patience seem to be Christian virtues!) And if you are taking the tight summary notes of themes or highlights in tweet form primarily for your own edification and future reference (which I understand), again, why not take Hans solution and buffer them, or just use a note taking app?

    So I have seen very little here to persuade me that I should back down from my strong suggestion to wait till church is over before tweeting (or use Hans idea of the buffering software).

    Conclusions (in the absence of some new compelling argument)…
    1. We need to do everything we can to promote that strong sense of sitting under the Word of God when we hear it read and preached.
    2. We should share our responses in a loving way (careful about impact on others).
    3. We should share our responses in an orderly way (waiting till the preacher has finished before we go public), and all the more so, if there is some element of commentary or critique rather than just summary sharing.
    4. We should not rush to judge others for their use of technology in church. There can be lots of good reasons for it.
    5. In particular, some learning styles or personalities can get a lot out of the various apps their smart phones offer.
    6. There is a much better argument that sharing sermon content and reflections after church can have edifying purposes and results with less problematic side effects.

    • The verse that keeps running through my mind is this one: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

      And this: “So whether you tweet or don’t tweet or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

      I hear you loud and clear, Sandy. I also wonder how I can tweet and, at the same time, listen to the next point that the preacher is making! (Perhaps a if I was as proficient with tweets as note-taking…) But I do wonder if us “digital immigrants” really get how “digital natives” think. Is sermon tweeting here to stay? Do sermons have to take a certain form which we are familiar with and can relate to? What about the sermon is essential, and what negotiable? Those are the questions running through my head.

      After all that has been said, perhaps only one thing remains to be said: let all that is done be done in love. Love and respect for the one teaching me from God’s word, both during and after the sermon (remembering that he may read those tweets!); love for those around me, with an awareness of the impact of my example and practices on them, and a commitment to tweet the truth in love; and love for God, with honest self-assessment of my motivations and the impact of certain practices on my long-term godliness. The exact answers will differ from individual to individual and context to context. But I can at least tweet or not tweet in love.

  27. If Tony Payne is right here…

    http://matthiasmedia.com/briefing/1996/02/confessions-of-a-teenage-praise-junkie/

    … perhaps Tweeting is actually a modern form of ‘praise’? (i.e. advertising/broadcasting the truth we have learned about God. Which, as Andy points out, can have an evangelistic edge to it.)

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be ‘live tweeting’. As Sandy suggests, we could wait until after church to tweet our praise. And do it more thoughtfully rather than on the fly.

  28. Pingback: #Preaching: to tweet or not to #tweet « Experiencing Grace

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  30. My two cents (unsure whether this has been rasied in the thread already):

    A note on paper is intended for the listener and is an aid for digestion and memory. A tweet is intended for an audience and so adds another voice which competes for attention with the preacher, especially for those twitter users following in the room. As such the preacher is denied the attenion I think they deserve for that 20, 40 mins or so.

    One might say “but what if tweets are simply summaries of the argument so far? surely that could be useful as an intensifyer of the preacher’s voice”. This reduces preaching to an exchange of information, and I think there is another relational dynamic involved between listener and preacher which is lost when the information is mediated through short grabs on a smart phone.

    Best to tweet afterwards.

  31. As has already been addressed, we are rightly being asked to think before we tweet. The comment about Lloyd Jones highlights that the root of the problem goes beyond the introduction of smartphones. It is not about tweets or other forms of social media, it is about etiquette and praxis.

    Basic principles of commenting on what another has said until they have finished presenting their idea, or even in some cases sentence is just bad manners. It has nothing to do with technology. I confess to having updated my status during a sermon but in most instances it is not a direct response to the sermon, rather a tangent that has been prompted by the sermon,(this is akin to taking a note – only more public) and to not note it down could be a greater distraction. It would not be appropriate to comment directly on what the preacher has said, until s/he has finished saying it.

    Checking emails, writing shopping lists etc. is no different to snoozing, daydreaming or any other of the distractions that have been employed in the past, and quite frankly, rude. The fact that the former examples are more public enables us to also now address the latter.
    The medium should not affect the basic principles, as I cross stitched for my son – ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’.
    Lee

    • But these principles of conversation, turn taking etc, are culturally specific – specific to Anglo English. They are not shared by everyone in this world, nor are they a constant in our culture either. These things can change.

      Could it be that Twitter is changing our communication principles by opening a second parallel channel of conversation, so that while we listen without interrupting the monologuing speaker, we may at the same time dialogue with Twitter? I don’t know.

  32. Thanks to those of you who have commented recently.

    I loved Jean’s use of Gal 5:13 to urge us to use our freedom to serve in love (and not to snare one another with law).

    As a digital immigrant I do not want to be legalistic towards digital natives.

    That said, I am with you, Martin. What you and in different ways, others like Tim Keller earlier have said really clearly is that we must have a sense of the encounter with God as he addresses us in his word through the preacher. It is not just any old two way dialogue.

    Lee, I think courtesy is fundamental here as a principle (rather than a focus only on one medium), and yet Dannii’s comeback is why I went to 1 Corinthians 14 and not just principles of manners which may be culturally variable to some extent.

    Dannii and others, I just want to ask, which part of waiting for the first speaker to finish speaking his prophecy (i.e. bring the word of God in some form) does not cross cultures? And if that direction of orderliness from God’s Word does not cross cultures, why not?

    • Doesn’t 1 Cor 14:30 indicate that if a revelation comes to someone else they are to speak promptly rather than waiting for the current speaker to finish? It’s a bit of a strange verse.

      However, does preaching == prophecy?

      What’s an “encounter with God”, and shouldn’t we aim for that in all interactions between Christians? Where does the Bible privilege preaching over other interactions?

    • Dannii, preaching ≠ prophecy (see http://blog.shields-online.net/?p=152), despite the attempts of some to align the two. So while 1Cor 14:30 has something to say about the behaviour of prophets, I don’t think that applies to the teaching of God’s word (“preaching”). Would Paul have been happy to have been interrupted and told to sit down mid-sermon?

      Furthermore, while some people can multitask better than others, there have been studies that have shown that any multitasking results in the various tasks being performed less effectively and efficiently than were the individual tasks to be performed in isolation.

      • Actually, there are studies that show that multitasking reduces quality and efficiency. See Challies The Next Story page 125.

        • Oops…just realised that was the very point you made!…sorry! Oh well, at least I gave a reference.

  33. I think there are all sorts of interesting puzzles in 1 Corinthians 14. But I think this principle is clear. Once you have established who is talking in the time when one or more people wish to minister to word of God, then the other people should wait.

    (I presume there will be agreed mechanisms known to local congregations by which one person knows when to stop, or may even be appropriately interrupted because time’s up, and another may start.)

    One speaks at a time. Simple.

    • Hi Sandy. Paul makes an explicit exception to the rule you’ve stated when it comes to prophets: “But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent” (1Cor 14:30). One does speak at a time, but the second doesn’t appear to have to wait until the first has finished.

      It is all very strange!

      • I don’t think anyone is saying tweeting equals prophecy. Which makes this tangent perhaps a little – well, tangential. Perhaps no worse for that. But perhaps not highly relevant to tweeting during sermons, except as 1 Cor 14 encourages orderliness, which is the point Sandy made in his post.

  34. Surely someone is having us on. People don’t really twitter and twit and tweet during sermons, do they? If I were a preacher I think I would be a bit upset if I thought my hearers were not fully concentrating on what I was saying and applying it to their own hearts.

  35. Pingback: The Texture of Screens Amidst Communities of Faith: 3 Outstanding Issues with Smartphones in Church | Don't Eat The Fruit

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