Emilio rises at 6:00 am to the smell of coffee. He moves his head carefully, until he is sure that the migraine from yesterday is gone. It is. He’s grateful.
He doesn’t get those headaches often. They seem to show up when he is particularly active off-line AND on-line AND is facing a major vulnerability deadline.
That doesn’t mean what it sounds like. It’s just that Emilio is committed to openness in his preaching and teaching and talking–in whatever venue.
- When he is talking with people face-to-face, listening, holding hands, praying, looking for answers to really difficult questions, it takes energy to be fully present.
- When he is talking with people keyboard to keyboard, “listening” to a dozen people at the same time, following threads of conversation, maintaining an active presence on facebook and twitter and his blog and other people’s blogs, it takes energy to be fully present.
- When he is teaching, looking into the Bible, into his own life, into other writers, it takes energy and concentration to be fully present, particularly as the speaking deadline approaches.
For any given hour of time, those threads are mutually exclusive. As a result, in a week when all three are pressing, the day seems to run from 6:00am to 12:00pm.
Today, Emilio is thinking about “the rise of social media pastors.” It showed up in his RSS from a great blog exploring digital issues in ministry (digital @ leadership network). What’s interesting is the idea of having one’s primary responsibility being in one of those three threads, working particularly in social media.
He has wondered often about whether he is a social media pastor, or a pastor using social media.
There have been lots of modifiers of pastor. Senior, associate, worship, youth, executive, children. In each case, if the idea of pastor as shepherd/guide/care-giver is the emphasis, you can do a thought experiment.
- A senior shepherd could be the shepherd for senior citizens or the senior-most of the shepherds.
- A worship pastor is the shepherd of worship, guiding people in that context.
- Children or youth? Those seem pretty clear.
- An executive shepherd…hmm. That’s a challenge. Is the person a shepherd first or an executive first? Is the person about people or about structures?
And then, and then the experiment turns to social media. A pastor that uses social media probably has always been using social media. Emilio laughed as he thought that. He realized that sitting in the hospital room last week talking with his friends, he had been using the old social media of touch and eye contact and vocal inflection. Sitting the restaurant, he had been using a napkin and pen, stories, questions. That night, he’d been using new social media in gchat.
But, he wondered, what is a social media pastor the pastor of?
He needed help with that one. Otherwise, he was pretty sure the headache was going to be back.
For more about Emilio: