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Social Media Changes Everything….

By September 7, 2012Church, Culture

Okay, maybe not everything, but certainly many things.

The rules of the game are changing…

Thanks to social media.

As you may know, I recently transitioned from one church to another. The new church is more established. They have had 104 years to establish their systems and procedures. When it came to hiring a pastor…they had a predetermined system of how that was to be done.

The problem for me was when to alert my church of the possibility of a change. If I told them too early, and didn’t go, it could cripple my leadership. If I told them too late, or after they heard the news on the streets, I could injure people we love.

I was wise enough to discern that with social media, the chances of holding this information were almost impossible. I knew that as soon as either church knew the world would know.

The search team was awesome. They were willing to work with us as much as they could, but still, there was a scripted way the hiring of a new pastor is to occur.

I wanted to honor their structure, but more importantly, I didn’t want to hurt the church plant I love. It appeared the best thing for me to do was to resign my position at Grace before it was official that I was the new pastor of Immanuel.

As it turned out, when I did announce to Grace that I was leaving, it was on Facebook before the end of the first service.

Also, which couldn’t have been avoided either way, someone from Grace was sitting in the audience of Immanuel the Sunday I was announced there. They texted someone at Grace just before I made my announcement. It really is a small world and was a reminder how fast news can travel these days.

As I said, social media (and technology) changes everything.

It was a definite signal to me that we must rethink some of our rules and procedures when it comes to hiring staff members at our churches. Some of the bylaws we have in place, that script the way a person is hired, must be changed to compensate for the speed that information travels these days.

It was okay in my situation. God worked it for good and both churches were protected. I’m not sure it would work that well for everyone. I don’t have the answers, but I’m confident there must be better ways.

One thing I did initiate at Grace, before my departure, was a change in the bylaws that simply allows the elders in leadership at the time to script the way the search and approval process for a new pastor is handled. It could be that it’s unique to every new pastor, or at least that it’s unique to each time a pastor is hired.

Here at Immanuel I’ve asked the search team that worked with me to evaluate the system of calling a pastor. What changes are needed…in light of the changes in the way things are done now…in light of social media.

What do you think? How else is social media and technology changing ministry?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Ron! I agree with you. Social media has changed the way we live our lives. In fact, in recent months in my country, due to some miscreants spilling out hate messages against the north east people, there was a huge exodus of north east people from all parts of my country to their region. This created great civil unrest here. I believe that social media is similar to an untamed animal. Unless we use it wisely, it is sure to backfire us.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Amen. Agreed Uma

      • Sumit Sharma says:

        I ma agree with you above mention point s but Social media have dark side also. We know its very well how our children and what they are doing on social media. Girls,women, boys and men everyone doing wrong job on social media. We have to take care of all these aspects also other wise social media can spoil our life.

  • Kathryn says:

    Here on the left coast we are told that change happens and that trend drifte Eastward over the years. I don't know that. But if that is the case then perhaps treading lightly makes sense because out here some of the popular social media tools are becoming last decade toys. personally I am bored with facebook and stopped the tweat. Sitting through an hour with some authority figure being guided by the spirit is uplifting to me and lets me make it through another week. I have no idea why when I read on of the comments about sitting in a circle brought up thoughts of the tower of babel. I don't know why I think these things and I am not old yet. But I have repented from yesterday and will not fire anyone else without providing some bridge salary unless they are especially mean. Love your blog. Planning a trip to that area in the next few months.

  • I do believe social media will have a radical impact on church, but not just in the ways you’re describing.

    We live in a time when anyone, anywhere, has the opportunity to be heard and to contribute. People are getting used to participating, not passively listening to those in authority. And yet, churches still seat people in rows and speak at them. 99% of the church body sit silently while one person carries the weight and responsibility for the whol community.

    Social media changes the way we see ourselves, the way we connect and interact. It is shaping our wider society at every level – in schools, businesses and governments.

    I am blogging about these topics at One of my posts is called “How social media will change the way we do church”, and you can find it at this link:

    Thanks for your blog,


  • Steph says:

    I'm currently on the committee to help our church revise our bylaws (well, more like create them but that's a different story). I'll definitely be adding the social media aspect to our considerations.