It's no secret to my blog readers how I feel about Christians being on social networking websites. The internet as a whole is an excellent place to evangelize for Jesus. Sure there's a lot of nasty stuff out there...but how well do you really know your neighbors? Just what are those strange smells coming from their back yard?
Okay, I'm joking (I hope), but if followers of Christ don't put Jesus out there...who will? So Sunday, I decided to put my muses to practice and tweet the sermon as it happened. I'm not going to lie to you...this was new territory for our church. We're talking about moving past sermons on DVD that can be edited. This was live thumbing that couldn't be retracted once it was out there.
Too dramatic? Hey, it's my story.
I had the perfect situation taking shape. Mrs. Tony C wasn't at church, so I had open Blackberry access. She won't let me play with my phone in church even to use the, ahem, Bible application I downloaded...That's why the Good Lord had people write it down for you, so use your Bible and not your phone! People think you are playing games and not paying attention! Okay, she's probably right about that...but I don't have to like it.
With no Blackberry block, I could tweet the sermon on Twitter which would then post to my Facebook status. Sweet! Of course it's a closed network unless my friends retweeted or shared, but hey...a work in progress. The excitement was building. Please God, is this a ministry you approve of me conducting? Can you give me a sign!?
Pastor Derek began to speak, my thumbs were at the ready...'Today, I'm going to be talking mainly to the women on what Proverbs tells us about the Virtuous Woman.'
(To myself) Yes! Thank you Lord...I know you want Mrs. Tony C to hear this sermon! If I tweet this message, it will be as if she were actually here! This must be what You want!
Now, I may be teetering on the boundaries of sacrilege here, and I hope you don't think so. I also hope God nor Mrs. Tony C think so either because they're numbers One and two on the Big List of Importance (BLI). I will continue while treading ever so lightly...
So, I begin by tweeting the scripture to be used in the sermon and the title presented by Pastor Derek. By the way, my pastor is a very Godly man and fabulous speaker. He uses the gifted talent he has in service to God. So if I, on the other hand, using my talent...okay useless knowledge...in social media sites can assist in getting his wonderful sermons to a broader audience, isn't that furthering his service to the Lord too? (Okay, maybe I'm still trying to sell you guys on this idea).
As the sermon progressed, I tweeted the outline bullet-style to the cyber-audience. There were a few 'hitches in the get-along' I must admit. Yours truly is sporting some pretty chunky digits, so I had to carefully edit as I typed making sure I didn't fat-finger a whole new meaning to a point I was sending out. That meant I was in a 'head-down' position most of the service, and since I was seated in row two, I'm sure noticed by many. Note to self- when tweeting sermon live...do so from the back row.
Then there was the typical...excuse me, occasional...mind wondering moment when I mentally substituted the word voluptuous for virtuous into the ongoing sermon and chuckled to myself (yes, as accused, I sometimes crack myself up). This wouldn't have been a real problem except for the brief moment I thought I had inadvertently tweeted the wrong word and was in a temporary panic until the tweet actually posted, and I could see the word virtuous. I started paying closer attention at that point. I would have been at a loss trying to explain that one to Mrs. Tony C.
Overall, things went rather smooth though. Several of my Facebook friends in the service asked afterwards what I was doing because their phones vibrated every time I updated. Most of them know better than leave their ringer on in church because I've been know to play Dave Tvedt's game of 'gotcha ringer on?' If you're listed in my Contact List...you're fair game any given Sunday I can catch Mrs. Tony C not watching.
Pastor Derek's a pretty forward looking guy, so when I caught up to him later before the evening service, I told him that I had made church history and how:
Pastor Derek: So you tweeted the service? Who did you tweet too?
Tony C: Well, it went to everyone who follows me on Twitter, and each tweet also updated on my Facebook status.
Pastor Derek: Alright. And what does that mean exactly?
Tony C: As you made points from your outline, I sent those bullet points out as tweets. I know you're not big on Twitter (see his Heavy D Blog post).
Pastor Derek: No, that's cool.
As you can see from the lack of activity on the blog I encouraged him to start, he's a forward thinker alright...he's just still living in the Reagan Administration. Did I mention he's a fabulous speaker and trendy dresser?