A Pastor’s Guide To Twitter

Twitter AwardsWhen I signed up for Twitter a few years back I had pretty low expectations. I never imagined that this social network tool could be meaningfully used to convey biblical truth to those seeking to learn and be edified. I began using Twitter in order to send information (“tweet”), but now find that my primary use of Twitter is to receive information/inspiration (by “following” others).

I realize that Twitter has developed a helpful “Who To Follow” mechanism, but just in case you want a little extra help in choosing who to “follow”, I have developed my own “Twitter Awards” commending particular “Tweeters” for your edification (and for my own amusement). The awards below are not the result of any objective assessment, but rather are rooted in my profound bias.

The list of people I “follow”, between my two Twitter accounts (bryn31 and Nassau_Kirk), is quite small. Accordingly, I would love to hear your recommendations, which could possibly lead to a sequel awards presentation in 2012.

Category: Best Reformed Tweeter
Winner: Ligonier (5,914 tweets / 17, 988 followers)
Runner-up: DesiringGod (4,232 tweets / 64,939 followers)
Ligonier Ministries, founded by R.C. Sproul, has a great balance of edifying quotes, ministry updates, resource recommends and helpful retweets. Desiring God Ministries is equally adept at using Twitter, but I give Ligonier the edge for their more intentional promotion of Reformed Theology.

Category: Best Tweeting Preacher
Winner: RickWarren (4,190 tweets / 434,734 followers)
Runner-up: JohnPiper (2,831 tweets / 212,415 followers)
Keep in mind that the award is not “Best Preacher Tweeting”, but “Best Tweeting Preacher”. My two favourite preachers, Alistair Begg and Francis Chan, are not Tweeters. Warren uses Twitter in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes he’ll tweet about items/people he is praying for. On other occasions you’ll see him encouraging other pastors. Warren won’t be winning my “Most Retweetable Preacher” award, but there are times when he will offer up a 140 character gem.

Category: Most Retweetable (Quotable) Preacher
Winner: DailyKeller (530 tweets / 47,833 followers)
Runner-up: MaxLucado (2,822 tweets / 286,490 followers)
Max Lucado has a much larger tweet database and a more extensive following, but I give Tim Keller the edge based on the percentage of his tweets which I retweet. Virtually everything Keller tweets is gold. If we could convince Keller to become a “tweetaholic” the Christian community would be even better served.
Keller tweet: “The heart of the gospel is the cross, and the cross is all about giving up power, pouring out resources, and serving.”
Lucado tweet: “You have not been sprinkled with forgiveness. You have not been spattered with grace. You are submerged in mercy. Let it change you!”

Category: Tweetaholic Preacher
Winner: EdStetzer (14,739 tweets)
Runner-ups: cnieuwhof (8,986 tweets) & PerryNoble (8,626 tweets)
We’ve known for thousands of years that preachers like to talk, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find that preachers also like to tweet. I do not mean for this award to be a slight—I follow these guys for a reason–they’re smart, gifted, godly pastors. Ed Stetzer was the keynote speaker at my denomination’s General Assembly in June 2011. Carey Nieuwhof is a friend and colleague from the years we served together in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. But, like I said, we preachers like to talk. These guys are tweet machines!

Category: Up-and-coming Tweeter
Winner: ihelpyouthrive
I told you I was biased! This is my wife’s professional Twitter account. She is an accredited Marriage & Family Therapist (AAMFT) and I happen to think she is a perfect combination of clever and funny. 27 tweets isn’t much, but to use a sports term, she’s a tweeting “prospect”.

Category: Best Toronto Blue Jays Tweeter
Winner: jparencibia9 (2,054 tweets / 49,224 followers)
I can’t be serious all the time! I also follow the athletes from my favourite sports teams. J.P. Arencibia is a young, power-hitting, catcher, who is also a Twitter stand-out.

Category: Best Toronto Maple Leafs Tweeter
Winner: armdog (1,338 tweets / 60,416 followers)
Colby Armstrong is tough as nails on the ice, but on Twitter we see a sophisticated sense of humour.

Category: Best Comic Tweeter
Winner: JimGaffigan (1,871 tweets / 747,404)
Admittedly, Gaffigan does use some edgy religious content in his jokes (mostly to do with bacon)—but to be fair, he also admits to using edgy ketchup jokes.
Gaffigan tweet: “I like swimming with a sun shirt. People always look at me like I fell in the pool.”

Hope you enjoyed these recommends. Like I said, would love to hear your recommends—besides friends, I tend to “follow” Christian pastors/authors, professional athletes, and people who make me laugh.

7 thoughts on “A Pastor’s Guide To Twitter

  1. Even though you don’t list @passionatelyhis in your list… :) . I can recommend some others:

    @catalyst
    @tonymorganlive
    @pastormark
    @tyndaleucs

    Just to name a few. I also particularly like @shipoffools and @jesusneversaid for humour, and @virtualabbey for electronically-inspired daily office prayers.

    • Thanks Jeff! I will be sure to check those out. Perhaps I should have has a category for Canadian content on Twitter–you’d be at the top of that!

  2. Ed,
    You were seriously fantastic at our 2011 General Assembly conference. Just finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, “Transformational Church”. Retweet away–after all, you’re the Tweetaholic Award winner!

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