The pastor lives under a divine charge to preach the word. He does not have the right to proclaim his own message. He is a herald assigned to declare the message of the King.
Every pastor has multiple responsibilities. But the pastor’s primary, central, and definitive function is to preach the word of God. A faithful pastor will not compromise the centrality of the pulpit.
It is my desire and determination to be a faithful pastor. Therefore, I strive to guard the dignity of the pulpit that has been entrusted to me. How I live, study, and preach are shaped by the fact that I stand in the pulpit as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a high privilege and a heavy responsibility.
As a local pastor who also travels to preach in other churches, this sacred calling is doubly impressed upon me. A pastor’s stewardship of his pulpit extends to others he invites to preach to his congregation. When a pastor invites another pastor to preach at his church, it is never a light matter. There are huge spiritual implications involved.
When I stand in the pulpit – be it in the pulpit where I serve as pastor or as the guest speaker in another church – I must speak as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. I have one responsibility, which is to be faithful.
Lately, I have been thinking much about how this stewardship from God applies to another “pulpit” where I often speak. Social media.
I use various social media platforms. Sometimes I share personal moments and memories. Most often, I share quotes, articles, and resources that I find helpful.
Every now and then, I wade into the waters of controversy on social media to share my perspective on some current event, biblical point, or public debate. But I am growing increasingly hesitant about what I say in this personal but public “pulpit.”
There are complex and critical things that need to be said that cannot be effectively communicated in 140 characters. And there are layered conversations that cannot be fully or fairly discussed in the comment section of a social media post.
Ultimately, I am my biggest problem when it comes to social media. I would not dare go to the pulpit where I pastor to speak without prayer and preparation. But the accessibility of my social media “pulpit” permits (maybe, encourages) me to speak out on an issue without forethought about what I say, how I speak, or the consequences of my words.
I am tempted to erect a false dichotomy, where I recognize that the pulpit at my church is the Lord’s, but the “pulpit” on my smartphone is mine to use at my discretion. But this is not the case. I will have to give account for every careless word I say from the pulpit and on social media.
I dread the possibility of standing in the pulpit and saying something that misrepresents the name, truth, gospel, mission, or authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord give me that same sense of holy dread as I speak from my social media “pulpit.”