Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

3 Social Media Filters

Have you ever tweeted something you ended up regretting? Yeah, me too.

Just this past Wednesday night in a moment of frustration I vented via Twitter. By God's grace, my wife saw it within five minutes and graciously corrected both my attitude and my behavior and I quickly pulled the tweet down.

Paul is nothing if not clear in Ephesians 4:29 when he writes, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." If you're wondering, I looked up what "no" means in Greek and it turns out it means...wait for it..."no." Not one word is to fall from my mouth that does not breathe grace and truth into the people listening.

This even applies to Twitter. While I don't always get this right here are the three questions I'm trying to ask myself prior to each tweet...

1. Is this HELPFUL? 

You know what's rarely helpful? Twitter criticism. I don't want to get caught up in every online controversy regarding what one blogger said about another blogger they've never met, or criticize a pastor I don't know, based on a 2 minute soundbite I heard out of context. That's not to say we shouldn't hold people accountable. We should however seek clarification prior to criticism. We should think twice before using a social media platform that only allows 140 character posts, as our choice of medium to critique and criticize.

2. Is this EDIFYING? 

If it doesn't build up, encourage, or instruct I need to refrain from writing it. I don't want to complain. I don't want to tear down. I don't whine via Twitter. James wrote, "And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness" (James 3:6). If we're not careful we could set blaze to the souls of our listeners through something as simple as a tweet.

3. Is this IMPORTANT?

We all know that much of social media is filled with pointless drivel that adds virtually no value to anyone. I don't think anyone following me on Twitter is waiting anxiously by their feed to find out what I'm eating for lunch, or hoping to see a picture of me posing with some contorted look on my face like I just took a bite out of a lemon. If it's not important, it need not be tweeted.

While I can't tame my tongue, or tweets for that matter, Christ can. These questions drive me to the throne of grace where I find true transformation of the heart from which my tweets flow. Is it helpful? Is it edifying? Is it important? If we ask these questions we can even tweet in a way that "gives grace to those who hear."

Preparing to Proclaim

5 Church Planting Challenges