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OPINION

5 Twitter tips for pastors

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Read our overview story, "Via Twitter, pastors connect with members, each other," at http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38535

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Whether pastors use Twitter to teach, preach or reach out to fellow pastors or Christian organizations, tweeting can prove helpful for their ministry.

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Here are some tips for pastors ready to venture into the Twittersphere:

1. Use a Twitter client to schedule posts. Micah Fries, lead pastor at Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Mo., suggested either HootSuite or TweetDeck.

2. Be a human on Twitter. Since the website is a social network, pastors would do well to connect with their followers by posting personal updates as well as Scripture and encouraging thoughts. Fries said his Twitter feed mirrors his everyday life.

"The problem is that the majority of people on Twitter don't see it as a professional application," he said. "It's a personal application, and I think if you use it exclusively as a professional application you kind of, if you're not careful, can create this idea that you have your professional life and your personal life."

3. Don't just regurgitate quotes. Similar to the previous tip, Bart Barber, pastor at First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, said people want to connect with their pastor and see what he is passionate about, not just hear his thoughts on Scripture.

"You can re-Tweet quotes from Spurgeon all day long, and that's just not likely to really grab people," he said.

4. Link to a blog. For pastors like Barber who have thoughts on issues that go beyond the 140-character limit, Twitter can act as a portal to those more detailed explanations. Just copy the link with a snappy sentence explaining what the post is about and Tweet it.

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5. Limit your time on Twitter. Social media should not take priority over the people you spend every day with, so take steps to end some of the incoming notifications.

"My phone is constantly going off with Twitter updates," Driggers said. "So probably somewhat at times could be a distraction from other things going on as I'm reading the updates."

Driggers said to ensure he spends time with his family, he turns off those constant notifications on his cell phone from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day. That way he can spend his nights and early mornings free from interruption.

Whitney Jones is a writer with Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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