My grandpa was a minister in the coal-mining hills of Pennsylvania. He has passed, but I still have the little booklet where he tracked every “call” he made to someone’s house.

It went like this: 1) the host serves some lemon-meringue pie, 2) a leisurely conversation followed, 3) the pastor would ask about their spiritual lives, and 4) when he got back to his Chevy he would put a slash in that book I now have. He would track his progress with a list of hash-mark style ticks in a little black book.

Pastors now track their progress through hashtags not hash marks. Beyond the pulpit and pew, a pastor’s primary way of connecting with their congregation is now through social media.

Pastors now track their progress through hashtags not hash marks.

A pastor I know barely used social media before becoming the lead pastor of a mega-church. He spends a good deal of time crafting daily messages and responding to comments, casting a vision for his church’s work into people’s feed. Because of social media, people feel a sense of direct access to this pastor even though they mostly just see him on stage or even via video from another campus.

Another pastor checks her Facebook feed twice a day to find out the needs in her congregation so she can respond appropriately. My grandpa showed up for “pie with the pastor” in part because it was expected. Now, when someone posts about a death in their family they expect the Pastor to show up in the comments too.

[This article was originally posted over at Connect The Church  but seeing as those articles are only up for 24 hours at a time I posted it here for safe-keeping for myself if no one else. Head over to that website to sign up for the emails that remind you when a post is up so you don’t miss the short window when they are available. I won’t be posting all my articles from there over here.]

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