How should church leaders respond to breaking news?
Tuesday morning, a media fire hydrant exploded as news about Planned Parenthood's medical services program flooded social media.
Twitter just about got broke.
Facebook banned posts.
Google+...wait, that's not a thing anymore, is it?
As I waded through my social media feed, I noticed a few things.
A lot of church leaders felt like they needed to say something about this story.
Very few of them brought unique perspective to the conversation.
And in the process made it more difficult for important things to be heard through all the noise.
There has to be a better way for those of us who lead churches to respond to breaking news.
How about this?
7 Ways Church Leaders Respond to Breaking News
1. Avoid hot takes
You don't win points for saying something first.
And you definitely don't win points by spouting off like Skip Bayless.
2. Ask questions
Who is involved?
How do I know what I'm looking at is true?
Why does it matter?
3. Learn from verifiable sources
Be skeptical of any single source.
But don't be cynical.
Nobody likes that guy.
Find source material.
Consider the context.
Understand all sides of a situation and argument.
Church leaders are not Jedi.
We are not all-knowing.
We're not very wise.
But we are in communion with One who is wisdom (Colossians 2:3)
So ask for help.
Ask for wisdom and direction and helpful thoughts and healthy feelings.
5. Clarify your thoughts
Take 30 minutes and respond to what you have seen or heard.
Take a walk and have a conversation with someone.
6. Put up or shut up
Once you can articulate your perspective on the situation, decide whether you should say something or not.
And here's my suggestion - if you can't add something unique to the conversation, then sit this one out.
Because all you're doing is making noise and muddying the waters.
I took an hour on Tuesday night to scroll through my social media feeds.
I counted up the number of posts I had on Planned Parenthood.
I then tallied the number of unique perspectives I came across on the issue from church leaders.
Turns out, about 8 out of 10 church leaders added nothing but noise.
But if you have something to say...
7. Broadcast your message
Prioritize and tailor your message to the people you lead in the church.
Then take it public if you believe you have a message that needs to be heard outside of your church.
Post on your blog.
Talk about it on your podcast.
Send it out through social media.
Look for opportunities to turn your message into a conversation.
How do you decide whether or not to say something about breaking news?