More than 200 million people use the social network called Facebook! If Facebook were a nation, it would be the fifth or sixth largest country in the world. Twitter is not nearly as large in number, but this means of networking socially is growing in influence.

Just last summer, some in Iran who took to streets protesting the election results used Twitter to send pictures and messages to the rest of the world. Due to government restrictions, this was about the only way they could connect with the outside world. Perhaps that was a tipping point for Twitter. It has now become more popular in usage.

For Southern Baptists and other evangelicals, Twitter has been used as another way of sharing insights about Scripture, opportunities for ministries and brief news updates. In this sense, I have found Twitter to be helpful.
As an example, Florida pastor Ken Whitten recently sent this tweet to his followers: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That simple statement of philosophy is a good leadership observation. I will quote it over and over again in the future.

I try to use Twitter as a means of focusing my thoughts in a simple form. One of my more recent tweets is an illustration of this kinship with such expressions, “Let passion drive you, and let reason hold the reins.”

However, I will admit, that like other things in life, tweeting can be a distraction. It is just another tool for the work. Utilizing Twitter as a means of connecting and communicating with others is the healthiest way to make use of it in your life and ministry as a Christian leader.

Do I recommend it to others? I do so only with some important caveats. Don’t tweet and drive! That is sheer lunacy! Don’t tweet in the middle of a conversation with someone. To do so is akin to saying, “I am bored with you.”

If you use Twitter on your handheld device, keep it on vibrate so you will not interrupt others in meetings. In fact, I almost always have my BlackBerry on vibrate. I can’t stand the sound of a phone ringing. Those who know me will vouch for the fact that I despise having phones ringing in a meeting of any kind.

Let me recommend an occasional “Twitter fast.” There are times I choose to get away from the whole technological experience of tweeting, communicating by BlackBerry and so forth.

Once learned, tweeting can be done in a brief 30-second period. It does not have to be a time waster. You don’t have to read everything you receive. There is a “delete” key too. You don’t have to be a prolific sender. Like a vitamin, once a day may be more than enough for you.

Well, as you can tell, I don’t know much about the topic, so like Forrest Gump, “That’s all I am going to say about it.”

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]