A couple of weeks ago Bonnie Rochman at Time.com wrote a very interesting article Twittering in Church, with the Pastor’s O.K.

First, I don’t have a problem with Twitter. However, I’m fairly sure that during a church service is not the place and furthermore during prayer is definitely not. Which makes me very worried when I read, “At Next Level Church, outside Charlotte, N.C., it’s not only O.K. to fuse social-networking technology with prayer; it’s desirable.” Corporate prayer is an excellent body-unifying practice that should be held often; yet tweeting about ones prayers in order to achieve a feel-good-spiritual-high is exactly what the enemy wants. Take this insightful thought from E.M. Bounds:

“The process of hindering prayer by crowding it out is simple and goes in stages, one after the other. First, one hurries through prayer. Unrest and agitation, which are fatal to all devout exercises, come in. Then the time one spends on prayer is shortened, while one’s inclination for the exercise dwindles. Then prayer is crowded into a corner and depends on fragments of time for its exercise. Its value depreciates. By this point, the duty has lost its importance. It no longer commands respect or brings any benefit. It has fallen out of esteem, out of the heart, out of the habits, out of the life. When one ceases to pray, he ceases to live spiritually.”

The crowding out of prayer is now happening in church! As nice as it sounds to display people’s 140 character prayers before the congregation, prayer should be for prayer. Tweeting ones prayers even for the supposed benefit of others only devalues prayer. Instead of focusing ones heart on God, small hurried thoughts are instead placed before Him: 1) Pray about something; 2) Twitter it; 3) read others tweets; then 4) repeat. This minimizing of prayer is a disgrace to the Christian faith. True devotion is what is needed.

Second, Rochman notes, “If worship is about creating community, Twitter is an undeniably useful tool.” I’d agree if worship was really about creating a community, but it isn’t. Missions and evangelization creates the community; worship edifies and solidifies it. Should I be surprised that the news media confuses the two? Not really. But shouldn’t a pastor understand? I find it quite sad that someone whose job it is to shepherd the people of God chooses to succumb to the culture around them. I’m not saying that the church should be anti-culture. But claiming that the church must engage the broader culture in-order to be relevant completely misses the truth behind the Gospel itself. The Gospel is relevant for all and to all regardless of culture or time. Until these churches realize that, it doesn’t matter what they do in their services. Twitter in church might be the next great fad, but it doesn’t win souls and it definitely doesn’t prepare her members to engage the surrounding culture with truth.