There's a problem with this before it even gets started. I want to run something by folks who have a bit of standing and notoriety in the Evangelical Christian world. What's the problem? I don't really know anyone like that, so they'll never see this. I guess I'm just putting it in the wind, and maybe some lesser known folks might find some benefit.
What's so important that it merits a post whose target audience will never see it? I would like to encourage or maybe humbly challenge or just remind those with a little evangelical clout that what they say/post/publish does not affect just them. Of course, this is obvious. Isn't that what comes with having a platform? More people hear you; more followers appreciate what you say; more folks disagree. You get to deal with the accolades and the acrimony.
But there is another sort of effect that you will never have to deal with, but I will. I'm thinking of the impact of what you say on thousands of small churches in thousands of small towns and cities across the country. You write something with the potential to be controversial, and all of a sudden Paul in the pew wants to know what his pastor thinks about the latest kerfuffle you stirred up. And now the pastor of First Church of Nowheresville who had nothing to do with the kerfuffle and, in his small ministry, had little or no reason to address it, now has to address it.
He didn't write the post. He didn't stir up the controversy. You did. But now he has to deal with it. And maybe you just opened up a potential rift in that church that would not be there without your post. It's not hard, for example, to think of examples of big evangelical leaders dropping diametrically opposed dogmatic statements about a given issue. And people in the pews of that little church who were previously fairly content to keep their opinion to themselves are now validated by a well-known preacher. And now they are slightly less content with or perhaps a little more hostile toward their own lesser-known pastor (or fellow congregants) whose take is different than theirs.
What's the point? With great platform comes great responsibility (or something like that). You have a stewardship of being known. Sometimes hard things need to be said by a voice that will be heard by many. Sometimes controversial things need to be published from a broader platform. But sometimes they don't. Some of the challenge of your stewardship is knowing when and what to say and when and what NOT to say. So this is a simple plea. Before you click publish, consider what difficulties your words might cause. Not only online or in your own bigger congregation (think about that too, of course!). But think also of the impact and challenges and division your words might create that you will never have to see or deal with. The small town pastor of the small church in that town thanks you.
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