Keith Castleberry, College Station, TX – As with all issues, even in our modern times, we can rely on the principle of the Word of God more than anything else. The mode is not important; proselytizing is proselytizing. Social media has put many churches in a competition to entice others by promoting great events and programs on a continual basis and it is a cycle that many aren’t able to compete in, thus handicapping some churches and frustrating others.
My personal policy is to stay out of another pastor’s business, his field, and his saints’ lives. When a saint from another church does visit, I do my very best to reach out to their pastor as soon as possible. I would rather be overly cautious and careful than to harm someone’s relationship with their pastor.
Ezekiel Johnson, Phoenix, AZ – It’s a short-sided vision to think that you are actually building a church with recruited transfers. A rule of thumb, from a practical standpoint, is that if they leave that church for yours, eventually they will leave yours for another. Church hopping is a habitual cycle for those that never experience significant growth, and to encourage such a pattern reveals the character flaws in a pastor that would act selfishly to encourage that behavior.
Social media provides a means of access to a wide pool of people. Many times, friends and family are connected to others that may see a post you made, which is unavoidable. However, recognizing that someone belongs to a neighboring congregation should kick start ethics that come with the honorable title of pastor.
Andrew Flowers, Southaven, MS – Pastors shouldn’t allow social media to compromise their ethical values; they must be ethical and do the right thing regardless. I don’t converse with people from other churches via social media or other platforms unless I have had a relationship with them for years. Even if interaction occurs, it is only on a very base level of contact. If I am contacted by someone, I don’t engage with anyone that I do not know.
If a person from another church visits us and I know who their pastor is, I notify the pastor by the end of business the next day. Proselyting is always wrong. Make sure you are always ethical in every decision you make. Build the church on new converts; they will love the church they were spiritually born in.
Jeremiah Sibley, Castroville, TX – Unethical pastors will always use whatever tools are available to proselytize. As a general rule, we have a church Facebook page and it has been very helpful in reaching our community (in which there is not another local Apostolic church). We promote all events and services on our page. It is also a very common first contact source with people new to Pentecost who are interested in our church.
Real growth is centered on winning and making disciples of new people to God and Apostolic doctrine. Those who have tried to short-circuit the process by proselyting other people always tend to crash and burn because they end up having to deal with real-life and ministry issues with people that they don’t really have a close pastor/saint relationship with.
Kenneth Noles, Panama City, FL – The temptations are great, especially when it comes to starting and building a church in our communities today. We have become such a numbers-driven society and set our goals on the pastor down the road, and if we don’t reach that goal then we consider ourselves failures. The advice I would give a younger pastor starting a church or trying to build one is, go and find your own people. Another piece of advice is this: you find them, you win them and you grow them. Nothing is more rewarding for a young pastor than to see the ones he has personally won and has discipled.
It is somewhat surprising pastors would use this tool to proselytize members from other congregations, especially when there are so many lost souls out there connected to social media platforms.
Joshua Smith, Marble Falls, TX – I haven’t heard of a specific instance; however, this has been an issue through the years by various methods so with the rise of social media, it doesn’t surprise me that it’s being done.
We have always strived to grow within our harvest field and train/equip our people from within. When there are visitors that come from other churches in our area, we try and alert the pastor of that individual just to give them a heads-up.
It’s prideful to think “our work” is more important than our neighbors. If we learn to equip and train, we won’t have to beg and steal.
Mitchell Bland, Hazelwood, MO – Whatever means is used, the bottom line is the same. Proselyting is unethical and should not be done.
I keep the lines of communication very open with neighboring churches. We are trying to build the Kingdom together, not just a local church. We need each other, and we must work together to win the world.
If there is someone in a church you would like to come help you, contact their pastor before even talking with the person about that possibility. Someone may desperately need help in building a church and it may seem that the perfect fit is just sitting on a pew at another church. It absolutely may be a God thing, but going about it ethically will not change that. Keep lines of communication open between fellow pastors.
Mark Kurtz, Paris, TN – With such a connected world, thanks to social media, it grays many lines that we used to have as black and white. In my opinion, when pastors are ethical in all that they do, this platform should not be any different. The same rules should apply online as they do in public. When operating ethically there should never be an issue, including on social media.
The key here is being men and women of integrity and always acting in an ethical manner. If we could all do this, we’d have no worries of proselyting being present. Be a person of integrity! In all your actions in the church and in the community, act ethically. Finally, have a relationship with your fellow laborers in Christ. Let them know your spirit and let them try your spirit. If they know the heart within, and it’s pure, they will trust your actions as well.