Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Advice to Church Leaders on "Watchdog Bloggers"

The blogger "Tall Skinny Kiwi" posted an article called "10 Ways to Stop Watchdoggers from Barking".

The Tall and Skinny one makes a reference to the FBC Jax Watchdog case, and then offers the following 10 tips to Christian leaders who might have a "watchdog blogger":

What to do when the watchdoggers are nipping at your heels? Here are 10 ways to deal with them:

1. Don't be a jerk in the first place!

2. Be honest and live a holy life. Secrets get shouted from rooftops.

3. Build your own social media platform and keep friends close to you.

4. Take your online profile seriously. High Google ranking will enable you to tell your own story. [See my blogging tips]

5. If you are too busy to maintain a social media presence then have someone close to you do it on our behalf. John MacArthur (who actually has an untainted reputation and almost non-existant fallout online) has Phil Johnson. John Piper has Justin Taylor who handled the recent "Warrengate" issue. Who do you have?

6. If you fly around in a jet then you should be the first person to tell your church that you fly around in a jet.

7. Educate your watchdogging critics on private email. Don't belittle them publicly. Love them and befriend them as early as you can.

8. Own up to your faults. God might be using the watchdoggers to purify you.

9. Don't get paranoid. You don't have time to track everything that is being said about you and it will be a real bummer to read it anyway.

10. Ask God for mercy because we are all jerks sometimes.

[the above, including the embedded links, is reprinted from the Tall Skinny Kiwi]

Not bad advice. In the comments section of the above article I offered tip #11.

Those of you that have followed the SBC blogosphere over the past several years...what advice would YOU give to a Christian leader who is the topic on blogs?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you asked this. Since I have been reading your blog for a while I have asked myself the same question although I am not a mega church pastor or high profile. I agee with Number 2. As far as Number 1 goes, no matter how gracious you are, people in leadership will always be judged according to perceptions. Beyond that, ignore what is said. Don't be flattered by praise or flattened by criticism. I try to live by the axiom, what I can't control, I can't let dog me. No pun intended.

Anonymous said...

This is really good advice.

Louis

Anonymous said...

This is very valuable information that should be followed. My belief is if the church leaders would "listen" more rather than "tell" more they mightjust learn something from the members. A select minority is most often wrong on church matters and their egos get in the way of what is really important. Then they wonder why no one believes them or follows them anymore.

Anonymous said...

"5. If you are too busy to maintain a social media presence then have someone close to you do it on our behalf. John MacArthur (who actually has an untainted reputation and almost non-existant fallout online) has Phil Johnson. John Piper has Justin Taylor who handled the recent "Warrengate" issue. Who do you have?
"

This is pragmatism at it's worst. This is like having a ringer and can backfire. As it did with Warrengate. It is also dishonest and reeks of PR spin.

I have never thought that Phil Johnson speaks for McArthur. He is an employee of his. The pyro guys are arrogant and childish. And of course, never wrong.

McArthur has built up quite a dynasty. And his teaching on women is ridiculous. He even teaches that Adam was NOT there when Eve took the fruit and ate it. He also teaches that his own wife would not answer a doctrinal question from a man because that would be sinful. I certainly hope folks are being Bereans when they listen to McArthur.

Last thought: If church leaders are unhappy with what is on blogs then they can stop trying to be celebrities.

Anonymous said...

I would say if Mac Brunson, would do what he preaches he should take the first step and immediately stop banning people from the property of First Baptist Church.

He is a bully preacher that has forced people to leave because of his personal behavior - the very reason critics blog about him.

Members do not like "innocent" people banned from entering the doors of their church. There has been no visual change in him - he needs to man up, stop listening to Judge Soud and take the first step in restoring any kind of respect for him as a preacher.

Brunson has not shown Jacksonville that he is the "loving" preacher he portrays himself! My advice would be, if you want the critics to stop blogging then personally do what you know you should do. Stop banning people from a church that belongs to the "people" and not to you.

Anonymous said...

This is the best advice I have seen in five years! Thank you.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I agree with anon 9:59 a.m. I wondered why, in the middle of a pretty solid list of guidelines, there would be one about maintaining a "social media presence." Why is a "social media presence" necessary to maintain a ministry? What did we do before the advent of Facebook? Much of the stuff on Facebook and other "social networking sites" is pure drivel anyway. And a place for the sheeple to fawn over the "celebrity" minister. All I can imagine is that it makes them think they're closer to the pastor when the truth is he wouldn't give them the time of day otherwise.

See Steve Gaines' Facebook page for a good example of this. It's publicly visible. There's an interesting tie (w/ photos) to Tim Tebow on there, too. I don't know how to do a direct link to someone's Facebook page, but there's a link to it at the bottom of this page.

Anonymous said...

Come now, Anon 9:59 and BBC,

Don't you know these folks are 'brands' and the brand image must be managed properly.

Even the 'tall skinny kiwi' is a known brand within the social media.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Oops. Thanks for reminding me of that, anon 3:00 p.m. How could I forget about "the brand"?

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that mega preachers answer any and all questions which would resolve any and all controversy. Unfortuantely, they won't put anything in writing even when firing their staff as they allow someone else to do it so that their hands are always clean!!! They seem to learn this in business school and carry it forward into their ministry.

But, in the blogosphere things do get outed so to all I would say beware. Once one of your feet gets into the tar bucket your other foot will join. Its obviously pretty lonely being always right in a matter, especially when you know differently. Sleep comes harder and memories have a way of staying closer to you every day.

Anonymous said...

Why does this keep pulling up a Lindsey Lohan spanish blog?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Why does what keep pulling up a Lindsey Lohan spanish blog?

Thy Peace said...

A good possibility is your computer might be infected. Most likely a browser hijacking.

When I connect to Watchdog's or Wade's blogs, I am able to connect well.

Anonymous said...

They seem to learn this in business school and carry it forward into their ministry.
___________________________________

This is part of the problem. There was no "business school." Thes guys usually major in psychology or history, then go to "seminary" and take Baptist History, and Prayer and Evangelism, and greek and systemic theology, and then write some worthless thesis and get called "doctor." They have no business sense and no clue as to how to run a business. When they need money, they don't make business decisions, they just tell the people to give more. Simple enough. And those business men in the congregation, they check their wisdom at the door because they are following "God's man" and doing whatever God's man tells them God said to do.

Anonymous said...

Never say anything that could be considered as slander. For example, if you believe in the tithe...you don't say that those that oppose your view as doing the work of Satan. Always hold a position as possibly being wrong on point that is very weakly supported by Scripture.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I actually heard a preacher on TV today (local Presbyterian preacher who's usually pretty theologically sound) refer to the thousands of people in the city who do not attend church as potential "customers."

**cough**

Anonymous said...

Hey , WatchDog, how long are you going to keep the story of some rich Mega Preacher being stuck in Germany with some of his wealthy followers?

Pray that they don't suffer the same "angst" as other travelers are having.

What's this all about?

Anonymous said...

Tracking the Cancellations

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/15/world/europe/airport-closings-graphic.html?ref=europe

Anonymous said...

April 18: 9:10PM: "Business School": Maybe this is why so many preacher wives are in charge of the money. They know how much they want and how to get it.

As to so many getting the Dr. degree before their name. So many of these "Dr." this and that are HONORARY degrees, not earned degrees in the first place. They bestow the "Dr." this and that on each other and boy do they use it. It looks good on the mail. At least the postman may be impressed. Plus they get to charge more for the books and preaching gigs.

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to wish the Watchdog a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday Dog.

Anonymous said...

I believe that evangelicals, in general, have for years tried to imitate a poor behavior pattern. That pattern includes becoming popular. In most cases, the name of Jesus is secondary to the "sermons" and actions of the evangelist. This is clearly wrong. These evangelists have forgotten that God is invisible, and that he chooses those to who he reveals himself. This is a very intimate God as we are reminded of the intimacy of the word "knew" in the reformation Bibles. This word is mostly used in reference to intimacy. "Adam knew Eve" “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Today’s evangelists seem all to have a great reputation with the whole world, and they seem to glory in having that reputation. In contrast, the early Christian evangelists were put into prison or killed. They were known by some Christians, but even Paul was checked by the Bereans. Today they occupy television broadcasts, and are in great demand as speakers for various largely attended conferences. They are world travelers, and they often associate with the world’s men of great renown. They “brag” about their public relationships with politicians, etc.
The real evangelists are Christians who are KNOWN by Jesus Christ. When people walk away from them, they think first about Jesus. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
I say to all those who want reputations, please forsake that desire. Instead, desire to remain unknown so that Jesus will be always be the person people remember. I repeat to Christians just as a reminder what Jesus said long ago, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
J

Anonymous said...

Reeks of PR ?
I would much rather deal with a Pastor that has an ongoing PR program than one that is raping the congregration financially or otherwise on an ongoing basis.

Anonymous said...

I would add this bit of advice. Don't ignore anonymous emails if they are obviously from a church member who has been watching things very closely for several months, are focused on your own financial abuses and nepotism, and seek merely to have some questions and concerns addressed. Try and respectfully and lovingly dialogue with that guy so he doesn't start a blog that ultimately gets national readership when you try to find out who he is to shut him down. And whatever you do, once you do find out who he is, go to him in accordance with Matthew 18. Do NOT involve his wife and family and under no circumstances should you sit down with a newspaper reporter who is doing an expose on your involving the SAO and JSO, and call the man an unstable sociopath.

Thy Peace said...

I offer a simple advice.

Being a Christian requires each one to bear one another's burdens. So any leader who is supposed to be a Christian, should bear even opponents who question them, bear their burdens.

In short, any Christian should care for a brother or sister in Christ's souls.

And the sheep's souls are more important than what one make in salary, benefits, perks of being a leader or once own image in the eyes of others.

Christianity is very simple. It is the following of it that is hard or difficult. But not so much difficult, when once eyes are on Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Reeks of PR ?
I would much rather deal with a Pastor that has an ongoing PR program than one that is raping the congregration financially or otherwise on an ongoing basis.

April 19, 2010 12:51 PM

They are not usually exclusive of one another. The PR program keeps you blinded while they pillage.

Anonymous said...

http://christianresearchnetwork.com/?p=15979

Christian Research Net weighs in on the tall skinny kiwi post.

Now, I remember where I heard of this guy...he used to be part of the 'emergent crowd' but claims to have moved on since. (The question is, moved on to what?)

Anonymous said...

Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"


Many of those who comment do not hear his voice. Nor do many preachers.


SBC people do seem to enjoy fighting. Both parties cannot claim to hold the truth at the same time. One party may be right. OR maybe both parties are wrong.


Just who, really, is Ergun Caner in the Kingdom of God?

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > Selling Satan: The Tragic Story of Christian Evangelist Mike Warnke and Why It Is Worth Remembering.

Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > When Men Begin to Make Monkeys of Themselves.

Of course, the post at Baptist Life Forums Burleson gets threatened..., is the most viewed post and the nasty comments are still going on ... (TimR2 is Tim Rogers of SBC Today fame)

Anonymous said...

Now we know why Tim Rogers and the other Patterson clones are falling on their swords to defend Caner:

From Baptist life forums:

Caner is where he is because of the promotion of Paige Patterson while he was at SEBTS. I'm not certain how to assess his Muslim credentials, but certainly his educational ones are all from Christian schools which puzzles me a bit if his father was a devout Muslim. He (and his brother) were brought to SEBTS as a counterweight and replacement for Dr. George Braswell (one of the non-signers of the BFM2K) whom Patterson could not require to sign the document because they had signed the appropriate seminary documents when hired. I suspect that if someone wants to do an authoritative article on this, they need to start by interviewing Dr. Braswell (now at Campbell Divinity School).

andrew (tsk) said...

anonymous said: Christian Research Net weighs in on the tall skinny kiwi post.

Now, I remember where I heard of this guy...he used to be part of the 'emergent crowd' but claims to have moved on since. (The question is, moved on to what?)

hello. let me introduce myself. i am andrew and i worked for the southern baptists in the 90's as a church planter in the usa, starting churches (emerging churches) in urban contexts.

now i am overseas, doing the same thing but no longer with the baptists.

i send you greetings from north africa which needs your prayer.

pray for the huge transitions here as missionaries get sent home and the locals take the reigns of their new house churches.

pray for peace and tolerance and open doors.

thanks.

from the undersupported baptist guy who is tall and skinny and born in nz.

rev;kenny ray said...

jeaus loves me this i know

for the weapons of mass instruction

bible!
tells me so! lord bless you & yours! rev;kenny ray