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every preacher should be on twitter – steve worsley

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We happen to have a radio announcer in our congregation – Kath Bier, who is one of the two hosts on The Breeze. Discussions with Kath reveal reasonable crossover between the role of a radio host and that of a preacher: Both of us want to be in tune with the issues affecting people in our world. In Preaching Class days we used to talk about ‘exegeting the culture’, or ‘holding the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other’.

Paul Windsor used to encourage us to listen to music that teens and young adults are listening to; not because we should necessarily like it, but to find out what messages are coming through to young people. He encouraged us to look out for lists of top songs or movies or books that people are connecting with; anything that helps us get in touch with our culture. He encouraged us to read as much as we possibly can in a week, and to particularly look out for worthwhile biographies. Then when we give illustrations in our sermons, we are drawing out of more than just our own personal tastes and experiences, and are much more likely to connect with the world of our listeners.

Over time, it’s easy for us preachers to get very lazy at this and default to the things we like.

Social media drives many of us nuts. It definitely has its pros and cons. But I was really struck by a comment from Kath the other day: ‘The best way to find out what the issues are that are affecting people out there, is go on Twitter’. I signed up for Twitter yesterday. I have no idea how it works yet and already have people ‘following me’. This feels like a real case of the blind leading the blind!

I’m keen to see how helpful Twitter can be in informing my ‘exegesis of the world’. I know some other preachers listen to talkback radio as their way of being ‘in touch’. How do you do it? How important is cultural exegesis to you?

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