Pastors, Please Join Snapchat
There’s an epidemic going on. A large scale digital dilemma. It’s called the internet. Many of us in ministry see it as an obstacle, a nuisance in way of the gospel more than a vehicle to move our message. Snapchat is a representative in this constantly changing world of digital madness. A wild west of chaotic, yet resourceful tools for todays people. I want you to think big picture. Zoom out the lens and think nationally.
I’ve been a Snapchat evangelist for about a month now, not because I need to see people’s lives or because I’m nosey. But because its the future. There’s no fighting it. To resist it is to get trampled by it. Specifically as somebody who is talking about God all the time, it’s important for me to understand where people will be spending most of their time because lets face it…if there’s no one to talk to, I’m talking to myself, baby.
We can try all we want to shy away from change as ministers. But in my humble opinion; it is our job to reach people. It is our job to find them. Whether we are a church, itinerate preachers, worship teams, or simply small ministries; we all gave in to the social norms of Facebook. Even your grandma is there, I know…my grandma is probably reading this right now because I posted this on Facebook. (hola Nona, te quiero)
But there is an underlying truth were all missing, hold on. Let me google some nifty stats for you:
• there are 4-6 Billion video views daily on Snapchat
• more than 60% of 13-34 yr old U.S Smartphone users are on Snapchat
• 12% of teens love Snapchat the most
• 13% of teens used it in 2013 and it grew to 41% by 2015
It seems like I work for Snapchat corporate or something, the way I’m advocating for this friggin app. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. If they went under tomorrow, I’d advise everyone to leave. My line of reasoning is that in ministry it becomes easy to write things off on account of it’s “trendiness”, saying we don’t want to do something because of how we may be perceived. We strive to contain some perception of holiness not realizing that the people who we’re supposed to be reaching are leaving and we all end up in a room, being holy all by ourselves. Which will be great, in heaven. But the goal is to bring heaven to earth.
Snapchat isn’t going anywhere, and if we don’t embrace it, as pastors, churches, preachers and people of God, we will lose the attention of the next generation. Facebook’s function is changing. It may still be social but it’s now becoming a content distribution vehicle more than a place to sit and visit your friends, in the next ten years, these 13 year olds at 23, will have Snapchat. And whoever is quickest to keep their attention there will hold the conversation.
Hold on, let me get my bible.
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17 He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. Acts 17:16
Paul was first of all, an OG. Second of all, went where all the commotion was. Some may say “Yes, he physically went where everyone was! To the market place of ideas! The public square where people went to trade and sell and talk and discuss!” You are absolutely right, but we really don’t have many of those anymore. I’d argue that the few we have like NYC get annoyed when you stand on a soapbox and preach like Paul did.
Over the course of the last twenty years, since I was a kid, the internet has drastically altered our human experience and morphed the public square. It’s taken the public square and moved it, first to our desks, then even quicker, to our pockets. Excuse my alliterations but Snapchat is the new soapbox. Don’t miss out pastors. Your youth will thank you. They will secretly cringe when you add them of course, but in the long run, they will thank you 😀
This is not a micro-assessment if that makes sense. I am not saying if you don’t join Snapchat; you’re children or Youth Group won’t love you. I am talking about a forward thinking principal. A macro-ideology that as leaders we should embrace. To be ahead of the curve, going where people’s eyes are in order to steer the conversation for Christ. I believe the most influential people in history have been able to do that. MLK was able to do that with politics, on the opposite side of the spectrum, Lecrae is now doing that with hip-hop, and because social media is such a powerful tool, people like Jefferson Bethke are now doing that with social media and YouTube. Social Media is in my opinion the 8th mountain of influence. Who will be anointed to infiltrate it?