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Will Facebook Live and Periscope be the Death of the Church...The Kim Burrell Saga

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 6:25 PM

Will Facebook Live and Periscope be the Death of the Church…The Kim Burrell Saga

By Tracy Darity

Something funny happened the other night. I was unfriended and blocked by a preacher on Facebook. It went something like this…He made a post to the effect that in light of the Kim Burrell incident people need to know how to contain their content. I replied that if it can’t be recorded then it shouldn’t be said. He responded asking me to see the post in the context in which he was writing. Fair enough. He then indicated that only the church’s media people should be recording and that is how it’s done in his church; and went on to say that in mega churches like The Potters House (Bishop TD Jakes) they have signs that indicate no cameras or recording devices allowed. My reply was two parts because I missed the Potter’s House part when I first read the response, or he added it after I replied. Part 1: “Can you really stop people from recording in the church because everyone is doing it. Plus, I remember watching a Youtube video where Pastor Charles Jenkins was performing at a COGIC event and there were at least ten clergy with their cameras out recording him from the pulpit. But that’s a conversation for another day.” Part II: “I watch services at The Potters House every Sunday and you can see people recording with their phones.”

If you know me, I rarely get into in-depth conversations on Facebook posts. I’m like two replies and I’m out. So I was watching a video someone posted when I received a notification that the preacher man had replied to my comment. I finished watching the video and decided to see what he wrote, well low and behold he had unfriended and blocked me. I was like wow, if that’s all it takes to ruffle your feathers I would hate to be a member of your church. Now I will be honest, my blog was going to be called “I can’t stand tender-toed narcissistic negro preachers,” because there was other things I wanted to say about this particular “man of God.” Instead, I decided to focus on what he was trying to articulate in his Facebook posts and subsequent Periscope videos regarding Kim Burrell’s sermon. Yes, every day he has talked about this issue.

I am not a true fan of Kim Burrell, nor do I follow her career. If this preacher had not made a post on his Facebook page about the now viral video, I never would have known anything about it. Actually, by the time he initially posted about it the video had been removed from Facebook. I was able to watch her two follow-up videos before they were removed and I finally saw the actual sermon in a Youtube broadcast addressing its content. Since then, a few pastors have done Periscope videos stating that although they agree with what she said, they feel her delivery has hurt the church. I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean, because I can think of a whole bunch of stuff that is hurting the church and most of it coming from within its four walls.

Anyhoo, Mr. Preacher Man who blocked me on Facebook, turned around the next day and invited his followers on Periscope (which included me) to watch a scope, in which a female pastor was addressing the aftermath of the Burrell video. He then hosted his own scope afterwards, whereas, part of his conversation mirrored the lady preacher’s content.

In essence what they were saying is that preachers or anyone in the public eye has a duty to control the content that he or she is putting out because you don’t know how that content will be used later on. In addition, they were saying that only one person should be in control of recording sermons and conferences and this person needs to be someone that the pastor knows personally and can trust. Also, the pastor has full control of what is being recorded, captured, streamed, etc, and can order people to put away their phones and other recording devices. Last, preachers should not go into other churches or conferences and preach on sensitive topics. Those should be reserved for their congregations only.

First, I agree that public speakers, regardless of profession, have a duty to protect their image and control their messages. Second, the majority of churches these days have a media ministry. I agree it should be someone who’s trusted and has the church’s best interest at heart. However, I think we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. At the church I formerly worked at, one of the points of contention that the pastor refused to deal with effectively was the director of the media ministry intertwining his private photography business with church business. He uses church video to promote his business, places his logo on photos taken at church services and functions, and even charges members to create videos for funeral services. So with that lack of integrity how do you hold the members and visitors accountable? On the third point, I think the church can ask people not to record, but how do you mandate it without becoming a distraction or disrupting the service. Do you have ushers take the phone or tablet after the second warning? Do you have security escort the person out? Does the preacher stop his sermon to call people out for recording him or her?

Now I for one have recorded at church to get footage for the church’s social media and it is very awkward and can be annoying as both the recorder and as someone trying to enjoy the service. I also am that person that wants to scream put your tablet down, the video of the dance ministry will be posted on Youtube in a few days, or you can purchase a copy of the sermon for $5.00. However, I know it’s pointless because people are going to do what they want to, regardless if there is a no recording policy or not. Hell, I was at a Jill Scott concert recently and security was ripping and running the entire show asking people to stop recording…and yes, I was one of them.

On the last point regarding only preaching certain messages to certain audiences I have a problem with that. It goes back to the whole don’t say it if you don’t want it heard. In his Periscope from yesterday, the preacher implied that legal action is going to be taken against the person that recorded Ms. Burrell’s sermon and posted it online. I am a firm believer that you should say it like you mean it and stand firm in what you believe. Not everyone is going to like it or support it. The fear of losing money and endorsements should not be a silencer if you truly believe in your message. The thing with social media is that people all over the world are following preachers, that’s the benefit of live-streaming. So if I am in Florida and I follow a pastor from California and he comes to my area, I am going to see him so I can experience first-hand what I see online. Not some watered down version that has been tailored for specific guests…maybe if you’re going to the White House, but not if you’re visiting another church.

So what say you on the topic of not allowing people to live stream or record in church services? Do you think churches can stop people from live streaming? Do you live stream in church? If your pastor is going off in left field would you stop the video or keep it going for the world to see? More important, do you think people need to put down their phones and tablets and simply enjoy the activities they attend?

Let’s get the conversation started, leave your comments below, like and share the content.

Love & Blessings,


Tracy L. Darity is the author of three novels, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!, Love...Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day, and The Red Bear Society. Available in print and e-book. To learn more, visit www.TracyLDarity.com or Amazon.com








Categories: Publishing Industry, Life's Musings

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