Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
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Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
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Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
What To Do With Internutters?
One aspect of my job that I really enjoy is getting on The City at least a few times a day to interact with the church planters in Acts 29. The City offers us a private place to ask questions, kick around ideas, seek prayer, and coach one another. One great brother recently posted a question about how he should respond to someone who had become quite a vocal critic all over the Internet and in relationships with church members, making wildly unfounded accusations and creating a lot of additional work. It’s a common question, particularly in the age of the Internet. Since I’ve enjoyed many critics and endured many seasons of intense criticism, I, along with some other church planters, offered him some counsel. I am passing on what I posted for him in case it can be of service to others.
1. Don't respond.
Do NOT respond to him publicly or privately. It will only empower him and it sets a precedent that if someone freaks out, they get you to respond. If you do respond, you will draw more attention to him and make him more powerful. As it escalates, if someone from your church does or says something in response, it will escalate yet again and end up in the media. We only consider charges with evidence, like the Bible says, not accusations that are unfounded (1 Timothy 5:19). Never post anything online or send anything via email to or about a critic or else it can and will end up in the media, court, or at least the court of public opinion. Call your leaders if you need to discuss this, and, if you have to send something, CC your attorney so it is not open to disclosure in a lawsuit.
2. Don't have contact.
Do NOT have any contact with the unreasonable critic. Hire an attorney, have the attorney send a letter, and file a restraining order barring him from X number of feet from you if he threatens violence or disrupts a meeting. If he shows up at your home or church, call the cops and have him arrested. If he wants to see you, he needs to schedule a meeting—in a safe place other than your home—and you need a witness.
3. Get someone else involved.
Have another elder or trusted staff member follow things online and don’t waste your time or emotional treasure. This is just one guy and not a big deal. I know it’s personal so it is taxing. Satan wants you to respond to this guy, not to the Spirit. Let others follow the garbage online and if there is a credible threat of violence or lawsuit, they should notify you, but otherwise not involve you or waste your energy. Don’t get sucked in. Don’t follow online. Don’t. If you have to, have someone keep an eye on your Facebook, Twitter, etc., and delete his garbage and report him to be banned so you don’t have to.
4. Protect your family.
Your wife and family should not read any of this garbage. If you have to screen her emails to ensure no one is forwarding links to her, then do it so she’s not getting shot in the heart every time she opens her inbox.
5. This is a test.
You are a good thinker and writer so this will only get worse. This is a Little League test and if you pass it you get to move up to the next league. Don’t freak out and don’t overreact, and praise God you have enemies because we worship Jesus, who had enemies. If you keep doing your job, you will have more enemies of greater power, so this is not a season, it’s your life. Sorry, man. I get it.