Pastor killed in crash hours after warning church to be more prayerful about using social media

The late Pastor Matthew Netzer (R) and his family.
The late Pastor Matthew Netzer (R) and his family. | Facebook/Matthew Netzer

Matt Netzer, the 44-year-old pastor of RockPile Church in Marble Falls, Texas, was killed in a crash last Friday hours after warning his followers about discussing politics on social media.

Netzer, who began leading his church in 1999, and was one of the congregation’s founders, was reportedly traveling north on RM 2900 toward Kingsland in a 2018 Mazda CX-5 when the vehicle veered across the southbound lane, left the roadway, and struck a fence, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was pronounced dead at the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Fall.

The pastor’s death came just hours after he warned his followers to be more prayerful about what they share on social media in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters last Wednesday.

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“Everyone wants to speak out on the riots, on Trump, on Biden, on race, on lockdowns and masks, on the elections, on conspiracies, on Democrats, on Republicans.... everyone has a thought, a judgment, a post just itching to be made. Just like we did all 2020,” he began.

“I know, I'm there with you, I've made and deleted about 1,000 statuses, and that's probably a good thing since I've also changed my mind about 1,000 times as my own emotions have fluctuated.

“But really, the posts are made, and the needle doesn't move. In fact, it usually just leads to more fighting. Turns out, everyone having an instant platform has not been beneficial for the most part, I'd say the social media experiment has largely failed. Heck, social media may even be one of the biggest culprits for the anger and violence in our country,” he said.

He then wondered out loud if Christians would be better off praying more than they posted on social media.

“That question in itself is not meant to be a judgment as much as a ‘refocus,’ and it's not meant to be a catchy ‘gotcha’ slogan, but rather I hope we do better in 2021 than we already have only seven days in. I'm making a call to myself and to my own church to pray more and post less,” he said.

“I truly believe that social media, and all the noise it brings, is actually serving to hinder the only real thing that is going to change hearts and bring any kind of healing to our brokenness.... so make sure you, AT LEAST, pray before you post,” he added.

A GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $100,000 to assist his widow, Sarah, and his two children, Lucy and Micah, had raised more than $69,680 as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“We want to take care of his family because he fulfilled the greatest commandment as found in Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus declared, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” a message on the campaign organized by the church said.

Netzer’s memorial service will be held on Jan. 16 at First Baptist Church Marble Falls located at 901 La Ventana Drive, beginning at 1 p.m. The church will follow COVID-19 protocols and the family is encouraging the wearing of masks. A second service is also being planned in St. Louis, Missouri, the church said.

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