Being a Pastor in a Social Media World
“Social media is a viable ministry platform.”
If you’re a pastor, you’ve probably heard those words several times over the last 10 years. And it’s true, social media is in fact, not just a viable ministry platform, but it’s one that churches and pastors can use as another point of connection throughout the week.
Many of the fears that pastors typically have with social media are valid, but it’s worth facing those fears in order to build relationships with congregants and continue to connect with them outside of the pulpit.
However, along with these ministry benefits that come along with social media, there are some practical things to be aware of as a pastor using social media. As is the case with any relationship you have in the church, you must take certain precautions to build healthy relationships on social media.
3 precautions to take as a pastor on social media
Don’t post anything on social media you wouldn’t say from the pulpit. The problem with social media is that often there is not enough context given for statements or posts. It leaves too much room for interpretation. There is also too much room for interpretation of tone and mood in your statements on social media. So you may even want to take it a step further and be even more selective with what you post on social media. Many pastors choose to only post family updates and pictures. This also gives people the ability to get to know their pastor outside of the pulpit each Sunday.
Don’t be afraid to press “Delete”. There is always the possibility that something you post on social media could get out of hand. This is out of the ordinary, but if one of your posts does get out of hand, don’t be afraid to just press “delete.” Many times, deleting the entire post is better than trying to prove your point, or put out a fire.
Be willing to engage in a conversation. Remember that not everyone on social media is looking for a fight. It’s possible to have healthy conversations on social media, but it’s often most beneficial to move the conversation from public comments to private messages, or even better, a face-to-face conversation.
These are hardly all the precautions you need to take while using social media as a pastor, but it’s a good place to start.
The most important thing to remember is that social media is a relationship platform.
It should serve as a tool for building connections and relationships with people, and when used correctly, can lead to deeper face-to-face relationships in your church. Additionally, it’s a great place to recognize the contributions of staffers and congregation members. Use it to make a big deal out of the people who contribute to the vision and mission of your church. See it as a way to compliment people in front of other people.