10 Do’s And Don’ts For Pastors On Facebook


03 Dec 2014

While there is an abundance of social media platforms, Facebook continues to be the single best place for churches to connect with the majority of people online. While I’m a big fan of adding Twitter and Instagram to the mix, I keep Facebook as my primary means of social evangelism at our church.

More than simply a place for your church to have a digital presence, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a pastor’s involvement in this online community. It’s one of the easiest ways to speak into your congregation during the week, build a growing trust with your church family by inviting them into your life journey, and connect with new people who may make their way into your church.

So, if you’re a lead pastor, campus pastor, creative pastor, or really any kind of minister who would like to make the most of your time on Facebook, here are ten do’s and don’ts that will help you along the way:

1. DO Friend Members of Your Congregation

People love connecting with their pastor and this is a simple way to let your congregation know that you’re available to them. More than that, that accepted friend request from them lets you know that they trust you enough to invite you into their digital life.

2. DON’T Ride The Emotions of Your Friends

When you’re connected with your church family on Facebook, you’ll see them go through the highs and lows of life. You’ll witness their faithful times and their moments of failure. The key is to love them through all of these seasons and don’t let their posts make or break your day.

3. DO Accept Friend Requests From Nearly Everyone

When you serve as a minister, you’ll see friend requests from people you’ve never personally met. This is a good thing. Whether it’s a friend of someone in your congregation or a family member from the funeral you recently led, these are people who want to get to know you better. (Pro Tip: Check their mutual friend list to get a better idea of who you’re adding.)

4. DON’T Do It Alone

Because you’re connecting with so many people, Facebook can be a tempting place. It’s led to countless cases of infidelity and ruined a lot of marriages. Always be careful to live above reproach and keep things public as often as possible. I’d also recommend inviting someone to keep you accountable in this area. Do everything you can to not let your good be evil spoken of.

5. DO Share Encouraging Posts

Facebook gives the amazing opportunity to minister to your church family outside of Sunday. A simple quote, scripture, or kind post can be just the right thing to keep someone going on a hard day. If you gain a reputation for spreading positivity online, I can guarantee that you’ll see your influence grow.

6. DON’T Give Facebook A Piece of Your Mind

We’ve all seen it. We’ve all rolled our eyes and shook our heads. No one likes when people use Facebook as a personal soap box to rant. Don’t use your digital platform to tackle any issues, get involved in debate, or give anyone a piece of your mind. Keep it uplifting and avoid the drama. Whether big or small, in a Facebook argument, no one wins.

7. DO Share Family Milestones and Memories

This is one of the most important components of your social presence. When you share photos and snippets from your personal life, it connects with people in a greater way than you could ever imagine. It instantly makes you more human and approachable to people inside and outside your congregation.

8. DON’T Share Deep Theological Thoughts

If the goal is to be human and approachable, sharing deep theological thoughts is a quick route in the opposite direction. While it can be tempting to share that “aha moment” from the latest book you’re reading, it’s not worth it. Out of context, it’s likely that most people won’t understand and it just separates you from the community you’ve worked hard to build.

9. DO Be Quick To Offer Praise

Likes and comments are the goal of every post on Facebook and they’re very connected with the self-worth of many users. While you could write a whole sermon on the problem in that, I’d recommend spending your time using it as a method for affirmation. Be quick to comment “Great picture!” on their latest family photo. Like any post that shows them heading in the right direction. Give happy birthday wishes and offer short words of praise often.

10. DON’T Publicly Correct Anyone

When you see one of your friends going through a hard time or not making the wisest choices, feel free to offer kind words of support. However, Facebook is not a place for correction. “Calling out” someone online is guaranteed to burn bridges. No matter how good your intentions, text will always take on the emotion of the reader and add to the problem.

Do you have any other do’s or don’ts that you’d add to the list?


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Kendall Conner

Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed. Together with his beautiful wife, Holly, they strive to use media to spread the message of Christ and equip others for ministry.

Comments

  1. Great post!

  2. Great food for thought, Kendall. I’m not sure about 6 and 8 being a hard and fast rule, though. I’ve seen both abused, but to avoid any debate at all cost? I’m not so sure.

    • Hey, Jonathan –

      I like to think of social media as a party. Nobody likes the person at party who brings up controversial topics or debates. It’s simply not the right place for that kind of thing. The key is to remember that, just as at a party, all eyes are on you in that moment. When it comes to influence, it doesn’t matter how you feel about that fiery post in the moment, but how everyone watching perceives your actions.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. A most read for pastors. Awesome.

  4. […] 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Pastors on Facebook Every pastor and congregation member should read this list of excellent advice. Some might disagree with the policy on friending church members. But then there’s a spectrum of views on pastors being friends with members in the “real world.” Congregants should read so they can help their pastor make appropriate decisions that benefit everyone. […]

  5. Great post Kendall! Yours posts are such a blessing!

  6. My pastor has a tendency to share memes about how ridiculous the thought of gays and transgendered are and related controversial things. He also posts a lot of “HEAVEN OR HELL, YOU MUST CHOOSE”. Nothing uplifting. Nothing positive. Lots of politics and debates. I know this is shutting him off from reaching people and I know several that have left the church because of these hateful posts. I tried to talk to him about how God reaches us with love and acceptance and how if we welcome them in to His love, the Holy Spirit can do the convicting and changing. I’m not saying hide beliefs or not act- but to act differently as to not shut people off from God.He just says how its his duty to tell people or how will they ever know its a sin or that he feels the need to take a stand. We are clearly getting no where. I heaistate to invite friends because I know they will friend him and they will see that stuff. I’m not sure what to do at this point. My husband and I have considered leaving, especially because the church has multiple times come close to shutting it’s doors and is struggling to survive (and they refuse to do anything differently to try to help), but were in charge of the only ministry there. Our ministry is thriving- all with kids and youth that don’t attend, we couldn’t pay to attend, our church. How do we walk away and not drop our ministries? Could there be hope? How can I better confront the pastor about this? He is a good guy, but his techniques are not working.

  7. Curious … My pastor doesn’t friend his congregation but he uses Facebook to spy on them. I know this because he saw me trying to arrange a meeting with a former member of our church and he got alarmed about that. He pulled me aside to give me some “inside info” as to why they didn’t attend our church anymore. What are your thoughts about that?

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