Proper communication on your church’s social media pages is important, but the things your ministry leaders are posting on their personal pages can be just as significant.
In the past, I’ve written on the do’s and don’ts for pastors on social media. I can’t recommend that post enough. But, when it comes to training the various leaders in your church, you’ll want some more specific instruction.
After researching what other ministries use for their social media policies, our church’s team put together the following guidelines for all of our leaders. This is a regular part of our training for staff, anyone leading our volunteers, and small group leaders.
This was largely adapted from a free resource provided by Life.Church, so feel free to use it in your ministry. I’ll provide some additional links below to check out.
Social Media Guidelines For Leaders
It’s exciting to see so many of our leaders communicating online! Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. are an incredible way to share your faith journey, get to know other ministry leaders, chronicle your life, and generally connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise. As we work together to lead people to find new life in Christ, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you navigate the ins and outs of the online world:
1. You’re Amongst Friends—Sometimes
As much as your blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, etc. might feel like your cozy home on the Internet where friends stop by to catch up, it’s really a public space. People can land on your page from a Google search and read just one post completely out of context. This content lives on forever, long after you’ve forgotten about it. So, think of your web space less like a family room and more like your front yard.
2. Spread News, Don’t Break It
It’s great when we can use our personal web spaces to share the great things God is doing at our church. But, it’s not a good idea to get the news out there before the time or in a different place than we’ve strategically planned. Make sure what you talk about is ready for public consumption. If we’ve talked about it from the stage or online, you’re safe.
3. Think And Pray First
A great rule is to take a few moments to really think about what you are going to post. Ask yourself these questions: Will this offend someone? Why am I posting this, is this for personal gain or acknowledgement (pride)? Could this cause division and distract from the mission of our church? Also consider this when you like someone’s post or something that they have shared. It’s a good idea to avoid politics and anything that can be considered racist. Remember, we are a church for all people. That means all races and all political and social views are welcome at our church. Let our focus be on Jesus and life-change.
4. Disclaimers Or Not, You Represent
Yes, a disclaimer is a good idea. But even with that, what you say in your tweets, on your blog, and on your Facebook page is just as much of a reflection of the church as what you do in your personal life. Never speak on behalf of the church from a personal platform.
5. When In Doubt, Go Positive
Whether you’re responding to a snarky comment, frustrated with a vendor, or trying to decide if you should write about something that’s bothering you, you’ll never regret taking the high road. Sometimes that road is not saying anything at all. Remember, at our church, we see the best in people.
6. Ask Questions
If you aren’t sure whether or not you should post something, feel free to ask someone above you –your coordinator, coach, or their assistants. If you aren’t able to get in touch with someone, it would be better to err on the side of caution and don’t post.
Download A Free PDF of These Guidelines
Here are a few links to check out as you put together your own guidelines:
What Do You Think?
Does your church have a social media policy for leaders?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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.