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Pastors, Facebook is a great way for you to build and maintain relationships with people both inside your church and in your community. But Facebook is not without its risks. Every time you post something, you risk hurting, offending or distancing yourself from people. So, here are 18 things you want to avoid doing on Facebook…
First, the ugly…
1) Post something out of frustration in the heat of the moment. We all get frustrated at times. And if you want to engage people authentically, you need to “keep it real.” But Facebooking when angry, frustrated, or hurt is never a good idea. Take a few minutes (or a few hours) to cool down, and then think again if you really want to use Facebook to vent.
2) Criticize people. Even if you don’t use a person’s name, chances are you’re Facebook friends with that person or someone close enough to the situation to know who you’re really talking about.
3) Embarrass yourself. Expect everyone in your congregation and your community to see everything you post to Facebook. So, don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable saying or showing from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.
4) Embarrass your family. Our spouses and kids say and do funny things all the time. Most of those things can be posted to Facebook with no problem, and they help people to see you’re a normal person with a normal family. But be sensitive and when in doubt, ask your spouse and kids if it’s OK to share a quote, happening, or pic online.
5) Criticize other churches in the community. Every church has a different mission, ministry philosophy, style of worship, and theology. But we all share one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. We should be known for our unity not our division.
6) Only talk about your church. Pastors, when people become Facebook friends with you, it’s because they want to engage with you – a real person – not a spokesperson for your church.
7) Share everything posted to the church FB page. Even if you post personal updates to your Facebook profile, don’t repost every church update as well. Some – yes, all – no.
8 ) Just talk about yourself. When you go to a social event, do you like hanging around with people who only talk about themselves and never ask you about you? Don’t be one of those people online either.
What things have you seen pastors do to hurt their reputation on Facebook? What would you caution pastors against doing?