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18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook

pastor facebook reputation
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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pastor facebook reputationPastors, 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.

The self-absorbed…

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.

Stay tuned… tomorrow I’ll post #9-18. And later this week I’ll post 8 things Pastors should do on Facebook.

What things have you seen pastors do to hurt their reputation on Facebook? What would you caution pastors against doing?

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

32 Comments

  • I agree! there's a certain Pastor where I live that uses Facebook to BEG for free food, plowing of the Church parking lot, lawn help, etc. He CLEARLY uses Facebook to vent and it's very obvious. He also doesn't practice what he preaches. He will have the congregation go on a diet, then post about all the food he just got (for free! of course). Makes me sick and not respect him at all. He looks for FREE things.. well, we all have to work very hard for what we have. Who is he to try and get everything free? Time for a new Pastor, we say!

  • Doesn't sound like you have to be a pastor to take this advice. We all need to heed it. There are a couple of TV evangelists who upset me and I'm afraid I've said so once or twice. Guess I need duct tape for the mouth from now on.

  • You need to love geninely and pray for your pastor. Not post hateful comments abt him online. Your bitterness could give the devil a foothold in your church. Please stop and pray and then talk to your pastor face to face if you need to. It's ironic that an article about not criticizing and ranting online has commenters critizing and ranting against the very people who they should respect the most, love the most, and pray for the most. Your pastor may not be perfect, but for now he's Gods chosen man. Love would pray for him and speak to him face to face.

  • I have to agree I'm a Pastor and I look at tithes differently if you can tithe financially great but we also need to look at this too your time that you put into a church and volunteering is also tithing..We need to examine ourselves when we get carried away.

    Love,

    Pastor Rob

  • Dear Pastor Rob, agreed! Pastors do go overboard. Im happy to hear that being acknowledged!
    I love volunteering and am looking for a new Church. I participate in many ministries.
    I want a Pastor that does GOOD for the mind, body, and ~soul~. I want a Church where I can grow; not just be asked to cough up 10%. I make a very decent living and don't mind giving, but I want to feel like I made a difference.. not just make some Pastor's pockets fat.

    what state are you located in?

    • PHD, I think ideally it ought to go even beyond feeling like you made a difference. Every church member should feel like a stake-holder, an equal partner in their church. It shouldn't be the pastor making all the decisions and then using social media to promote them and get everyone on board. It should be a team effort with many people sensing the where the Holy Spirit is leading the church, and everyone using social media to share what God is doing in their midst and in their community.

  • what would I advise a pastor not to do on FB? I'd advise them not to take sides in personal squabbles that people tend to want to get a pastor's opinion on. That is a dead set up done to them by the manipulative ones who want to say SEE!!! Pastor said who ever did such a thing to me was WRONG!

    That kind of thing is easy to fall into. Hard to pick up the pieces after.

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