Social Media and the Church

Like the rest of the world, the use of Facebook and Twitter has exploded at our church – and its spreading through all age groups. We have formed group pages for several of our key ministries and for our church. We are finding that targeted communication to the members of these group pages is much more effective than a general email announcement. (Maybe email is becoming the same as bulletin or pulpit announcements and being filtered out by most?) Among the staff I am probably the most active Facebook user and so recently I began to notice some trends that we needed to talk about with our volunteers.

For reasons I don’t fully understand, it is clear that many people who use the internet think that their activity there is completely private – or at least limited to a handful of people. So they post comments that are somewhat questionable and crude. Things like: abbreviations for four-letter-word-filled phrases; quiz results that reveal a darker or even sinful side of themselves; suggestive videos; or embarrassing photos of other people. We can’t (and don’t want to) monitor the activity of those who attend our church but we do want to provide some guidelines for safe and sane use of social media sites by those who provide ministry through our church – especially when they have minors as friends & followers.
Here’s a working list of suggestions:
[1] As a ministry leader you are strongly encouraged to post only those items to Facebook, Twitter, or your blog that you would willingly say to the entire church. Ephesians 4.28,29
[2] As a ministry leader it is generally  inappropriate for you to initiate a friend request with a minor. It may be appropriate to accept a friend request from minor if you have a ministry relationship with them.
[3] The creation of any Our Savior’s Baptist related Facebook groups should be done in a format that does not permit the general public from viewing the group page. Membership in the group page should be on an approval basis by the page administrator.
[4] Married ministry leaders should give their spouses full access to email, text messages, and social media sites.
[5] Photos of minors (under age 18) who are part of our ministries should be posted only to the appropriate Facebook group and not to your own wall.
[6] Leaders should refrain from tagging minors in photos.
[7] Ministry leaders & volunteers should refrain from publishing the results of quizzes that are questionable.
[8] Ministry leaders & volunteers should refrain from using common abbreviations for foul language.
[9] Ministry leaders and volunteers should refrain from posting comments that are critical of Our Savior’s members, leadership, ministries, or other leaders/volunteers. Philippians 4.13
[10] Be smart!
These guidelines are not yet in their final form. I would appreciate your feedback or suggestions of how they might be improved.


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