Social Media is a major part of most church ministries today. Email and Online messaging are our primary tool for communication. With these technologies come both benefits and challenges. Email and social media can be used for good or for harm. The wise use of these tools is essential for a church. Every church would be wise to have a written set of social media guidelines for its leaders. With this in mind, today I am posting a Social Media Policy from Grace Church in Orlando, FL. These guidelines were written by Grace’s Communications director, Kelly Adkins. I think you will find that they are a helpful start toward writing your own set of social media guidelines.
Social Media Guidelines
Grace doesn’t have hard and fast rules about how our staff interacts online, but we do have guidelines to help you navigate through the chaos. There is much in social media that can be used to destroy, but there’s equally as much that can be redeemed for the cause of Christ. We offer some suggestions to help you do that well.
Never miss a chance to say something positive.
If you have a chance to tweet, update a status, “like” or comment on something great that’s happening at Grace or that someone said about Jesus, the church or serving, take it. Be yourself and be genuine. Don’t say stuff you don’t mean.
Use your head.
Be wise about what you say online. More than representing Grace, you represent Jesus to the world. As leaders, you are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1).” Take your calling seriously, and think through how your public comments, posts and “likes” will be privately perceived. If you like it or share it, you endorse it. So if in doubt, leave it out.
Keep the big picture in mind.
Get in the habit of conducting a self-review of your social media every few months or so. We post in isolated moments, but people can see the whole picture at any point. Are a majority of your posts negative, boastful, hyper-spiritual or venting? Do they portray you as always working and never playing or vice versa?
Don’t use email for hard conversations.
Talking face to face leaves the least chance that you’ll be misunderstood, and no chance that your exact words will be copy-pasted out of context and forwarded to others.
Respond to accusers in private, not public.
There have and will continue to be people who use social media to disparage Grace and/or the people of Grace. Arguing, maligning or even teaching in a public forum like Facebook, Twitter or a blog comment section is tricky business. Better to first deal with the person in love, privately and as a friend according to scripture.
Your blog is not just your blog (ditto for your Twitter or your Facebook or your Instagram….)
People know you work at the church, and unfortunately they’ll attach your opinions and actions to the church. While you don’t have to go as far as posting a disclaimer on your social media, just be aware that people don’t separate your ideas and choice of activities from way you lead your ministry.
…and your email is not just your email.
It’s best to keep email from your work email related to just that: work. Gossip detracts from your goals and diminishes your influence. And email is your point of least control for private information — easy to pass on to others without your knowledge.
Pray for the reputation of God’s Church (not just our church).
Social media is a powerful tool to create and destroy influence. Pray that Satan will be limited in his power to claim it and use it, and that we can be a part of redeeming it for Christ.
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