Lisa and I use social media as a part of our ministry lifestyle.
As a means to encourage and make others think, it’s a big part of how we stay connected with our at-large parish.
Over the years of using this tool, we’ve grown and developed our own general rules. Feel free to adopt or adapt any of these guidelines for your social ministry.
1. Social media should be used by Christ-followers as means of interactive Christian fellowship and as a tool for evangelism. Your online behavior tells others what you truly believe. Be salt and light to the masses of unchurched people who are plugged in.
2. Pastors, ministers, and other church leaders should not type or share anything they would not say from the platform. Furthermore, I suggest that you use more restraint on social media than you would in the pulpit. Why? Written language holds more potential to be misunderstood and cause damage than spoken communication. Preachers should use rooms full of precautionary wisdom when discussing politics and others’ personal appearance. Avoid divisive discussions that bring out the worst in human nature. Also, handle humor with care so that you never appear to be attacking any person or group. You’d rather be thought of as too serious than allow your sense of humor to damage your credibility.
3. Keep in mind there’s a limit to what the average smartphone user will read. It might be hard to believe, but most people will not read the excessively long notes typed out in the status update field. Even if they “liked” it, it’s entirely possible that they only clicked “like” because they like you. Consider starting your own blog to share articles, essays, and long-winded rants.
4. Exercise your right to delete offensive comments and posts on your timeline and in the groups which you help moderate. If the comment is divisive, destructive, malicious, or off-topic, it should just disappear without you defriending or calling out the offender. Social media is a public forum that’s really not ideal for public debate or arguments. Such behavior is unwise and usually a waste of time for Christians.
5. Avoid using all caps. When the “Caps Lock” key is engaged, everything typed LOOKS LIKE THIS. Don’t turn on the Caps Lock unless you really want to EMPHASIZE a word or two. We used to do this in emails when we wanted to raise our voices and yell at others. It’s not polite to constantly be RAISING YOUR VOICE.
6. Refrain from clicking “like” on your own status updates, pictures, and your comments everywhere else. Everyone knows you liked what you typed or shared. Whether meant that way or not, it appears self-aggrandizing.
7. A picture of your face (preferably with your spouse, if married) is the best profile picture. Others can then quickly identify you.
That’s all 7 of them. Take them, leave them, or hit the delete button. One thing is sure. Over time, your true colors will shine through on social media. Make sure yours are worth seeing by keeping clean hands and a pure heart (see Psalm 24).
You can disagree with these seven and still make it to Heaven, but only if you’re a Christian. You can learn more about becoming a Christian here.