Lisa and I use Facebook as a part of our overall social media ministry. 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 have grown and developed our own general rules. Feel free to adopt, adapt, or delete any of these guidelines for your social media ministry.
1. Facebook should be used by Christ-followers as a means of interactive Christian fellowship and as a tool for evangelism. Therefore, be salt and light to the masses of un-churched people who are plugged-in. Your online behavior tells others what you truly believe.
2. Pastors, ministers, and other church leaders should not type anything into Facebook that 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 other’s personal appearance. For your witness sake, 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 to 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 aren’t going to read the excessively long notes typed out in the status update field. Even if they “liked” it, it’s quite possible that they only clicked “like” because they like you. The Notes section within Facebook works for articles and essays and longwinded rants. Or, consider starting up your own blogging site like this one.
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. There is no need for Facebook to become a forum for public debate or arguments. Such behavior is unwise.
5. Avoid using all caps. When the “Caps Lock” key in engaged, everything typed LOOKS LIKE THIS. This is what we used to do in emails when we really wanted to raise our voice, and yell at others. Don’t turn on the Caps Lock unless you really want to EMPHASIZE a word or two. It’s not polite to always be RAISING YOUR VOICE.
6. Refrain from clicking “like” on your own Facebook status updates, pictures, and your comments everywhere else. Whether meant that way or not, it appears self-aggrandizing. Everyone suspects that you liked what you typed or shared.
7. A picture of your face (preferably with your spouse, if married) is the best profile picture. Others can then quickly identify you. After all, it’s called Facebook not face blank.
There you have it, all seven of them. Take them, leave them, or hit the delete button. One thing is certain. Over the course of 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.
BONUS: Lastly, I’ll leave you with this. God’s Book is always better than Facebook. But Facebook is a good place to share God’s Book.