The Risk and Rewards of Pastoral Facebook Pages

While advocating for social media and online engagement by pastors and church staff, I’m continually asked about parameters for engagement. The problem is that every situation is unique. There’s not a one-size-fits-all recommendation for social media and online engagement by pastors and church staff.

Facebook is different than Twitter, and both of those are different than the world of blogging. Since Facebook is the most popular platform, it is often the most used and most abused by church members. A pastor or church staff member on Facebook can be a valuable resource to church members as well as a big target.

The Pros

There are many positives for pastors and church staff who are active on Facebook.

  1. Your members are there. Because it’s the most used platform, your church members are likely to be there, too. It makes communication easier for you and the church.
  2. Your members can see that you have a life outside of church. Because of the ease of sharing pictures and events from your everyday life, members can get to know more about you as a person. They get to see that you have a life outside of your job at the church.
  3. You are easy to connect with and contact. Because of the ease of connection on Facebook, church members and community members can connect with you and, by extension, the church. Facebook can become a great outreach tool if you connect well with those in the church and community through its platform.

The Cons

Ironically, the positives that Facebook can bring you online can also be negatives.

  1. Your members are there. Church members can see everything you say or do online. Things can easily be misconstrued, misinterpreted, or misrepresented. I’ve seen something as simple as changing ones profile picture lead to an inquisition about searching for a new job.
  2. Your members can see that you have a life outside of church. Churches are often busy. Church staffs are often even busier. But what about that one event not in your area of ministry that you choose not to attend? The one you skipped for your kid’s play or for a trip with lifelong friends? You can almost expect someone to be upset you chose something else over him or her. It’s not fair. It’s not right. But it will likely happen.
  3. You are easy to connect with and contact. For many pastors or church staff members, their busiest time on Facebook is often Sunday mornings. People often post or message them about being out of town or being sick or needing someone to fill in. Because of the ease of access, Facebook connections are subject to abuse by church members at times.

You might expect me to weigh the pros and cons and determine whether or not you should be on the platform—but that is for you to decide. As for me, even with the cons, the positives of Facebook and the opportunities it presents for ministry far outweigh the temporary frustrations of the negatives.


Learn more about the power of social media for your ministry. Connect with an Auxano Navigator.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan Howe serves as vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee. He oversee all SBC Executive Committee communications including SBC.net, SBC LIFE, Baptist Press, social media initiatives and other media and messaging strategies. Howe was formerly the Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
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— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

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Facebook’s Five Core Values and What It Means for Your Ministry

When Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to potential investors, he unpacked the five values that guide everything at Facebook.

HERE THEY ARE

Focus on Impact: Solve the most important problems that make the biggest difference.  Zuckerberg reminds his team that it’s very easy to waste time.

Move Fast: Facebook employees are encouraged to “move fast and break things.” The assumption is, if you’re not breaking things, you’re probably not moving fast enough.

Be Bold: The goal at Facebook is to create a culture that takes risks.  The banner for this value is “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.”

Be Open: Being open means giving people as much access to information as possible to make better decisions.

Build Social Value: Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company.

WHAT THEY MEAN FOR YOU

  • Great leaders get things done by creating culture. That’s why values matter. Church leaders often get stuck in a ministry treadmill of “doing church” without clarifying, “What kind of culture are we trying to nourish?” Do a values test: Does your team know the top five ideals or motives of your ministry?
  • These values show us how even the most innovative aspects of technology and communication are working intently to keep changing. As the envelope is pushed, how will leadership role adapt? Here are some questions to consider:
    • Who can you spend time with to learn more about social media?
    • How is your ministry investing in better communication technology?
    • What new team role do you need to stay more innovative?
    • How are you giving people permission to make mistakes in the name of positive risk and bold mission?
  • Values always take us to the heart of a group of people; to that flame deep inside the collective soul. The fifth value of Facebook reminds people that its not about the organization. Rather, its about something great happening in the world, that changes everyday reality. What traps us in ministry is that our world-changing ideas are limited to how we preach and not how shape a church culture. Again, its not about the church organization per se, but the deeper reason of existence.  What are values in the heart of the congregation that will continue inspiring impact after a great sermon, class, group or event?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.