You said WHAT on Twitter??? Thoughts On Social Media and Ministry #Ministry #Leadership
All of us, at one time or another, have had that moment…the moment that causes us to do a wide-eyed double take. We’re scrolling down our Twitter feed or looking at Facebook and we see something that a friend or family member posted that stops us in our tracks. It’s as if it happens in slow motion and we think, “Why in the world did they hit Send/Post/Go on that before thinking it through?
Social Media forums have forever changed how we interact with one another. There are numerous positive impacts that they have made on us, our lives and ministries; but, there are also some pitfalls and things that we need to avoid. My colleague, Joey Santos wrote a great blog on Social Media. You can find it HERE.
I’d like to offer a few thoughts on using Social Media in light of being involved in ministry. Whether you are a paid staff member or a volunteer at your local church, we need to use thoughtful wisdom when posting to Social Media sites. Thoughts? Please share in the Comments section.
- You Represent God To The World Around You :: Your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors probably know you are a Christian…or, at least they should. When they see you posting questionable material, thoughts or pictures it can cause them to question your Christian witness. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. Romans 12:1-2 is a great guideline for us: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We are supposed to be different and set apart. Make sure your Social Media presence reflects that.
- What You Post Says Something About You :: When your friends read your Twitter feed, what does it say about you? Is it peppered with questionable language, behavior or images? Do you Retweet people who use offensive language? Who do you follow? We are always communicating and so many people have access to what we post. Be thoughtful and know that with every post you are adding to your online reputation. What kind of reputation do you want to build?
- You Represent Your Church And Your Team :: The right to be a leader is not easily earned. And, whether you are the upfront person leading worship or you are playing in the band or sitting at a computer, you are a leader. People will see you out at restaurants, the mall, concerts, everywhere you go. What do they see in you? I can promise you that if they see you doing something questionable it will affect how they see you as a leader. One emotional vent can harm your personal reputation and the way they see your church or ministry as well. Guard your reputation and the reputation of the ministry you are involved in.
- Popularity Doesn’t Make It Right :: All kinds of things become popular in the world. Styles, pictures, sayings can all seep into our consciousness and become part of our lives before we know it. Certain phrases that the world thinks are funny can actually be super offensive to the cause of Christ. Be careful and THINK IT THROUGH before you use it.
- Your Posts Can Last Forever :: Did you know that pictures you post to Facebook, Twitter & Instagram can live forever? People have the ability to download the pictures you post or at least take a screen shot of them. Even if you go back and delete those later, the copies that they downloaded last forever. Use judgment for all the above reasons and more. Do you want people you don’t know to have access to pictures of you on vacation or with your spouse or in your swimsuit?? Think about it.
- What Do You Consider Questionable :: Great question. Would you show/read it to your grandma? That may sound old school and IT IS. Unapologetically so. Remember the old saying, “Would you speak like that if Jesus were sitting beside you.” Use that as a measuring stick. Is that hard core? Absolutely. Will it keep you out of trouble? ABSOLUTELY.
This is a starting point to get you thinking about your Social Media Reputation. As I said earlier, it is unapologetically old school. Don’t you think our reputations deserve that?