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Social media expectations are higher for church leaders


This is the third of a series of posts from Matt Ward, associate pastor of FBC Thomson. Read the previous posts here:

Everything said previously about social media applies to church members, church leaders, and church staff. Likewise, everything said here to church leaders equally applies to all church members. The difference is that expectations are higher for church leaders. Here are expectations written with FBC Thomson in mind. 

We expect our church leaders to embody our church’s values and measures while online. 

  • Think like Jesus. Our posts should be consistent with biblical truth. We must be clear that Jesus is the only path to salvation. We don’t tear down other Christians even when we disagree with them. We are honest about the world around us. 
  • Be like Jesus. These character traits should be evident in our every post: patience, joy, peace, love, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness, humility, and kindness. And yes, it’s more work to translate those qualities to social media. 
  • Act like Jesus. Our online identity should include our priorities as Christians: worship, Bible study, prayer, service and evangelism. The biggest challenge is to make them real and natural, not contrived or off-putting. 

We expect our church leaders to support our church’s decisions and programs. 

  • Don’t continue a private debate in public. No church gets 100% agreement on every decision. But once that decision has been made, we expect our leaders to get in step with it publicly. 
  • Support the members who are doing the work. Every church changes over time. While it is fun to remember the past, make sure your posts don’t take away from the present. Every public post should be positive and supportive of current work at the church. 
  • Criticism should be made privately and to the right person. Every parent eventually has a complaint about a teacher or coach; social media is not the place to air it. Church leaders must follow Jesus’ commands for resolving disagreements. 

We expect our leaders’ behavior to be above reproach. 

  • If you’re doing something that looks questionable, don’t post it! Online, there is no context for the drink in your hand or the person you are photographed with. On social media, perception is reality; it matters how your post will be perceived. 
  • Be modest. If you are intending your post to “show off” something – your body, your wealth, your company, your location, your toy – you are probably better off not making the post. Celebrate your blessings modestly. 
  • Be wise with your influence. God has placed you in a position of leadership because you have gifts and talents that make a difference. The world is aware of that and is watching you. Be smart (read: intentional) about what you post. 

church leadership, online, social media


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