18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook

pastor facebook reputationPastors, Facebook is a great way for you to build and maintain relationships with people both inside your church and in your community. But Facebook is not without its risks. Every time you post something, you risk hurting, offending or distancing yourself from people. So, here are 18 things you want to avoid doing on Facebook…

First, the ugly…

1) Post something out of frustration in the heat of the moment. We all get frustrated at times. And if you want to engage people authentically, you need to “keep it real.” But Facebooking when angry, frustrated, or hurt is never a good idea. Take a few minutes (or a few hours) to cool down, and then think again if you really want to use Facebook to vent.

2) Criticize people. Even if you don’t use a person’s name, chances are you’re Facebook friends with that person or someone close enough to the situation to know who you’re really talking about.

3) Embarrass yourself. Expect everyone in your congregation and your community to see everything you post to Facebook. So, don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable saying or showing from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.

4) Embarrass your family. Our spouses and kids say and do funny things all the time. Most of those things can be posted to Facebook with no problem, and they help people to see you’re a normal person with a normal family. But be sensitive and when in doubt, ask your spouse and kids if it’s OK to share a quote, happening, or pic online.

5) Criticize other churches in the community. Every church has a different mission, ministry philosophy, style of worship, and theology. But we all share one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. We should be known for our unity not our division.

The self-absorbed…

6) Only talk about your church. Pastors, when people become Facebook friends with you, it’s because they want to engage with you – a real person – not a spokesperson for your church.

7) Share everything posted to the church FB page. Even if you post personal updates to your Facebook profile, don’t repost every church update as well. Some – yes, all – no.

8 ) Just talk about yourself. When you go to a social event, do you like hanging around with people who only talk about themselves and never ask you about you? Don’t be one of those people online either.

Stay tuned… tomorrow I’ll post #9-18. And later this week I’ll post 8 things Pastors should do on Facebook.

What things have you seen pastors do to hurt their reputation on Facebook? What would you caution pastors against doing?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

30 Responses to “18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook”

  1. I agree! there's a certain Pastor where I live that uses Facebook to BEG for free food, plowing of the Church parking lot, lawn help, etc. He CLEARLY uses Facebook to vent and it's very obvious. He also doesn't practice what he preaches. He will have the congregation go on a diet, then post about all the food he just got (for free! of course). Makes me sick and not respect him at all. He looks for FREE things.. well, we all have to work very hard for what we have. Who is he to try and get everything free? Time for a new Pastor, we say!

  2. Wow, that sounds ALOT like our Pastor.. hmm.. email me so we can compare notes!

  3. Doesn't sound like you have to be a pastor to take this advice. We all need to heed it. There are a couple of TV evangelists who upset me and I'm afraid I've said so once or twice. Guess I need duct tape for the mouth from now on.

  4. You need to love geninely and pray for your pastor. Not post hateful comments abt him online. Your bitterness could give the devil a foothold in your church. Please stop and pray and then talk to your pastor face to face if you need to. It's ironic that an article about not criticizing and ranting online has commenters critizing and ranting against the very people who they should respect the most, love the most, and pray for the most. Your pastor may not be perfect, but for now he's Gods chosen man. Love would pray for him and speak to him face to face.

  5. I have to agree I'm a Pastor and I look at tithes differently if you can tithe financially great but we also need to look at this too your time that you put into a church and volunteering is also tithing..We need to examine ourselves when we get carried away.

    Love,

    Pastor Rob

  6. Dear Pastor Rob, agreed! Pastors do go overboard. Im happy to hear that being acknowledged!
    I love volunteering and am looking for a new Church. I participate in many ministries.
    I want a Pastor that does GOOD for the mind, body, and ~soul~. I want a Church where I can grow; not just be asked to cough up 10%. I make a very decent living and don't mind giving, but I want to feel like I made a difference.. not just make some Pastor's pockets fat.

    what state are you located in?

    • PaulSteinbrueck Mar 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      PHD, I think ideally it ought to go even beyond feeling like you made a difference. Every church member should feel like a stake-holder, an equal partner in their church. It shouldn't be the pastor making all the decisions and then using social media to promote them and get everyone on board. It should be a team effort with many people sensing the where the Holy Spirit is leading the church, and everyone using social media to share what God is doing in their midst and in their community.

  7. Agree Paul! You seem like a very smart man ; )

  8. what would I advise a pastor not to do on FB? I'd advise them not to take sides in personal squabbles that people tend to want to get a pastor's opinion on. That is a dead set up done to them by the manipulative ones who want to say SEE!!! Pastor said who ever did such a thing to me was WRONG!

    That kind of thing is easy to fall into. Hard to pick up the pieces after.

  9. I believe in the law of the Harvest: you reap what you sow. Give and it will be given to you, in good measure. I encourage my congregation to tithe, not only because it enables the church to pay it bills and do ministry, but the more generous we are toward the things that matter to God, the more blessed we are. I want the people I pastor to be blessed AND be a blessing! Unfortunately, 20% of the people of most congregations carried 80% of the church financially. I no more agree with that than I do with unethical pastors who fleece the congregation. But there are a lot of caring pastors who simply want the people of God to have all that God offers to them and that requires obedience to the Word of God. Go figure!

  10. a broke tither! Mar 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Since when did God ask for money? When did the Lord start taking a tithe from Ceasar?!?

    • I'm with YOU broke tither. as Leviticus 21:14 says "he who has to ask is probably better off with nothing as the devils spirit always comes a'knocking at the most inopportune times"…..

    • Mal 3:8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions.
      2Co 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
      Co 9:11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

  11. The LORD has never asked for money – he commands it, as the other commandments. After all – HE already owns everything "the cattle on a thousand hill belongeth to him."
    As far as FB postings? If it be good, as if it came from the LORD – post it. I sincerely believe that there are only two places from which a man can receive anything – One comes from above, and is the truth of God (as well as a blessing)
    The other is from beneath – it is the lie of the Devil – and proves to be a curse

  12. Redemption outcry Mar 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Tithing is not under the new covenant terms.

    God will not bless you by the tithe you give,that promise was in direct relation to the old covenant.
    We however have to support the body of Christ as we are able.
    Good point raised in regards to ruining reputation on face book.

  13. Good advice for Pastors and all believers alike in regards to being careful with what is posted/communicated. I see how quickly this turned to the topic of money however (where our heart is).
    Whatever the case, although tithing was very much considered under the Old Covenent, we must not dismiss it in the New Covenent. In fact, many people would say that those is Christ will give beyond what was commanded under the tithing commandment in the Old Testement, as love will do much more than the law would ever do.
    However, money and giving (the need of the Church, the Saints, and the Pastor) is spoken about in the New Testement. Here are just a few to consider: Rom 15:25-27, 1Cor 16:1-3, 2Cor 8:1-6, 9:4-7. Luke 10:7, 1Cor 9:4-15, 2Cor 11:7-9, 1Tim 5:17-18.

  14. Maurice Hinton Mar 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    So very true…..I believe it is most important to be real. Not only to your congregation but also to your community. They desire to relate to a "real" person no matter whether in your professional position as their minister or as a family person. It is time to dump the religeous (sic) attitude so many of us carry. Over many years we have not only built "walls" around our fellowships but also around ourselves…. let us break them down with the hammers of openess and honesty!

  15. We have an awesome Pastor and I know he is not perfect just as I am not perfect. That is true of everyone for we all fall short of the glory of God. It is through His Grace and Mercy.

  16. Should your pastor every be able to tell you
    “I need you and your wife to stop posting about hanging out with the “blank” family”

    This is a family that left the church and thu aren’t fans of our pastor but we still have a good relationship with them.
    We are also on staff.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook (Part 2) | Christian Web Trends Blog - Mar 30, 2011

    [...] you risk hurting, offending or distancing yourself from people. Yesterday, I posted the first 8 ways a pastors can ruin their reputations on Facebook. Here are [...]

  2. 20 Ways Pastors Can Mess Everything Up On Facebook | Church Marketing Online - Mar 30, 2011

    [...] Steinbrueck over at Christian Web Trends posted a couple articles with “18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin Their Reputation on Facebook” that have a lot of good things to keep in mind as pastors connect with people through [...]

  3. 8 Things Pastors SHOULD Do on Facebook | Christian Web Trends Blog - Apr 1, 2011

    [...] Tweet this article 0 ShareWe spent a couple of days earlier this week blogging and discussing 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook. It stirred some emotion as a number of people vented about some of the misuses of Facebook [...]

  4. Facebook Tips for Pastors | Church Marketing Online - Apr 2, 2011

    [...] this week Paul Steinbrueck (Christian Web Trends) posted a two part article, “18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook” which I mentioned on our blog here.  Yesterday, he followed that article up with things [...]

  5. 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook | Kirche 2.0 | Scoop.it - Nov 12, 2011

    [...] 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook [...]

  6. 7 Ways Pastors Can Overcome Conflict in Social Media | Christian Web Trends Blog - Aug 9, 2012

    [...] could write a whole post (or 2) on this. Oh wait, I already did. See 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook  and 8 Things Pastors SHOULD Do on [...]