18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook (Part 2)

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. Yesterday, I posted the first 8 ways a pastors can ruin their reputations on Facebook. Here are 9-18.

The disingenuous…

9) Act like your life is perfect. Nobody is perfect, and everyone knows it. If you act like everything is good all the time, you’ll be perceived as inauthentic, wearing a mask.

10) Act like you’re always “joyful in the Lord” Nobody is happy all the time either.

11) Act like you have all the answers. Nobody likes a know-it-all either. Share insight and advice when asked. Be confident but not arrogant.

The offender…

12) Act like the language/morality police. Your Facebook friends are not perfect. They are going to swear, post questionable pictures of themselves, and share things you don’t agree with. If something is really bad, consider contacting the person privately about it, but don’t call people out publicly for what is unfortunately common behavior in our culture.

13) Roll out the fire and brimstone. I don’t know if preaching about sin and hell worked with past generations, but it’s not going to put you in a position to influenced people on Facebook. People on Facebook respond much more favorably to hope and love.

14) Be overly political. It’s OK to take stands on key issues, but unless you want to irk half your church and close the door to half the people in your community (not to mention risk losing your non-profit status), don’t tow a party line.

15) Engage people in debates. Online (and offline) debates rarely cause anyone to shift their position on an issue. Discussion is great, but if things get heated or personal, it’s time to lighten up.

The disengaged…

16) Post a lot of theological stuff that’s over the head of your friends. It’s great for pastors to engage their Facebook friends in spiritual conversations, but avoid posting your doctoral thesis. It’s not going to engage anyone, and will put people off.

17) Login once every week or two. Relationships require consistency. You can take breaks, go on vacation, and don’t need to be on Facebook every day, but you’ve got to be regular if you’re going to build relationships in Facebook.

18) Fail to respond. When people send you messages, post to your wall, or post comments to your status updates and links, it’s important to respond. Answer people’s questions. Thank people for their insight and stories.

Now that we’ve covered what not to do, stay tuned for  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.

7 Responses to “18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook (Part 2)”

  1. Excellent articles Paul. I forwarded them to the rector and youth minister of our church.

  2. Dave Williams Mar 31, 2011 at 7:59 am

    one of the complaints I've been hearing from council people is, "My pastor spends a lot of time playing "mafia war" on facebook." Playing games during traditional working hours is not looked upon favorably.

  3. If that's an area of temptation for you (as it was for me), you can block any app on facebook, and remove not just the publicity but also the temptation. Then you can get on with the constructive work you really want or need to do instead.

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

    [...] tuned… tomorrow I’ll post #9-18. And later this week I’ll post 7 things Pastors should do on [...]