Facebook for pastors

Even if you’re not a pastor, this is good stuff. If you are a pastor, it explains clearly why you should be on facebook — and how to get around once you’re there.

Pastors are used to preaching. They are allowed the unique privilege and responsibility of preparing a message from God’s word each week and communicating that message uninterrupted in a one-way monologue. Those days are over. Preaching from the platform of a church may not have changed much, but there is an increasing demand from church members to have real and meaningful conversations with their ministr y leaders beyond the Sunday morning service times and outside the walls of the church.

Many ministers tell me they crave the same kind of contact with their church members. Facebook is a free, handy tool for you to cultivate closer relationships with the segment of people who come to your church and are part of the Facebook community. Should everyone in your church be on Facebook? Probably not. But if you have church members on Facebook looking for spiritual nourishment throughout the week, shouldn’t you be there to provide it?

You can find the whole book — for free! — online here. Download, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.

I can tell that in my own congregation, facebook has allowed me to connect with parishioners that I might not have been able to connect with. Just as the book says, people see a human side to their priest. And priests see the non-Sunday version of their parishioners.

Of course, there are some “issues.” In this age of concern over proper boundaries and the protection of people in church, it’s important to maintain some very good online boundaries. I never “friend” people at church, but I’ll almost certainly say yes if they ask. I’m careful about what I write, as one should always be online, because everything is public. I don’t message people in the congregation. Just as I wouldn’t be alone with a minor at church, I won’t communicate privately with a minor on facebook — though I do trade wall postings. Since this is new, there aren’t firm guidelines yet. My advice: err on the side of caution, but also be available. The book makes all the arguements for why this is important and why every pastor should be on facebook. Amen, I say.

By the way, you can find a link to my profile on the right. If you’re already there, please friend me!

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