We are living today in a culture where the ability to voice our opinion or make our thoughts known on a particular topic is readily available to us. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., give people a platform to express their feelings almost in real time. The potential liability of these expressions also presents a greater risk to churches, ministries, and Christian schools. Employees have been terminated for expressions they have posted on social media. And media outlets are publicly shaming individuals for content they post on their personal accounts.
Your church or ministry must ensure that safeguards are in place and provide training to your ministry team to ensure they do not fall into social media traps. Yes, individuals have freedom to express their thoughts and feelings. The Constitution gives us the right to free speech. But the free speech of one individual may cause significant harm to his or her church, ministry, or Christian school.
A few thoughts concerning social media for your ministry team to consider:
- Before posting a potentially controversial post, read it to someone else who is trusted to give good counsel. This guards against hasty posts that may not reflect Christ.
- Remind your staff that if they post something inflammatory, they are not only representing themselves but also Christ and their church or ministry.
- Social media is not a good place for heated discussions. It is not the ideal venue for thoughtful dialogue on a specific topic. Be careful not to allow disagreements to devolve.
- Remind your staff that the community is watching your church and ministry through social media. The way your staff presents themselves online does impact the reach of the ministry in the community for Christ.
The heart of Christ is to live at peace with all men. This is not an easy mandate in 2020! We have produced a social media policy guide for your ministry to review. This is a good time to walk through your policies with your staff. We never want to allow the tense nature of the times in which we live to damage our opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ.