Whoever posts on behalf of the Church, pastor or posts as themselves, they must remember that what is seen on their social media reflects them, Christ and it also shows the standard of the media ‘owner’. Everyone who posts is responsible for their posts and must make sure they have a high standard to follow.
A wise step for your leaders and staff is to have some guidelines and training for communication and social media, to keep them and members safe. Put a simple manual together and set staff up with information and guidelines.
- Give each staff member their own Church email address and encourage them to use it for church related work, as this helps them keep boundaries.
- Don’t give out addresses or phone numbers of any members or staff without permission.
- Stay away from video chatting one on one with a minor.
- Chat on social media in groups, not one on one, with minors or those who are vulnerable.
- Leaders to be an example and not living on their phone all the time while in the position of leader.
- Don’t use snapchat or any app that can’t store evidence of conversation – for protection of all parties.
- Be available to reply to questions, queries and quarrels on social media.
- Create a closed Facebook group for Church Members only that people can post information that only Church members need to know such as prayer requests and a place where members feel safe enough to ask questions. Even a worship team group (for the worship team), leaders only group etc are great ways to make sure everyone gets connected and gets updates on things that are happening.
- Have a Facebook page for the Church (not a profile, as this is against Facebook terms). Create events through this page (encouraging members to easily add friends to this event, to help spread the word) – NOT through personal Facebook account – as it won’t get extended publicity. Facebook pages posts can be set at a scheduled time to post, which makes it easier for the admin as they don’t have to set their alarm to get on at social media ‘peak’ hours.
- Get a permission form signed, before posting photos of minors. Some use permission forms for all, to cover all bases. I definitely would if using photos on Church websites.
- Don’t share any picture off the internet! You must think of ‘copyright’ with images etc and it is so easy to track down images with image recognition programs, so you must be very careful in what images you post. Create your own. There are some great apps out there and programs for designing your own posters.