I’m often thinking and reflecting on social media and what my desired outcome is as a family pastor. I definitely seek out the “experts”, but also keep in mind those “experts” in social media are only eight years old at the most. This is such a massive topic, so I thought I’d share just a couple thoughts to things kicked off…
So, the children’s pastor in me asks these two questions often:
1. How do I communicate effectively via social media?
I don’t want my message to be drowned out amongst the noise of all the social media that’s going on. Personally, I post a lot of pictures with no rhyme or reason and it’s mostly about my family and church life.
When posting about ministry specific I try to keep these few things in mind:
• Post an engaging question once a day that’s not a yes or no question.
• Make sure any videos or pictures you post have meaning and describe what’s happening.
• The more meaningless stuff you post, the more parents will start to overlook your message.
• Don’t post boring announcements about an event without it being image driven, short and to the point.
2. How do I keep my kids safe while using social media?
Kids are using social media younger and younger. When they post, I want them to post positive words and images about our kid’s ministry. I also want to respect parents and not open children up to the potential dangers of social media, which I’ll talk about Wednesday.
Here’s how I balance that. I don’t ask kids to post anything via social media. Instead, I make an environment so amazing that they want to post an Instagram picture, a Vine video or Facebook post, etc. I don’t want to be part of a parent’s problem, instead I want to be part of the solution.
When kids do ask me about posting anything via social media, I deflect by telling them to ask their parents first. Keep these safe practices in mind when you post:
• Don’t post pictures of kids without parent’s permission. Instead try to post large group shots and never use a child’s name without parent’s permission.
• Look over a picture carefully before posting—you never know what’s happening or not happening in the background.
• Even if it might be funny, don’t post something that looks like it’s extremely dangerous without context. And even, with context make sure it’s in good taste and represents your church/ministry well.
How do you leverage social media as a children’s pastor? Tomorrow, it’s a youth pastor’s perspective.