After the initial thrill of laboring in Church Comms ministry begins to fade, you might feel brutally punched in the gut by a handful of disconcerting realities. Don't get me wrong. Church Comms is still fun and, if it's your calling from God, it can be one of the most fulfilling things you choose to do with your life. Take it from me. I'm 36 and I've been in church tech since I was a nerdy high school sophomore. Fast forward to now and I've been the Comms Director for my church for over a decade and counting. And the last four years-plus as full-time Comms Director for 6.14 Ministries — a church revitalization 501(c)(3) nonprofit that my dad and I launched together here in south Alabama in 2018. I've been having a blast. (I'm still a nerd too.)
It just would've been nice if someone had given me the magic codebook on digital media ministry long before I found myself drowning in countless late-night (sometimes overnight) sermon graphic template redesigns.
But, since no such book actually exists (shocker, I know), allow me to use this post to reveal a few of the mysteries and unknowns. I'll be sure to wrap it all out with some thoughts on how to maintain your sanity and still have a blast in the process.
What No One Ever Tells You About Church Comms:
#1. It's often utterly exhausting.
I'm always tickled by the zealous newbies who come barreling headfirst into digital ministry thinking that as long as they write occasionally engaging content on Facebook, they're golden. I wish it were that simple. Good Church Comms Ministers will spend way more time personally replying to comments, direct messages, e-mails, prayer requests, etc. and will analyze and adjust things across multiple social media platforms as needed. They'll also scrutinize data in the dashboards and use it to better market the church in an effort to reach the local community and the world with the Gospel. It's a full-time, 24/7 job. The Internet and social media never sleep (which means you won't either.)
#2. Church Comms is a tough grind and graphic design is only a part of it.
For some, this might be earth-shattering news. Design is only part of the Church Communications process. Marketing, public relations, print material, digital and social media management, live event operations, personal contact/communication, conflict resolution, pastoral staff communication, audio/video/lighting, board room proposals and budget pitches, and much more are all part of this ministry niche. Also, you have to work with people from every walk of life imaginable, which keeps things interesting to say the least, especially if you're an introvert.
On a side note: Design won't always be effortless. What you envision for your pastor's sermon series theme may be completely different than what he has in mind. Be willing to go back to the drawing board as many times as it takes.
#3. Social media is fluid and things change without warning.
One of the more difficult and complex aspects of the social media landscape — particularly over the last two to five years — is that it is constantly shifting and changing. This is especially true for platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where the algorithms seemingly change on a dime. (Ever heard of the Metaverse?) As a Church Communicator working in social media management, you'll need to keep up with these developments. You can expect little things to change along the way — like page cover sizes and image resolution requirements — but algorithms are a whole different ball of wax.
#4. People can be rude, mean, and critical, even unintentionally.
You'll come to develop a thick skin working in Church Comms (and in ministry in general.) People will insult, change, modify, or even completely delete and remove things that you spent countless hours designing, planning, structuring, coordinating, and establishing. A lot of times this will happen by accident. Sometimes it will be on purpose. You can't always take it personal, even when it feels personal. Respond with Christlike love and kindness, even to those who complain about worship media font sizes being too small to read or the lighting in the sanctuary being too dark during the music. If you got into ministry looking for a pat on the back every week, then you might want to start searching for a new line of work. Just sayin.'
#5. Page likes and follows don't matter. Engagement, discipleship, and spiritual growth do.
One of the more prevalent fallacies I see amongst today's generation of Church Comms creatives is the assumption that digital fame equals more disciples. That's not always the case. In fact, it's rarely the case. You can have an incredibly entertaining, interactive, and visually stunning digital presence that attracts hoards of new followers and never see an ounce of spiritual growth, life transformation, or discipleship take place as a result. Spend less of your time and energy trying to build an impressive online appearance and more time being the hands and feet of Jesus in the digital sphere.
#6. You're not Superman/woman. You need a team.
Believe it or not, you need sleep and time to refuel like anyone else. You're not indestructible and you can't design, manage, post, write, and oversee everything yourself. Whether your Church Comms objectives are rudimentary and basic or impressive and complex, you'll need a team of people to help with everything that is required to meet the goals. Make sure that your team members feel comfortable asking questions and admitting when they're unsure of how to do something. The more you help each other and build off of one another's strengths, the better team you'll be.
#7. Even the best technology will fail.
I don't care if it's the latest, greatest Apple gizmo or gadget. I don't care how many knobs, lights, or channel controls it has. If it can shatter, explode, or burst into flames for no apparent reason and at the worst time possible, then it will. It's only a matter of when. These fun moments will force you and your team to think on your feet and maintain your cool while simultaneously solving the problem. Good luck.
#8. Theology is a part of your job.
It might be the natural impulse of many a Comms Director to have volunteers engage with and reply to visitors to the website and social media platforms. (Believe me, I'd love to do this myself.) But as a leader you have to remember that your digital audience is full of real people who have real-life situations. One thing that COVID taught us in particular is that it's more important than ever to designate someone who can pray for people online in real time, comfort them, answer their questions with theologically sound explanations, reference Scripture, and truly minister to them. (If that person has to be you, then so be it.) Working in Church Comms means that you will often be the voice of your church and there is an extremely large weight that comes with that position and the responsibility should not be taken lightly.
#9. Your ideas won't always sell.
Creatives occasionally have a tough time being told to go back to the drawing board. Whether it's lighting projects, audio production, graphic design, digital and social media management, or anything in-between, we retain a strong and deep sense of personal connection to our work. I've pitched many sermon graphic designs over the years that weren't even close to what the pastor was looking for. I have to be okay with returning to the drawing board each time. So do you. Keep the bigger picture in mind and remember that all of your work is for Christ, not men. (Colossians 3:23-24)
#10. Shortcuts are not your friend.
Not only are shortcuts in Church Comms a bad idea, they don't even really exist in the first place. Taking the easy way out on graphic design, digital and audio production, social media management, etc. will just cheapen the quality of your work and lead to oodles of problems and headaches for you, your team, and the church. There are no "hacks" in this ministry niche and to try to use or implement any just makes you look like a lazy hack yourself. Stay away from these, as tempting as they might seem.
How To Stay Sane, Have a Blast and Other Important Final Thoughts:
Church Comms is hard work. Period. So is ministry. The combination of technology and ministry is an interesting and completely different animal altogether. A few tips, thoughts, and advice from personal experience:
What do you wish someone would've told you about Church Comms early on? Is there a thought you want to share with your fellow techies and creatives? Drop a comment in the thread below or shoot me a direct message!
Ministry has been more hectic, chaotic, and wildly unpredictable than ever before as we emerge from COVID and still deal with its lingering ramifications over two years later.
Are you managing your church's digital and social media platforms on a regular basis? Whether you're the pastor, a lay leader, volunteer, or the full-time Communications Director, you've probably realized by now that simply posting once a day to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter isn't enough. After you take the time to write/proof/copy-edit your content, design your graphics, edit your audio/video content, define your target audience, develop your communications strategy, and implement your objectives, there's still a critical piece to the puzzle: Digital & Social Media Engagement.
Most churches didn't have a problem with this during the peak of the pandemic. People were responding to texts, social media comments and messages, e-mails, website contact forms, and even video call platforms like FaceTime and Zoom. And it made sense. These people were scared, uncertain, and many were desperately searching for some feeling of stability, some sense of community, and a silver lining in the midst of an otherwise bleak and frightening situation.
Now we're slowly returning to a sense of normalcy — or at least a new normalcy — and with it has come a dip in digital media engagement for most churches. Their e-mail conversations are few and far between. Direct messages on their website forms are almost nonexistent. And interactions across their social media platforms are waning.
What to do? What to do? Well, fear not. If you lost some of your online audience interaction after the COVID panic subsided, you can regain those people (or new people altogether.) Even if you think you've damaged your church's brand in the digital and/or local community — your reputation, name, etc. — in regards to engagement, you can still mend it.
It's all about making the engagement more relational. Jesus was relational and He calls us — His disciples, His Church — to follow Him. Here are a few tips and ideas on what that can and should look like:
#1. Speak to the Soul.
Do you know your online audience? Are you intimately acquainted with the type of content that inspires them? Moves them? Motivates them? The kind of colors, phrases, stories, Scripture, and photos that make them hit Like, Share, or Retweet every time? Have you realized that part — or even a lot — of your digital audience may not even be sitting in your church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings?
Everything that you write, compose, shoot, edit, design, export, post, and produce for your digital and social media platforms and channels should be done so with your audience in mind. Discover who that audience is and what speaks to their soul. Then craft those elements into your content.
There's a saying that those of us in the Church Communications world use a lot: You've got to stop the scroll. This is truer now than it's ever been. Your content quality matters because it needs to be seen, read, and heard by your specific niche target audience amongst a sea of other competing content. In other words: Your content may be getting lost in the noise.
The goal here is for your audience to feel as if you care about them and are speaking directly to them, regardless of whether or not they like or share your content.
#2. Create Conversation.
The best evidence of digital media engagement isn't the likes, shares, retweets, or even the comments. As great as those are, engagement truly blossoms relationally when someone is moved enough by your content to share it, thereby creating a chain reaction of re-shares, resulting in online conversations all centered around your original source material.
Whether it's a full-length sermon video or something as simple as a well-designed Scripture graphic, shared content has the ability to reach an audience much bigger than your original target audience. That's the sweet spot of relational digital ministry.
#3. Seek Out and Embrace Those Who Are Different.
One of the basic definitions of different is "not ordinary; unusual." You'll never be successful — scripturally or practically — with real relational engagement until you're passionate about reaching those who are different than you (and your church.)
Jesus hung out with, loved on, mingled with, and conversed with unusual, weird, strange, smelly, sick, hurting, broken, crazy, sinful, evil, and controversial people all the time. He talked with everyone from Pharisees and tax collectors to peasants and fishermen. In the midst of His own agony and suffering, He responded to the thief on the cross and welcomed him into Heaven.
If the Church is to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the digital sphere, we must follow His example and not only seek out those who are different, but embrace them and love them as He would. This means not shying away from e-mails, text messages, direct messages, comments, or social media interactions with people who do drugs, drink alcohol, spew profanity, have criminal histories, struggle with pornography, homosexuality, gender and identity confusion, or a host of other sins.
By bringing the love of Jesus and the light and hope of the Gospel to social media and the Internet, we create an opportunity to build bridges and relationships with men, women, and children from all walks of life who need Jesus and the Gospel. And that's what it's all about.
#4. Disciple Through Content.
Jesus' method of reaching people is the one we should truly mirror. As He walked this earth and rubbed shoulders with humanity, He did so as one who always had its best interests at heart. He was humble, compassionate, sensitive, encouraging, and consoling. He gained trust, healed pain and brokenness, confronted sin, calmed doubts and fears, and then simply said, "Follow Me."
The primary goal of relational digital engagement for the Local Church is to see an individual transform from an indifferent or apathetic consumer into a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Believe it or not, our Savior's techniques from over 2,000 years ago are still just as relevant and applicable in this strange and complex era of TikTok, FaceTime, emojis, gifs, newsfeeds, and memes.
Through our presence on social media and the Internet, we have an opportunity — arguably a responsibility if you're familiar with the Great Commission — to encounter people where they are and invite them into a personal relationship with Jesus. And from there, we must cultivate healthy community, encourage the idea of doing life together, bring people into small groups, and build one-to-one relationships.
Discipleship isn't just a one-time thing. It's a lifelong process of continuous spiritual growth supported by and within a spiritual community (i.e. the Local Church) — and digital media engagement can and should bring people into this community.
Digital media engagement, especially for the Local Church, is not about how many likes your latest post will accumulate. It's not about how many followers you can gain on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And it's not even about how many views your sermon livestream racks up. It's a continuous process that connects people to Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with Him while inviting them to partake in the greatest journey of their lives — the greatest journey of all time — a journey that will matter for eternity.
What does relational digital media engagement look like for your church? Want some coaching on how to improve your engagement? Is there something else you would add to my thoughts? Drop a comment below, shoot me a DM on social, or send me an e-mail and let's talk!
Volunteers are the backbone and lifeblood of the Local Church. And healthy churches should always strive to cultivate an atmosphere of appreciating volunteers and encouraging biblical servanthood.
Nowadays, most churches have multiple volunteers spread across each of their individual ministry venues. But even if your church just has a handful, that's ok (especially if they're committed and passionate.) In fact, it's great!
I've been honored to serve alongside some amazing volunteers during my years in the ministry thus far. Whether it's been in teaching, leading worship, student ministry, or Church Communications, I'm so grateful for the people who have impacted and continue to impact my life (and your life too.) I wouldn't be who I am or where I am without many of them coaching me, praying for me, and just flat out discipling me and putting up with me. (I can be a bit OCD sometimes. If my dad is reading this: Hi, dad.)
Here's the reality: It doesn't matter how big your church is or how many people are on your tech team. You might have a team of 30 or you may be manning everything alone while juggling three other hats. You might even be the lead pastor and the social media manager. The most important thing to remember is that everything we do — audio, video, lighting, digital and social media, graphic design — is all meant to usher people in the presence of God so that they can feel free to worship and to engage with or hear a Christ-centered, Gospel-exalting message.
I've been to big churches. I've seen the cutting edge equipment and the endless supply of tech volunteers. And there's nothing wrong with either of those. But, the beating heart of a great Church Comms ministry lies within how hard the volunteers work every week. The size of your team and glamour of your gear are not — and never should be — the primary focus or concern.
Here are five attributes I've come to look for, admire, and respect in church tech volunteers, including the ones with whom I currently serve.
#1. They Arrive Ahead of Schedule and Ready To Start.
I worked clothing retail for almost 15 years. Believe me, the majority of folks in our modern work culture are totally fine with showing up right on time or even five to ten minutes late. A superior Church Comms volunteer will not only arrive well ahead of the service, but will also have all of his/her required preservice duties completed at least by the night before.
#2. They Love God and Love People.
A lot of church techies enjoy being able to work behind the scenes, blend in, and sort of go unnoticed. And that's, like, totally lit, bro. But it doesn't mean you get a pass from Mark 12:30-31. You're in this ministry for a reason and God has called you to an extraordinary (and sometimes overwhelming) task. Walk faithfully with Him throughout the week and arrive on Sundays connected with God and ready to care for His people.
#3. They Respect the Church's Equipment and Gear.
This may come as a total shock, but your 20 ounce Venti Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks doesn't really mix well with your church's Behringer X32. Fingertips covered in Dorito cheese dust don't belong on your church's iMac keyboard. God blessed your church with the funds to be able to have the gear that it has. Be respectful of that and take good care of the equipment as you use it to glorify Him and bless others. Remember: These are God's resources, not yours.
#4. They Are Onboard With and Passionate About the Vision of the Church.
When I'm not going full speed as Communications Director for 6.14 Ministries, I serve as Comms Director for Northside Bible Church in Mobile, Alabama. My dad has been the lead pastor there for over 20 years now. We're a little country church in the city, but our motto has always been Light For The Coast (our logo is a lighthouse) and our mission has always been To Reach The Lost and Raise Up A Biblically-Functioning Community. If I'm not onboard with either of those, and passionate about helping to turn our vision into a reality, then I might as well pack up and go home. Superior tech volunteers are wholeheartedly committed to, and excited about, the goals and objectives of the church.
#5. They Are Coachable.
This goes for volunteers across the board and church techies are no exception. I am preaching to the choir here when I say this, but if you can't take constructive criticism or be told that you need to learn a better way of doing something, then church comms ministry may not be your calling. When my dad was a kid he played a lot of team sports and went on to play in high school as well. His older brother was even his coach for a time. One thing I've learned from the stories he's told me is that you don't always have to be the strongest, smartest, or most talented kid on the field. Sometimes, even if you're average, you just have to be teachable and willing to learn in order to win. Superior church comms volunteers are always open to instruction and are team players.
What Are Your Thoughts?
There are a dozen other attributes and characteristics I could ramble on about, but I'll stop here and see what you guys think. What have you found to be some of the best tech volunteer traits in your ministry experience? Do any of the traits I discussed ring true of your team or could it be time for enhancement and growth? Drop a comment below or shoot me a DM or an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you!
I know what you're thinking: "Criticism? Nah. That only happens to those pastors and elders. Won't ever happen to me, bro. I work behind the scenes with all the techy stuff. I'm safe."
I hate to rain on your parade and poop all over your party, but yes, you will be on the receiving end of criticism, even in the Church Communications world. This is ministry. And if you're in ministry at any level, there will be criticism. In fact, some of it may very well be harsh criticism. It could be leveraged at your work, your team, or even at you as a person. Whatever the case, it will be happen. That I can promise you. What matters is how you perceive it, process it, and respond to it.
During much of my early years in Church Comms, I struggled with receiving criticism. And it's no wonder, really: I was that young, high school-aged, wildly inexperienced, know-it-all, hot-shot brat who thought he had everything figured out when it came to digital media, social media, graphic design, video production, public relations, marketing, and communications and how those elements integrated with the Local Church At Large and the Gospel. Little did I know that my college years were going to blow my mind on all of those things and then some deeper real-world experience would blow my mind even more. (It's a wonder I still have a mind at this point.)
Over the course of my twenties and thirties I came to learn that criticism in the ministry world is just a normal part of life for people at every level — from the sweet grandmother volunteering in the nursery to the lead pastor of the church and everyone in between. No one is immune from it. And, frankly, you should enter ministry expecting it to happen at some point.
Of course, this doesn't make it any easier to handle. I still cringe when I receive complaints about a project I had a hand in; rude comments about how our livestream isn't good enough; insults about an on-screen graphic I designed; remarks about a font being too hard to see; or a challenge to a comms decision that I made. So often my flesh has wanted to respond with nothing but pure, sweet, unadulterated sarcasm. It's just the way I'm wired. Obviously, this would be the worst thing that I could possibly do.
So, what is one to do when criticism comes knocking at the door? Here are a few tips and suggestions from my own experience and my years as a pastor's son:
#1. First, do nothing. Take a deep breath and chill out.
One of my favorite lines from the 1985 western cult classic film Silverado comes from Kevin Kline's character Paden when he says, "I'm a great believer in doin' nothing."
Believe me I know you want to blast a fiery zinger right back across the bow as soon as you receive that harsh e-mail, direct message, comment, text, or phone call. I've been there. We all have. It can be easy for anger to flare up and before you know it we're on an emotional rollercoaster for the rest of the day. This is never good. You won't be worth much for Kingdom work when you're seething with rage or letting criticism drown you in depression or discouragement.
A lot of times we think we can respond quickly and just make the situation go away. Sadly, quick responses usually wind up making things worse because we respond in anger or frustration. Take an entire day and step away from the criticism, whatever it happens to be. Pray. Rest. Reflect. Seek guidance, wisdom, or counsel if needed. But never respond hastily in anger.
#2. Ask yourself if the criticism is actually true.
It’s so easy to just dismiss a critic without a second thought, especially after you’ve just been run over by a Mack Truck of total hostility and rudeness. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys that feeling. But, if you’re going to mature in ministry — as well as grow spiritually — then you really do have to assess and examine the criticism to see if there’s any substance to it. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary and always worth it in the end.
#3. Ask yourself how Jesus would respond.
I know this is the “Christianese” answer, but you’d be stunned how many pieces of criticism you’ll be able to diffuse or walk away from by simply responding with the love and grace that Jesus would if He were in your shoes. If you’ve been walking with the Lord long enough, then it really shouldn’t be all that difficult to know how He would reply to that furious congregant who criticized something about your church’s social media or that fellow staff member who blasted you in an e-mail. Jesus dealt with criticism all the time during His days on earth. He was opposed by an entire group of people who hated Him and spent much of His adult life dealing with people who couldn’t stand Him. Love your critics the way Jesus loved His. Extend them grace the way Jesus extended grace to His.
#4. Don’t take the criticism personally.
This can be hard to do, especially in the Church Comms world where so much of our ministry is attached to the things we create and the endless hours we spend perfecting designs, managing social media, strategizing posts, writing and proofing copy, setting up sound and lighting, and many other tasks. When someone criticizes our work, we almost feel as if we’ve been attacked on a very deep and personal level. It’s like they’ve said something mean about us. But, we have to be mature enough to separate our worth and value and our identities from our work and remember that — at the end of the day — everything we do and create is all for Christ and His Kingdom. And His approval is all that matters.
#5. Be personable, engaging, and relational when you respond.
This applies whether you're responding in-person or digitally. I learned this the hard way from over a decade of working in the customer service industry. There’s nothing that will surprise a critic more than receiving a cordial and friendly message after they just sent you a nasty one. So often in the business world — and yes, even in the ministry world — people expect you to stoop to their level and reply in a similar way. But, why not rise above all of that? Go a step further and speak with that person face-to-face if possible. In other words, don't hide behind the glow of your computer screen like some sort of digital monk furiously pecking away on your keyboard. You're better than that. Offer to meet them somewhere for coffee or lunch at the location of their choosing. Heck, offer to pay. I can guarantee you'll not only surprise them, you'll be on your way to diffusing the tension as well. (Side-note: Most critics are much braver in their e-mails and social media messages than they are in person. If you don't believe me, let's talk about trolls sometime.) And as long as both of you are mature enough to talk through the issue, it will all likely go away on its own.
How do you handle criticism in the Church Comms world? What have your experiences been like and what have they taught you? Is there anything you would add to my list? Drop a comment below or shoot me a DM or an e-mail. I'd love to hear from you!
Social media can be a really crazy arena where emotions tend to run high. Millions of people spend endless hours per day glued to their devices and immerse themselves in high-stress, high-drama, high-angst content like politics, Hollywood celebrity news, crime news, personal gossip in their own friendship circles, etc. There have been dozens of psychological studies on the negative effects that prolonged time spent on social media can actually have on the human mind.
In a culture that's become more divided and opinionated than ever, you've probably noticed people becoming more outspoken than ever before on social media where things were already tense, emotional, and drama-oriented. And if you're a social media manager for your church, then you might have noticed that you've had to keep a closer eye on the comment sections of your platforms — whether it's Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And whether you're a pastor or the Communications Minister/Director at your church, you might even notice that social media interactions between people in your own church have become more tense or politically-charged.
So, What Should We Do?
#1. Post Plenty of Bible Verses.
"For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the hearts." — Hebrews 4:12 (The King James says the Word of God is powerful.)
There will be far less likelihood for people to engage in drama and tension in the comment threads of your pages or profiles if you're posting Scriptural content. The Word of God has power to speak directly to people where they are in life. Sometimes the simplest post of a Bible verse to your church's Facebook Page can minister to one of your followers in ways that you might never know. I really do believe in the power of Scripture even over social media and in its ability to gently soothe, alleviate, and dissolve tension, hostility, and animosity.
#2. Be a Role Model and Lead By Example.
As a pastor/church leader, don't engage in drama, hostility, political nonsense, etc. on social media yourself on your own personal profiles or in the comment threads of other Pages where your church congregants might see what you're saying. Don't get caught up in petty or trivial debates on social media that don't matter or further the Gospel. — "Don't have anything to do with foolish or stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." - 2 Timothy 2:23
On a side note: There's nothing wrong with posting FUN stuff on social media. I'm totally all for that. But there's a difference between having fun and stirring up pointless drama or hostility. As the administrator of your church's Page, don't ever post anything to the Page that could be controversial or might incite potential hostility, arguments, debates, etc. — "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men." - Romans 12:18
#3. Keenly Monitor And Observe All Platforms.
To "keenly" observe something literally means to intently, intelligently, and attentively monitor it. You should be doing this every day with the platforms that you manage. It really should go without saying if you're a social media manager. Nevertheless, it will absolutely help to alleviate potential hostility and drama issues on your Page if you are regularly aware of what is happening on the Page. In other words: You should be checking in on it throughout the day. Know who is posting what on your Page. — "Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else." - Galatians 6:4
#4. Delete or Hide Comments When Necessary.
Social media is home to a lot of people who are just plain bullies and live to intentionally blast Christians in comment threads. They are known as trolls. Do not respond to them. Do not reply to them. Do not engage with them. Most trolls aren't even loyal followers of your Page anyway. They don't attend your church. They probably stumbled across your Page through an ad or sidebar or a share from a friend. My Church Communications buddy Seth Muse is the king of writing about how to deal with trolls. He has a phrase he likes to use: "Don't feed the trolls." As the administrator of the Page account, you have total control over what comments will be displayed on the Page. There is a difference between hiding a comment and deleting a comment. Know the difference and know when to do one or the other. Don't get all panicked and worried about deleting a comment from your church Page or hurting someone's feelings. You can always direct message the individual and explain why you deleted their comment if you feel that it is appropriate to do so.
#5. Speaking of Direct Messages...
The private message feature is always another great tool for alleviating a potentially hostile situation or calming someone down or addressing a sensitive issue because it's, well, private. That's the whole point! It's a conversation between you — the Page administrator — and that individual. Doing this can seem like a lot of work or potentially awkward, but I promise that taking the time to personally engage with someone more directly — especially because of how impersonal social media already feels — can really go a long way in helping that individual feel like you actually care about their question or problem. Here's a Pro Tip: Be speedy when it comes to DMs. Not only do people appreciate you taking their questions and concerns seriously, but Facebook also displays how well your Page replies to DMs right there on the Page itself.
#6. Consider Developing A Social Media Policy For Your Church If Necessary.
A social media policy is essentially a booklet-style set of guidelines — usually in print form and PDF form — for how an organization's employees should conduct themselves while on various social media platforms. Most small churches do not have this, although that doesn't mean that they shouldn't consider it. These tend to be more common in the "big church world." If you're going to assemble one of these, be sure to include guidelines for how church leaders should act on social media in regards to the kind of content they should post. Back up your statements with Scripture verses. Make sure the guidelines apply to how they act on their own personal profiles and when they post content to the church Pages or account as well.
A good verse to include in your policy for this point: Colossians 4:6 — "Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (NIV)
A few things to consider including in your policy:
If you're the Communications Director or Communications Pastor, you can and should have guidelines for the person who will be running the Page(s) and social media accounts. These should include things such as:
#7. Be A Communications Pastor More Than A Communications Director.
Always care more about people than about media, design, perfection, and production. Care about using your God-given gifts and talents to promote and influence peace, unity, and harmony in the Body of Christ for the betterment of your church and the Kingdom of God as a whole. Always be willing to learn from someone who is a little further down the road from you in the ministry, especially if it's your field or notch of ministry. Listen to older and wiser counsel, pastors, elders, deacons, etc.
Further Verses For Reflection:
"So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another." — Romans 14:19
"My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." – James 1:19
"There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing." — Proverbs 12:18
"Honor belongs to the person who ends a dispute; but any fool can get himself into a quarrel." — Proverbs 20:3
How Can I Help You?
Need help overhauling your church website? Ready to implement some social media? Stuck on how to design and develop better social media graphics or manage your social media pages? Want some help with effective church marketing and community relations? Book me for a coaching session or request me to speak at your church about these issues. Want to meet for coffee first? Visit my contact page and send me a direct message.