October 24, 2016

3 Ways Ministry Leaders Lose Influence on Social Media

It is estimated that 95 percent of unchurched people are online. Not only are most people online, but most people are also engaging in social networking.

In 5 Reasons I Love Online Ministry, I wrote that this era of the internet, social media, blogs and podcasting have provided tremendous missional and evangelistic opportunities. There hasn’t been a culture-shifting communication tool this powerful since the printing press.

As the former owner of a Christian PR service in 2007, Twitter was my first encounter with social media. As a business owner, I quickly realized that social media was not only a great resource for business, but could be a great resource for ministry as well.

Not only does social media give you access to an audience, but it also gives an audience access to you. This is great news, however, with this technology comes responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required. 

As it relates to ministry, social media is a platform that if used correctly, will give you the ability to reach an audience you wouldn't have access to otherwise. So don’t ruin a great opportunity. 

The following are some of the key mistakes I see with ministry leaders on social media that are influence killers.
  1. Be mindful of spelling and grammar.

    Even if your entire ministry consists of young people, slang is hard to read and looks terrible when it consumes the entire post. I get it... I was a youth minister at one time, but there is a time and a season for ALL things.

    Sometimes our minds move faster than we can type, so it is a good idea to read what you have written before you post it. When you do this, you not only catch any spelling or grammar mistakes, but you may discover that your tone or passion may not be conveyed with enough understanding and grace. You may want to rephrase a word or sentence so as not to embarrass yourself or someone else. 

    Facebook and Instagram provide the option to edit after you post, so it is a good idea to take advantage of it if needed. God help you with Twitter.

  2. Let your moderation be known to all. 

    It’s OK to share a personal accomplishment, even certain personal issues, but be careful not to over disclose. The job of a leader is to help develop more leaders. Too much of anything is never good. 

    When you post something on social media, you’re not just telling someone about your life issues and circumstances, you’re telling everyone. 

    As a ministry leader, you don’t want your posts to come across as bragging, self-absorbed or immature. Posting too much about your personal life and issues can cause you to lose influence with those you lead. It can also cause people to lose respect for you and/or your position. 

  3. It's not about you, or is it?

    When using social media as an extension of your ministry, be mindful not to consistently or constantly use images of yourself when it is not necessary. Doing so can lead a person to assume that you are selfish, insecure, or a narcissist. 

    If you preach and teach that it’s not about you, then you should demonstrate that it’s not about you.
Social media provides you an audience. And, no matter the size of your audience, what you post will either kill your influence or increase it.

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