Guest Post

Where are the church social media policies?

The church is not known for responding quickly to cultural
change. But really: almost seven years after Facebook launched, with thousands
of pastors using Twitter, and NPR running stories
on how Facebook and texting may break up marriages, I figured many churches,
regional bodies and even denominations would have developed social media
policies by now.

Yet a recent search turned up limited results:

  • The
    Episcopal Diocese
    of Connecticut has some social
    media guidelines
  • Holy
    Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., shares its policy
    on its website.
  • Church Crunch has tips
    on how to make your own guidelines.
  • The last PC(USA) General Assembly enjoyed this
  • A few bloggers have thought about such issues--David
    , Bruce
    --and I shared my personal Facebook guidelines in a recent post here.

Maybe my search skills and personal contacts are more
limited than I realize, but after a few days of searching I found a dearth of
church social media policies. I expect the main reason is that policies like
this often develop because of misuse
and abuse, not before it. So, sadly,
when sexual misconduct by pastors and others by way of social media becomes
more common, the policies will follow.

Please tell me I've missed some policies. Has your church
discussed the appropriate use of social media by pastors and youth leaders?
What standards do you use? Bonus points for links to more policies.

Adam J. Copeland

Adam J. Copeland is director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog is part of the CCblogs network.

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