Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Facebook for the Kingdom...

Facebook is an incredible tool for ministry.  It can also be a distraction and even become an addiction which could implode your ministry.

I have come to use Facebook quite intentionally.  I still have the random status update about how good my coffee was this morning, but I do stop and think before anything I post.   As a youth pastor I know that the majority of my youth group and other ministries are all on Facebook, and will most probably see everything that goes up on my 'timeline'. One of the benefits of Facebook is that people can get an insight into my life.  I'm not just the 'pastor' - that figure who is somewhat disconnected in a leadership role.

Yet as I said, even my personal posts have become more 'intentional', giving an insight into a specific part of my life, or beginning a thought process I might be able to delve into later by showing a snippet of what's going on with me.

The key tool I use though is the 'chat' feature.  As a youth pastor I keep that online nearly all the time. It's an instant, easy and accessible means of communication for the youth of today.  They know that if Dean has that little green circle next to his name they can send a message and I will see it and respond - I'm not saying it's an overly meaningful form of communication, or is equivalent to face to face conversations or even phone contact.  But it is immediate and a comfortable form of initial contact - and in that it is invaluable!

The private group feature allows you to build your own online community.  For youth groups it's best to have private and closed groups - taking into account risk assessments and Child Safe stuff.   Photos, events, invitations, ads... can all be seen in one focused centre for the entire group.  You can get quick feedback through comments - and even 'likes' may give you an idea of how well certain events or even sermons were accepted.

Finally I have numerous other websites and tools that link into my Facebook.  This blog posts an automatic link to both my timeline and the dBay Baptist Group timeline.  I've found that though few people comment on this actual blog, it can generate some discussion over on Facebook.

I think as pastors we should be thinking about how we can utalise Facebook better.  It not only connects us to our church, but to the whole world.  Somehow we must use it to forward the Kingdom of God.


Jenny leslie said...

I like your 'intentionality', Dean. I think it is important for all of us to be encouragers and lift one another up, help carry burdens and face book definately allows for that. I also agree that some people need to remember that everyone sees what they post so if they have 'friended' youth they need to make sure their posts are 'teen-friendly'. I have seen some disappointing posts that have made me question whether I want my children being on line friends with some adults from church. Jenny

Deano said...

Yes that's a fair call - especially if people are involved in the youth ministry then I would be asking them to keep things such.

however I'd hope that people in the church would be mature enough anyway. We all need to be careful of the image we portray to the world.

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