Do Ministry Leaders Need a Social Media Presence?

Photo by Flickr user hoyasmeg (creative commons)
Photo by Flickr user hoyasmeg (creative commons)

Seth Godin answers his own question:

What is the reason social media is so difficult for most organizations? It’s a process and not an event. Events are easier to manage, pay for and get excited about. Processes build results for the long haul. link

Why do pastors and other church leaders need a social media presence?

  • The world is full of fakes. Because of the public sin of so many who lead large ministries, there is a general suspicion of all people in church leadership.
  • The people in your congregation want to know if you are a fake. They show up, so on some level they believe in you. They are watching your life to validate what you say.
  • The people in your community already think you are a fake. You need to prove them wrong.

If you need a biblical justification for investing your time and energy in social media, look no further than the incarnation of Jesus. John 1:14 says, “He came and dwelt among the people.” The way church is run today… pastors do not dwell among the people. They dwell among their flock and their offices. (2-3% of the population of your community is hardly “the people.”) Look at the example of all of the Apostles in the New Testament. They all dwelt among the people. Most of them worked vocationally in the cities they ministered in.

A public presence, 1 hour per week, preaching in front of an audience, is simply not enough of a presence to know if you are fake or not. The fact is, if that’s all people see of you than they know you must be fake.






5 responses to “Do Ministry Leaders Need a Social Media Presence?”

  1. Walt Mueller Avatar

    Adam – great food for thought. I love the process vs. event way of thinking. We’re trying to leverage this stuff more. . . trying to do it in responsible ways. But what about this. . . don’t many people use social media to “fake it” by creating the reality they want people to see. Nothing beats in the flesh interaction. I’ve been around too many people – young and old alike – who use social media to create alternate and idealized selves. . . which is ultimately a problem with the person, and not the social media platform. I guess you’ve got me thinking here.

  2. adam mclane Avatar

    No doubt, there is a 360-degree-ness to it. When you’ve only known a person online and you meet them “in real life” for the first time, you really get a chance to see if what they are really all about. In a lot of ways, since almost all online stuff is written… you only know one voice. Meeting them in person either validates their writing or something else. My experience is ministry leaders is that they are actually cooler in real life than I imagined them to be by knowing them first online only.

    I suppose this post is best when considered in the context of a local church and its staff. In my own church, reading blog/Facebook stuff of the church staff just helps me understand them a little bit more.

  3. Richard Avatar

    I think you just blew my mind.

    #3 is killer and very true.

    I’m thinking out loud a bit, but this also seems to have implications for the way you communicate. To prove your not fake requires your communications to be “gritty”, but the way that communications has been done thus far is to aim for “glossy”. I still get the feeling sometimes that even the people who want you to be gritty want a glossier grit from everyone else. I’m not sure where the balance lies though

  4. Todd Tolson Avatar

    I definitely use social media to supplement the face-to-face relationship I have with the people at my church. The thing I love most about Twitter & Facebook is that I’ve done away with almost all small talk. Because I update regularly, and regularly read the updates of those in my church, I no longer have to talk about the weather. I can simply (and with credibility & permission) ask how their kids are or how their marriage is.

    The same goes for me. Everything I post is fair game for feedback or pushback. People are able to pray for me and family more intelligently because I participate in the “real world” of social media. Yes, I said Real World. I don’t believe that social media is in some alternate universe where people live some alternate identity. That is, unless that person doesn’t know any of their “friends” personally, and doesn’t ever plan to. I suppose that’s why I haven’t friended people I don’t some how have a connection to.

  5. Doug Ranck Avatar
    Doug Ranck

    I love the social media. It has added so much to my connections with students, parents and even board members. I use Twitter and Facebook to give all these people a peek into the life of a youth pastor. I want them to know what it is I do and some of my significant thoughts so students might consider being a youth pastor someday, so parents and board members will know better how to pray for me.

    I also love it for some of the reasons listed above. Youth who are on this media respond quickly to requests, questions and advice. It adds so much to our face-to-face conversations.

    It has also been great to stay better connected to graduates, particularly those who move away. Over the last year I have helped some find a church and stay spiritually connected just through a few simple comments on Facebook.

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