Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Facebook Pastors

Is your pastor on Facebook? Or MySpace? How about LinkedIn? Do you follow your pastor on Twitter? Are you getting his (or her) Facebook updates or Tweets throughout the day?

This past year I've made quite an intentional effort to engage the social networks. Mostly I wanted to see if they were really as relevant as everyone seems to think. In the process, I've "friended" or followed several different pastors from several different churches. They include senior pastors, executive pastors, administrative pastors, youth pastors and even worship pastors.

In a nutshell, I think I've got the ground covered on pastors and their Facebooking or Tweeting. And I've got a pretty good representative sample across a range of churches - from big, mega-churches to smaller community churches. Don't get me wrong. I actually know all of these people. It would also be fair to categorize some of them as true friends of mine.

But the collage of all these relationships assembled on-line is an interesting one. It's represented in each of the social networks - but Facebook and Twitter are the ones I find most intriguing. Let's look at the pastors I'm connected with on Facebook, for example.

I'm not sure what's up with the pastors on Facebook. I suspect they all have different trains of thought behind their posts. That appears pretty obvious in their updates.

Overall, there seem to be a couple of different categories of pastors on Facebook. Just like all other people "on Facebook," some pastors simply establish a profile ... and hardly ever log in or post any updates. Then there are the pastors who are on Facebook ... literally. They log in and post throughout the day, or at least with daily or near daily frequency. Like I said, this is quite similar to people from other walks of life who are allegedly on these social networks.

Now of those pastors who are actually active on a frequent basis on Facebook, the things they're posting seem to fall into two or three categories:

1. Updates that are personal in nature and let you know what's going on in the life of that individual. "Having coffee on the porch with my daughter, enjoying the sunset."

2. Updates that are fluffy and don't really say anything. (Posting Bible verses and interesting quotes - that belong to other people.)

3. Updates that look like billboard advertisements or cheers for the football time. "Going to be an awesome service tomorrow! You can't afford to miss it!"

Of course, there are those pastors that play Farmville, Mafia Wars or other Facebook games. (And as I said earlier, the pastors who just have a profile and don't post at all.)

So what is best?

If God called you to be a pastor, what do you suppose God expects of you in terms of Facebook? Does He even want you on Facebook in the first place? If so, how does He want you on Facebook? Are your Facebook posts Spirit-led? Should they be? Or is Facebook a place where a man (or woman) of God should just let their hair down and be real? Can you set your role as a pastor aside in some walks of life, such as on the golf course, at parties or on social networks?

I know this will come as a surprise to those who read me regularly, but I actually don't have a position to take on this one. I haven't come to a conclusion one way or the other. As you can tell though, I'm studying it. And I'm learning from my pastor friends and their Facebook posts.

While I'm thinking this through, I'm remembering the fact that pastors are called to be shepherds and care for the sheep. I'm wondering if any of them see Facebook as a tool to help them in that role. So far none of them seems to. Frankly, I think that's a bit odd.

Businesses, for example, are finding that social networks are great tools to better serve their customers - which has many of the same dynamics as caring for sheep. Could it be that Facebook would improve the effectiveness of a shepherd, called and anointed by God Himself, to feed and care for the sheep?

I'm going to keep studying this. But I can tell you now, I suspect there's a revelation in here somewhere! (And I'll let you know when I find it.)

No comments:

Post a Comment