6 Social Media Rules Every Pastor Should break

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There are lots of social meda “rules” that form over time. Just as with any product or service, usage often determines the unspoken set of ground rules. And if you’re not careful, those “rules” can pigeon-hole you.

And nobody likes a pigeon hole. Well, nobody but pigeons.

image credit: CreationSwap user Paule Patterson, edits mine

Whether you’re a pastor that’s a casual user or a power user, a rookie or a veteran, there are certain rules that you should adhere to. Rules that will help you with engagement…and help you not come across as

1. Completely out of touch with culture.

2. A self-centered self-promoter.

3.  A person that others unfollow when they read your updates.

So here are 6 rules that every pastor should break daily with social media.

6 Rules Pastors Should Break

1. Only quote the Bible

We know that you’re in love with the Bible. We get it. But there’s got to be more to who you are than random quotes from Scripture, right? Didn’t Martin Luther say anything good? CS Lewis? Can’t you come up with anything worth saying that’s at least remotely original? How about reading your Bible and applying it…and making that an update?

2. Keep up your “professional pastor” persona.

You’re not a walking Christian zombie, are you? You don’t only read Christian books, only watch Christian movies, and only eat at Christian restaurants, do you? There has got to be more to you than the Christian subculture. Building relationships with those outside of the faith isn’t going to happen if you’re tweeting YouTube videos out like this one, of Michael W Smith from the late 80s. Gotta love the vest. I think the song should’ve gone, “Nobody knew I could rock a vest like this…”

3. If you’re frustrated, complain. A lot.

Twitter can become a megaphone for you to voice your complaints about a lot of things: culture at large, politics, “other” pastors, or even your own church. Complaining doesn’t become you, though. In fact, Paul urges us

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, especially on Twitter… – James 5:9 (additions mine)

 4. Never update during “work” hours.

Give people an inside peek into who you are and what you do during your normal day. A behind-the-scenes, if you will. Social media can be a great voice for Truth and engagement throughout your week. Don’t have time to update during your work day? Schedule updates when you’ve got a few minutes.

5. Never share personal information.

Bologna. Share who you are. Share what you value. Talk about your family. Talk about your struggles. Share your pain. Your joy. Your victories.

6. Only follow other Christians.

If pastors want to bring hope to the hurting, grace to the downtrodden, and Truth to the places where people engage, we’ve got to track along with those outside of our Christian bubbles. And here’s a freebie for you…nobody judges your theology by who you follow on Twitter and Facebook.


Do you interact more on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or on your blog?


Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.jrforasteros.com JR. Forasteros

    Love it!

    1. I know a few too many pastors who ARE only in the Christian subculture….
    2. What I love about social media is how accessible it makes everyone. I can show more of who I actually am (warts and all, so to speak) to the world. It’s an awesome way to connect with a lot of ppl who otherwise only hear me from the platform.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      1. Me, too, unfortunately. 
      2. Yes. Totally agreed!

  • http://jonfulk.com/ Jon Fulk

    right on!  break down the walls of the Christian bubble… er…  subculture.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      I’ll help you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wranne Wil Ranney

    Good rules. The one that I would add near the top of the list is “Respond to substantial comments wherever you find them.” The lines between outreach and pastoral care are getting blurred. Responding to peoples questions and concerns in whatever forum you find them is a way of doing good while promoting the good that your Christian community has to offer. 

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Love it, Wil. Great addition!

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.jarrett Harry Jarrett

    Great thoughts here. Totally agree. 

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