We’ve all said something on social media we’ve regretted. Thankfully, you don’t have millions of followers to where your mistakes have been in the news cycle.
Nevertheless, we as ministry leaders need to think really hard about our posture online. You’d be shocked if you knew the people watching every move you make online with your comments and posts. There are a lot of stalkers out there!
2021 begins a new era for all of us. This new era has new challenges. Let me share with you some simple guidelines to follow that I highly recommend that can help you.
I’ll state here that these are the “new era” rules I’ve set for myself and my staff regarding our online presence, both public and personal. As you read these, understand that if you don’t have a written and formal “bullet list policy” for yourself, you need one. “But Jeff, I’m not nationally known; I don’t need that.” Yes, you do. If you are a Christian, you are Christ’s ambassador on this Earth. Who is more important in this world than that? The world is watching you. You have to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.
Here are 3 guidelines for the New Era:
- Speak only positively, especially about the Church
I committed years ago to speak only positively about anyone on any public platform I have, whether digital or physical. Two years ago, the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly to commit to this in my personal life. I’m not perfect, but I continually surrender this to God and strive to only speak positively about people both publicly and privately. This has changed my life so much more for the better!
When we as believers put others down, we are diminishing our light before the world. We have the opportunity to point people up, not down. Whether you realize it or not, you are making a statement about yourself when your message is negative.
This is not to say we shy away from difficult positions and opinions that are unpopular. But I always ask myself, “Is social media the right platform on which to say this?”
But let me speak to one specific thing: our tone in how we speak about the Church. One thing that discourages me more than anything is to see Christian leaders speak in a derogatory way about the Bride of Christ. Imagine how our Groom feels.
How would it go if you went up to a friend of yours and said, “I really like you, but I can’t stand your wife!” Probably not too well.
Remember, the world is watching. Hopefully, you have people in your social media network that are not yet Christians that you are influencing. What do they think about Christians by seeing your content? I could write a lot more here, but I’ll leave it at that.
- Don’t waste your words
I believe a new rule for the future is that quality will overcome quantity. People are bombarded with content every waking minute of their day.
As our ministry has studied marketing and messaging, we’ve been exposed to many different philosophies about getting your message heard by your audience.
For many entities, more is better. The more emails, posts, and messages you get out, the more you will be heard. There is truth to this to an extent. Repetition is key to marketing.
But I believe people will be tuning out more and more to the deluge of things they are hearing. And for our personal feeds, carefully curating our words and thoughts will add punch to our message and, more importantly, to our witness.
One rule of thumb with this concept of not wasting your words is to be really careful in following the lead of the 24-hour news cycle with what you are speaking about. We have long had a mob mentality on social where many feel like they must speak out about what everyone else is speaking about.
For example. Do you remember the conversation about Target bathrooms? Many were up in arms about this store policy, but many of these people were news-cycle-led in their message to the world through their social feed. So when the news moved on (which they always do), they moved on too.
We should be led by the Spirit, not by the cycle of news. Click To Tweet This includes our social media presence.
- Nobody wins a sidewalk debate
Another new area rule for the future: end the debates!
Have you figured out yet that you will not convince anyone of your viewpoint in a comment thread? Do you know what a troll is and that they are lurking out there, seeking who they can devour? Trolls can rob you of your precious spiritual and mental energy in a hot minute if you allow this to happen.
A good friend of mine says, “Nobody ever wins a sidewalk debate.” It’s a truth of life. Don’t waste your life away debating things online.
Trust me; you could spend your time in much more effective ways than debating people online.
What about you? What are your guidelines?
Keeping loving your students, they need you!
Jeff Eckart, CEO
Never The Same
© 2021, Never The Same