also posted at the CENTURY Blog
The church is not known for responding quickly to cultural change. But really: almost seven years after Facebook launched, with thousands of pastors using Twitter, and NPR running stories on how Facebook and texting may break up marriages, I figured many churches, regional bodies and even denominations would have developed social media policies by now.
Yet a recent search turned up limited results:
- The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has some social media guidelines.
- Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., shares its policy on its website.
- Church Crunch has tips on how to make your own guidelines.
- The last PC(USA) General Assembly enjoyed this policy.
- A few bloggers have thought about such issues–David Pickett, Bruce Reyes-Chow–and I shared my personal Facebook guidelines in a recent post here.
Maybe my search skills and personal contacts are more limited than I realize, but after a few days of searching I found a dearth of church social media policies. I expect the main reason is that policies like this often develop because of misuse and abuse, not before it. So, sadly, when sexual misconduct by pastors and others by way of social media becomes more common, the policies will follow.
Please tell me I’ve missed some policies. Has your church discussed the appropriate use of social media by pastors and youth leaders? What standards do you use? Bonus points for links to more policies.