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Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, Instagram and whatever is created next are great tools in life and ministry but often I wish there were social media police to help next generation leaders use them with wisdom. Just sit back and watch what is said to people from the comfort of a keyboard and screen that would never be said face to face. The ways we leverage social media tools matter and they are just as powerful as when we communicate with people face to face. We serve a generation of people who have fully integrated social media into their lives. We have to help model what it looks like to honor God through this tool as we leverage it for ministry and community. Here are a few reminders for every next generation lead that is using social media tool to connect with people…

  1. never criticize publicly // if you see something online that you disagree with or is simply out of bounds a private message or face to face conversation is always better than a public rebuke.
  2. think before you tweet, update, comment, or post // slow down! We all know to think before we speak how about doing the same things when you type it out and hit send. As a leader your words carry weight.
  3. encourage, encourage, encourage // make sure and leverage social media to encourage people. Celebrate what really matters in life. Point people in the direction of Jesus.
  4. watch private conversations with teens // conversations with minors can be a tricky thing so just make sure you watch to what level you take an online conversation. Some conversations need to happen in public space with accountability.
  5. learn from listening (reading) // make sure and use social media to learn what is going on with people as much as you dialog with people using social media. How people behave online is a good indicator how they will lead in your ministry area.
  6. never be afraid to block or unfriend // seriously, sometimes you just need to walk away from people on social media if they are continually distracting you from focusing on living real life offline. Online drama is just not worth it.
  7. take time to shut it down // have time in your day when you just do not pay attention to it. Leave it behind and focus on the people around you.
  8. don’t live in the comparison world // seriously quit comparing real life to Instagram! Do not get into the comparison game with social media. God gave you your life to live so go live it and then use social media to share it!
  9. balance online community with face to face community // you need relational time with other real in person people. Nothing online can ever compete with honest face to face friendship. Balance your time with online and in person.!

What are some rules that guide you as you use social media to connect with people in your ministry?