Should Pastors Use Social Media?


“I think our pastor is spending too much time on his blog,” said the voice on the other side of the phone. I had to disagree with the caller and spend some time talking with him about why blogging was one of the best way for his pastor to spend his time, even if it meant that he had to cut some of his office time short or send someone in his place to make a hospital visit.
When done well, social media will help a pastor connect with his congregation in a level that, previously, he could only do with a select few. My pastor, for example, Pete Wilson, is an avid blogger, Twitterer, and Facebook user. He has over 6,000 people who daily visit his blog and whose lives Pete speaks into, even though our church only runs 2,500 people in attendance. I keep up with him mostly through Twitter. I know that he had a date with Brandi, his wife, Saturday afternoon and that last week he and his boys played in the snow. In the rare moments that Pete and I have time to meet together outside a board meeting or some other church setting, I don’t have to ask him “What’s going on with you?” I know what’s going on. It’s much easier, then, to move beyond the ordinary and go into a deeper discussion. I find that our conversations these days have more substance and meaning than just those of a couple of years ago.

Social media allows pastors to communicate real life issues with their congregants and potential congregants who find comfort in getting to know their spiritual leaders more intimately without being intrusive and needing to have “face time” with them. It also allows people to get to know their hearts outside the stage setting. Spiritual leaders are husbands, fathers, mothers, sons, bosses and face some of the same challenges everyone does. Social media allows for these real-life moments to be shared.

If you are a Pastor I would encourage you to use these tools to engage your congregation and those you’re trying to reach for Christ. Years ago most pastors, and all committed Christians were expected to knock on thousands of doors in the name of evangelism. Our mandate for evangelism is still there, but instead of wood doors, we now have the opportunity to knock on much larger digital doors.

Is your church and Pastor using social media effectively?

  • Susan Alexander

    My Pastor told me he doesn’t have time to add another “to do” on his busy schedule. I guess he doesn’t see social media as an opportunity for evangelism but as another fad that he has to keep up with.

    I’m sending him a link to this blog maybe it will help get him thinking differently.

    Thanks for the post,


  • Jeff Curtis

    If more Christians saw Facebook, twitter and blogging as tools for evangelism, I believe we would see an amazing harvest for the Kingdom. Thanks for the reminder.

  • In two weeks, I'll be returning to the pastorate after a number of years in at our denomination's publishing house. I've already determined that social media will be an important part of my strategy for both keeping connected with people and communicating my ideas.The quetsion is how to do that effectively. So far, I'm learning best practices from guys like @maurilio, @michaelhyatt, and @lensweet. I'm also learning worst practices from … well, nevermind.These tools are a bit like a set of golf clubs–anyone can use them, but it takes great skill to use them well.

  • Thanks for the thoughtful post. Yes, I've heard that comment from my board, but there is a bigger issue.When I've posted some of my "real-life" drama, I've found that my people don't want to hear it. They don't want to know that I'm fallible, the don't want to know the truth. In fact, I'm not sure they can handle the truth.

  • Only 2500 🙂

  • Anonymous

    To Susan Alexander: Most pastors need a "stop doing" list. Personal connection for pastors is off the scale when it comes to importance. Its why people "check out" of church, and finally leave for something meaningful to them personally. And parishoners should connect to someone in ministry at some level.

  • I did my blog for a while to keep myself in the practice of writing…when I didn't do it for about a month I started getting messages. I never realized that I had a small chunk of people reading it till then. When you read someone's blog…be sure to make a small comment. It is very encouraging to them to keep at it.

  • I think you are absolutely right–and when you add missionaries into the mix, social media becomes exponentially more useful. I have often told people that Facebook is the best thing that happened to foreign missions since transcontinental flights.

  • I just sent this link to my pastor. Our church, since we joined, has grown so much and the impact we could have for peoples lives I believe could be greatly increased though the integration of a well thought out social networking plan. I think many pastors shy away from it because it seems overwhelming. Many more would use new media if they were shown how to make it manageable. I for one would volunteer my services.

  • Great post! I totally agree and believe our church is moving in that direction. It's a whole new exciting world.

  • Totally agree – Follow PW every day – He has something to say

  • Anyone interested in this post should also check out this… A great tool to help Pastors make the leap.

  • @daddytudeUsing social media is more of an art than a science. There are real-life dramas that can't be played out on a media platform because of the sensitive nature. You can, however, post your feelings, hurts or disappointments even though you might not give out the entire context of your frustrations. Again, not everyone will agree with me that Pastors should be transparent and "air their dirty laundry in public" as someone accused my Pastor of doing recently. And thankfully there are other churches in town they can go where no one, including the Pastor, is willing to be authentic.

  • GREAT post!!! I couldn't agree more! My husband and I are both Pastors in Florida and I truly believe that all the social media outlets can be used as an amazing evangelical outlet, as well as a means to get beyond the weekend and truly get to know the people in your congregation.What an amazing gift we've been given to be able to do ministry in such a time as this. I'm trying to get more of the Pastors in our area to grab ahold of this principle and run with it…the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few!Thanks for your insight!Enjoy the Journey,Melissa in Mel's World

  • I can see why many established pastors see social media as a waste of time. They are often extremely busy and have way too much crammed into their schedules with their own lives, church leadership, sermon prep, etc. I think many may also see it as some sort of fad, not a real tangible way to connect with people. Many probably want to focus more on the in-person connections rather than virtual ones. I bet a lot of lead pastors see Facebook and Twitter as a great way for their youth pastor to connect with his “peeps” but they see very little use for themselves, since after all, most of the congregation doesn’t Twitter, Facebook or Blog. Right? I’d say Wrong! Social media helps fosters online connections that often lead to improved offline relationships / opportunities. Most members of larger churches really crave to know the lead pastor. They want to be chummy with him/her and want to know more about his/her life. Social media helps that occur on a broad scale. People get to feel closer and when used with authenticity, like Pete Wilson does, it shows a side if the pastor being human that many need to be reminded of. I’ve also see Pete Twitter when they started a new sermon series to ask people to attend an alternative service time as to make room for new people at the main 10am service… and it seemed to help. Social media has so many great uses if used properly.

  • Absolutely…

  • Anonymous

    I know that in all things, there is a balance. If a pastor is balanced in what he does, and chooses to not use Social Media, as an outlet for his ministry and promoting God's Kingdom, then I believe in my humble opinion, he is limiting his sphere of influence. There are people's lives that can be touched using this type of media that would never be touched otherwise. "I have become all things, to all people, so that some might be saved". If we don't think out of the box, and reach out in every direction that we have at our fingertips, we are failing.

  • My pastor, Rick White at The People's Church, announced last Sunday that he had begun writing a blog. Almost immediately, young people in the church–especially the high-schooler's sitting down front–began to clap and cheer. Let me repeat that. High schoolers began to cheer when the pastor announced he was writing a blog!When high school students are excited about hearing what their pastor has to say because he has chosen a communications format they prefer, then I must agree that blogging is a good thing.Spread the fire. GS

  • @Greg, Interestingly, Rick is also on Twitter. I follow him there as well.

  • i think that it is a necessary thing in this time. I think that my pastor has scratched the surface of using Social Media but hasn't dove in head first. i am not sure how to get him to buy into the power of it. He has a blog, twitter and facebook, but doesnt use it to the fullest potential. it is the most powerful FREE marketing tool that we have available to us today. the key word is FREE!Thanks for this post, i hope it kicks some pastors into gear to use what is relevant to reach the people who need to hear the love of God.

  • Great to read this! Thank you for speaking out truth! God is moving everywhere…WE are a church without walls….Why not take down the walls online and help the millions who are online everyday!

  • Good post. I have been blogging for a while. As pastor of a rural church I rarely cross paths with people who see things radically different from myself. I communicate with people of different persuasions through social media almost every day. For instace, not long ago I had a friendly debate with a admitted atheist. Shortly after that I had an opprtunity to dicuss homosexual lifestyles as sinful acts with a group of homosexuals. This was possible because of social media. Not only did I communicate God's plan for reproduction and marriage to the few in discussion I also communicated the message to the hundreds who viewed the blog I commented on. God gives us many ways to spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. I don't want to miss a single opportunity.Thanks,Pastor Brett

  • I couldn't agree more. We are in the process of planting a church and are using Twitter, Facebook, blogging,as well has having a webpage. I agree with the one comment though about leaving a comment when you do check someones blog out, let's them know if your touching anyone or not. (I have to admit I don't always as don't always think I have anything to add. will try and do better lol). Thanks Maruillo!

  • @Laura,Thanks for stepping out and leaving a comment. Glad you stopped by.

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