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Ways Social Networking Benefits Pastors and Congregations

November 15th, 2009
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Interesting post from Paul Steinbruck at OurChurch.com. The Alva Review-Courier, based in the megalopolis of Alva, OK (pop 4,848) published an article today entitled Social Networking Sites Benefit Pastors, Congregations in Many Ways. The author if the piece, Kathleen Lourde, interviewed several pastors in Alva as well as some guy with the same name as me. ;)

The article explains many of the benefits to pastors using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Twitter.  Those benefits include:

  1. Helps the pastor listen – So he knows more about what’s going on the lives of the people of his church.
  2. Humanizes the pastor – “it makes [him] seem like a regular person rather than a person who’s super-holy” (Did I really say “super-holy?” LOL)
  3. Helps church members feel more connected.
  4. In particular helps students who go away to college to stay connected to the pastor and church.
  5. Enables the pastor to quickly get a message out to many people in the congregation.
  6. The pastor can initiate spiritual conversations among members during the week.
  7. Helps the pastor connect with other pastors to encourage & pray for one another.
  8. A pastor can counsel people immediately online.

Any other benefits you can think of?  I’d say the article makes a pretty compelling case for pastors to use social networking tools.  What do you think?

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  1. Robert Franck
    November 17th, 2009 at 08:39 | #1

    These are all good reasons, and I have experienced many of them in my own work, especially 1, 3, 4, and 8.

  2. November 17th, 2009 at 09:28 | #2

    “Online Counseling”: while this seems like a great idea and can often be useful, counseling is something that probably happens better “offline” for two big reasons:

    1) The notion that personal counseling is probably more effective than e-mail, etc. – like how absolution seems a little more “for you” when spoken to you instead of reading it in a book or off a screen.

    2) There is no way to guarantee any form of a ‘seal of the confessional’ in online communication. If someone has something they need to discuss privately, the internet is no place to do so. Not only is there the possibility of someone ‘listening in’, it’s pretty much a given that most providers and employers are monitoring internet usage and messages are even inadvertently accessible (not to mention by court order) by system administrators.

    I set up a ‘social network’ type of site for a church group (I’m not a pastor) and gave them the warning that while I had no real interest in knowing what they were discussing, anyone who is an ‘administrator’ would be able to read everything shared over the system simply because we have full access to the system. (And there is no guarantee that “I” would be able to guarantee complete privacy now or in the future, even if I claim to to a completely trustworthy individual.)

    In short, there isn’t a way to guarantee a seal of the confessional online – and occasionally people share probably far too much through electronic communications that the pastor can’t protect.

  3. Ruthie
    November 24th, 2009 at 09:04 | #3

    Have you shared this w/ your Pastors?

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