Social Media Legalism

by admin May 30, 2013   Blog




Last week I read an article on called, Instagram Will Kill Your Youth Ministry, by Daniel Beckworth.  This article is worth checking out.

Daniel Beckworth has valid points about social media and the need to be careful on how we use them for ministry and personal use.  We do need to develop guidelines or policy on how our churches will deal with the use of social media.  Social media is a powerful tool, and if it isn’t used the right way, it could cost someone their job/calling.

I personally felt Daniel Beckworth’s tone was way too harsh.  You could tell that Daniel was angry while writing, and it came out strong in his post.  Did he go too far in the post?  Did it sound like a bunch of rules made up by a blogger?  I will never call a friend out online like that.  I love the youth pastors I serve, and I value your input into this community of broken people.  I hope that I would be able to serve you and the student you work with through this community.

I really wanted to write a critique of this post.  But, I would rather hear what you thought of the post.  Is Daniel going too far?  Is it judgement or arrogant? or is it right on?  I would love to hear from my youth ministry community.


  • HKD

    I don’t think it was as angry as your description made it sound, but I could definitely tell he was fed up. I think he made a strong call for certain boundaries with youth ministers/students, but I don’t feel it was out of line.

    I agree it does seem creepy when a male YP and a female student have a picture together. Totally should be avoided.

    • Totally should be avoided? Such finality is a big statement to make and in a generation of teenagers that do not understand affection in an overly sexualize world, what the church does not need to do is fuel this “hugging is bad” mentality.

      Hugging does not mean a loss of boundaries, it does mean showing love to another.

      • Daniel Beckworth

        Many churches and ministry organizations have implemented a no hugging policy because of the sexual accusations that have been made against youth workers.

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree that we need boundaries as we minister to students, but I am thinking out loud about if he went too far making this a rule/law. We as youth pastors need to be aware of the perception we are presenting to our church and the teens we are leading.

      • Daniel Beckworth

        First, thanks for your comments and dialogue on this issue. I wasn’t mad when I wrote the article, but as a pervious commenter stated, I was fed up. Over the past few months I’ve noticed a steady stream of awkward pictures that are being posted by fellow youth workers.
        Second, we implement “laws” or rules in youth ministry all of time. I just assume that you have a rule which states that you will not ride in a car alone with a student of the opposite sex.
        Lastly, I am certainly not petitioning for the position as Law Maker for all of youth ministry! My purpose for writing the article was to awaken fellow youth workers to the dangers that are possible.
        Thanks again for your thoughts.

        • Thanks for the comment daniel. I appreciate your input into the world of youth ministry. I do realize that we have tons of “rules” in youth ministry in order to protect us/our families/ and others.

          Usually, I tend to not write in a sarcastic tone because it doesn’t translate well on a blog or written out. I am a very sarcastic person, and I would love to be able to communicate my humour that way, but it will come across as angry, and mad.

          Thanks for your comments here.

    • Daniel Beckworth

      You nailed my intentions. Great minds think alike 🙂

  • What saddens me more than anything is the issue that we cannot display love to others, that we have allowed opinions to trump facts, and that we are going to have at least one generation of people that see the church as awkward side hugs instead of Godly affection for a brother and sister in Christ.

    I don’t disagree with the boundaries, I think that unhealthy boundaries are the beginning of moral failures, but this is an overreaction. Instead of worrying about perception, how about we emotionally, physically, and spiritually heal our churches and ourselves?

    • Thanks Jeremy for the comment. I agree that youth pastors today are more limited than ever when it comes to showing affection. I love your pushback, and I agree that this is a huge overreaction.

      You should read the comments on the post to see what youth pastors are saying.

      • I did and I’m disappointed… Save your own butts… don’t take pictures or hug or do anything society says is bad for religious leaders… shame on us for being wusses and not fighting for God’s love.

        • Daniel Beckworth

          I’m personally not going to fight for hugs, but there are lots of things I will fight for, such as the gospel. Giving a student a hug doesn’t limit my ability to minister in any way and I’m certain we all believe that the gospel is the power of God to save through the work of the Holy Spirit. So, my ministry doesn’t hinge on hugging or not hugging a student. But one sexual accusation combined with a few awkward photos will certain ruin my ability to share the gospel. I suppose we have different perspectives.
          Thanks again for your thoughts and comments.
          By the way, what’s your real name?

          • Hey Daniel,
            Thanks for the comment. We are all in this together. We are all about the Gospel, and seeing lives transformed by it. His name is Jeremy Smith and he is a great guy.

  • Monica Wood PR

    I am a PR person who specializes in crisis and brand reputation management. Possibly presenting the situation more general and less specific details would have been best. You have entered this person’s identity, although subtle, and that could hurt them and their professional future, if ever taken out of context. Also, it is always good to address such sincere concerns internally where they could be resolved (assuming you have not done this, of course). Exposing the “family dirt” does no one any good, including the church connected to this story. Your external message should be more of a “lesson learned” story to educate other churches and youth pastors of what to or not to do. My two cents.

    • Thanks for the comment Monica! I felt like I handled the situation well. The title was sensational, but it got the point across. I was asking questions, and not trying to jump to conclusions. I did feel like the post was written in anger, but once I talked to the author he stated he was using sarcasm which doesn’t work online. Again, thanks for the comment. Always lots to learn. How did you find the website?

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