When was the last time you were on a facebook group dedicated to youth ministry and you witnessed a nasty fight or statement?
I see arguments all the time in youth ministry groups. Sometimes, I will leave the group because after awhile it is annoying, and sad to see other youth pastor’s fighting about if they are right or not. So, with that in mind, it led me to write this post on social media etiquette for youth pastors.
The word Etiquette according to wikipedia, “is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.” We need a new social behaviour for how we treat fellow youth workers online. We don’t need to shame people publicly we don’t always have be right online, we need to be Christ followers online.
Here are a few ways I would love to see youth pastors acting online.
With Grace! Why do we treat people so poorly online? Why you treat others poorly online? Take a moment to think about that? Every time I see someone get into a fight, or say stupid comments to people they don’t know online it makes me think that we are not in this together, but that for some reason we are ego building. We are building up our own kingdom. We are forgiven by our God, so that we can treat others with the grace that has been given to us.
Without Quarrels. A facebook group isn’t a place to start an argument. If you do in some groups you will get kicked out. I think the leaders/moderators of online groups need to be firm with the leaders in the group. If you want to have a discussion with the person, just sent a direct message! Have an argument one on one, or better, pick up the phone and call the person.
Encourage. Build people up! We don’t know where people are at, or how things are going in their life, ministry, ect. One stance I took last year was to only be affirming online. Youth Pastors come to this site to get resources, and I am thankful for you. I need to know why this website exists and its for you! Pastors are in the trenches enough, we need brothers and sisters around us to build us up, not always tear each other down.
In Love. In Galatians 5:22-23 it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Everything we do needs to be out of love for God, or for others. I don’t see a lot of love out there. I see a lot of petty comments, and sarcastic statements.
One thing that I go by in the youthmin.org’s facebook group, is that every comment I leave, I will read it out. Reading out a comment helps me realize if it will be helpful, or hurtful. Trust me, you will catch a lot of bad comment if you do this.
In the end I wonder if groups need to develop a social media policy that the leaders need to follow. I personally think we do.
What do you think? Should online communities have social media guidelines for it members? If so, what should they be?