10 Do’s and Don’ts for Church Leaders on Facebook in 2021

If you’re a church leader, read this wisdom before you post anything on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube in 2021 (and the remainder of 2020). Please share this with your ministry team.

People get fired EVERYDAY for what they post on Facebook.

People leave churches EVERY WEEK for what they see church leaders post on Facebook.

But, if you’re a church leader, you SHOULD be on Facebook. Facebook is a valuable tool for engaging your church and your community. Just like driving a car, it can either help or kill you depending on how you use it.

1. Don’t Post Updates From Your Vacation

Think twice before posting photos from your next vacation.  When you’re asking members of your church to sacrificially give of their time and money, and you’re posting pictures of you and your family partying on a yacht, it doesn’t look good.  There’s nothing wrong with going on vacation, in fact, it’s one of the most important things you should do as a leader and a family, but there is wisdom in enjoying it privately, especially during this season of struggle for so many.  Some of the people who go to your church and give regularly can’t afford to go on vacation. The same rule goes for your weekly Thursday afternoon round of golf. Don’t forget…most church members work during the week.

This video is a great example of what to NEVER do. Read more about it at the Roys Report.
Sam Stone Southeast Christian Church

2. Don’t Criticize Another Church…Ever

Like something off of the Jerry Springer show, two years ago leaders and elders at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky took to Facebook to publicly sling mud at elders at Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, Indiana in a no holds barred online brawl. That prompted other well known church leaders to jump in on the chaos on Facebook, which then led to other church members taking sides and getting in on the social media mayhem.  The unfolding chaos was covered on the local Indiana television news station, rumored to be fueled by fake press releases written by church staff members. Yes, this all really happened…let that sink in. It’s very hypocritical to tell your own church staff to “trust positive intentions” within the church while slinging mud online at leaders from other churches when you don’t get your way. Trusting positive intentions goes both ways. The BIG wisdom here is to always praise publicly and criticize privately…especially if you’re a church leader or elder. The only posting you should be doing about another church should be encouraging them or building them up or celebrating their accomplishments. Always BUILD UP other churches (even when someone gets fired that you’re related to).

The Bad News: Southeast Christian Church elder, Matt Price helps lead the charge on Facebook to split Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, Indiana. The Good News: the same elder appears to be a Grateful Dead fan. Far out! I love the Dead! Casey Jones on repeat all day long…

3. Don’t Create Mysteries

Jerry Fallwell Jr. posted this photo on Instagram that created a giant mystery. Who was the woman, why was he with her, what is he drinking, and why are their pants unzipped? Yikes! This mysterious photo ultimately disrupted a Presidential election. Let that sink in before you start posting random photos.

Don’t create mysteries. If you’re a pastor in Seattle and you suddenly post a picture of yourself checking into the Miami airport, you’ve just created a mystery.  And, if you’re a church leader, creating mysteries on Facebook is never a good idea.  Why are you in Miami?  What are you doing there?  How long will you be there?  This only creates confusion and usually causes minds to jump to negative conclusions: Are you interviewing for a new job?  Are you having an affair?  Are you doing coke deals? Who’s paying for your trip? Wise church leaders don’t create mysteries on Facebook. If you’re in Miami for a conference, post a picture at the conference with something you learned or someone you met…not a picture of your toes in the sand. If you’ve checked in at a restaurant and posted a photo with a woman who’s not your wife…tell us who it is. Oh, it’s your cousin? Okay, cool. But, we don’t know if you don’t tell us. Step back and look at what you’re posting…are you creating mysteries or are you being straightforward?

4. Don’t Post Headscratchers or Deadends

Headscratchers are Facebook posts that create bad optics.  If you’re a church leader, and you post a selfie of yourself in full KISS makeup, sticking your tongue out, on Halloween, that’s a headscratcher.  Even if KISS is your favorite band and you’ve dressed up like them a million times before, it’s wise to leave this off of Facebook. Yes, this really happened.

Deadends are posts that literally create a dead end. Examples are:

  • “We won’t be having Sunday School anymore.”
  • “I won’t be in the office on Friday’s effective immediately.”
  • “I got a new phone so don’t call my old number.”
  • “I’m leaving Facebook.”

Deadends usually answer questions no one has asked, and there’s no reason they should be posted publicly unless they’re backed up with a thought out explanation that provides more background information.

Also, sometimes it’s best not to post anything. Does everyone need to know that you deleted Facebook Messenger? Does everyone need to know you’re not going to be in the office on Fridays? Probably not.

5. Engage In Politics at Your Own Risk

When you call the President a liar or attack a member of congress on social media, you have nothing to gain. Don’t do it. People can watch CNN or FoxNews if they want political discourse. You’re above that. You’re a pastor. And you have more important work to do.

Engaging in politics on social media has a price, and you have to be willing to pay it if you go down that road. My suggestion is to avoid politics at all costs on social media.

BONUS: The Sabbatical Trap

Don’t forget that 99.9% of people in your church don’t get a sabbatical.  And, when you share pictures of your feet in a hammock, reading Francis Chan’s new book, you’re doing it wrong.  And, if you’re on sabbatical and posting on a Sunday morning how great it is not to have to go to church, you’re definitely doing it wrong.  Does the world really need to know you’re on sabbatical? Probably not. A better option would be to fast from social media on your sabbatical and when you return get to work actually doing what God has put on your heart. Feel free to share what you worked on, a renewed vision for your ministry, or a thanks to your church for allowing you the opportunity, but the better thing would be to just actually do whatever it is God is calling you to do.

6. Don’t Post Reviews or Rants

No one needs to know if you hate American Airlines.  No one needs to know that you’re upset there’s not a stoplight on the road you turn left on to get to church.  No one needs to know your thoughts on every current event.  Posting “These refs suck!” in the middle of the UK game or randomly posting “I LOVE the new Joker movie!” is a bad idea. It’s okay to have opinions, but Facebook isn’t the place for it, if you’re a church leader. See #10 on how you should post about news and current events.

7. Do Post Pictures of your Church

Your profile picture should be a picture of you, not a picture of your dog.  Your cover photo should be a picture of your church, not the Guns ’N Roses concert you attended two years ago.  Facebook is a great place to share pictures of your church.  It’s also a great place to promote what’s happening at your church.  If there’s a worship night at your church on Sunday night and you’re posting about the new Game of Thrones episode, you’re doing it wrong.

8. Do Highlight People From of Your Church

Celebrate members of your church for their accomplishments.  Share posts about volunteers doing a great job.  If you see a church member while you’re eating out, or at an event, snap a pic and post it on Facebook or Instagram.  It’s also a great place to celebrate people from your community doing cool things.  Make your Facebook about others…it’s not all about you. Encouraging others on Facebook is something wise church leaders do.

9. Do Share Meaningful Family Moments

The world is full of broken families.  Your Facebook is an opportunity to lead by example.  Show pictures that demonstrate you loving and encouraging your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and extended family.  Celebrate your family on Facebook.  Share family moments on Facebook, even the sad ones.  Be real. If you’re going through a health crisis, share it. If someone in your family passes away, share it. Show people what it means to be a real person.  Manny Pacquio, the world champion Filipino boxer, regularly shares photos of his family going to church together.  Be like Manny.

Phil Holland, lead pastor at Valley View Christian Church in Colorado, is a poster child for how to use Facebook as a church leader.

10. Do Help Church Members Navigate the Complexity of Life & Current Events

Bob Russell uses his Facebook to share links to his blog posts each week that help Christians make sense of current events. In a recent post he references how “Brandt Jean, a Christian who is mature beyond his 18 years of age, forgave the policewoman who accidentally shot and killed his beloved older brother.” Bob uses that news story to talk about Christians imitating the holiness of God. Be like Bob. Use your Facebook to help your church make sense of current events. 

Bob Russell writes helpful blog posts every week that help Christians navigate current events.

By now you should notice a trend…

All of the things you should be doing on Facebook are positive, encouraging, and helpful to others.

All of the things you shouldn’t be doing are self-serving, manipulative, or lacking self-control.

Final Things To Remember About Facebook If You’re a Church Leader:

  • Facebook is an extension of your ministry.  It’s not your own private space.
  • Be creative with ways you can use your platform to engage your church and encourage others.
  • Optics matter more than your personal intentions when it comes to social media.
  • Facebook isn’t the place for your stream of consciousness thoughts.
  • Ask someone you trust to give you honest feedback about what you post on Facebook. Give them permission to let you know if you post something that might give the wrong impression.
  • Be real. Facebook should be an extension of who you really are. Nothing is more icky than someone pretending to be someone they’re not on social media.
  • If you’re a church leader, you SHOULD be on Facebook. Facebook is a valuable tool for engaging your church and your community. Not being on Facebook is like disconnecting your church’s phone line or dismantling your church’s mailbox. It’s almost 2021, and Facebook is the primary source of communication people engage with on a daily basis.
  • Beware. Facebook will hack your brain’s dopamine over time if you let it. Consider removing the Facebook app from your phone, and only use Facebook while on your computer.
  • When in doubt…don’t post.

P.S. I’m More Guilty Than Anyone

I’ve posted a lot of really bad stuff on social media. In 2011, I was at a party hosted by my neighbor. It was a very wild party. I posted a picture of me with some drunk party goers flipping off the camera. All in good fun, right? Nope…

The next morning my mom had sent me a message asking me to delete the photo. I was running a Christian company. “What kind of message was I expressing by posting that photo?” she asked me. I was so embarrassed. She was right. She wasn’t playing a “gotcha” game with me. She truly wanted the best for me.

This blog post is not about playing “gotcha.” I’m fairly confident I’ve done more bad stuff than 99% of the people reading this. I genuinely want the best for church leaders and I think we can all benefit from a gentle reminder that people are watching us and we need to set the tone for what it means to be followers of Christ. Don’t let social media ruin your ministry.

FREE Printable Church Email Checklist for Church Leaders

Make Church Emails Great Again!

I’ve seen so many bad church emails over the last few months that I’ve created this simple checklist you can download, print and follow to make sure every email your church sends is simple and effective.

People receive an avalanche of emails everyday, so it’s super important that emails from your church GREAT to break through the clutter. I’ve sent over 10 MILLION emails in my lifetime, and these are the simple things I’ve learned that make emails GREAT.

Click the Download Button to Download a Printable PDF Version of This Checklist

Church Email Checklist

Only One Message 

Your email should only have ONE message, not ten.

Specific Subject

Your subject should always be as specific as possible.  BAD = “This week’s updates”,  GOOD = “VBS starts June 2”.

First Line of Text is the Main Message

Don’t bury the main message.  It should be the very first line of text in the email.

No Extra Fluff

Don’t add extra fluff to your email.  Shorter is better.  There should only be ONE message per email.  Adding anything extra, takes the focus off the main message of the email.

100% Obvious Clickable Links

If your email requires someone to click on a link for more information or to take action, clicking the link should be as obvious as possible.  Don’t assume that people know to click a photo or a graphic.  Using “Click Here” buttons is a good idea.  Also, including the text of the url below the button is helpful. Double check to make sure the links are correct, and make sure the landing page you’re sending people to is updated.

Does Your Email Pass the 2-Second Test?

Can someone understand your email in less than 2 seconds?  An ideal email consists of a specific subject, most important line of text, an image or graphic, a link if needed, and additional text that supports the main message.

Watch this video to see a live audit of a GREAT church email:

Jordan Peterson’s Psychology of the Flood, Coronavirus, and Navigating Quarantine

“The end of the world IS at hand.  And it will come and when it comes you will be judged.  Your world will collapse.  You will find out where your unaddressed weaknesses lie.”

– Jordan Peterson, Psychology of the Flood

I’ve boiled down Jordan Peterson’s Biblical lecture about the Psychology of the Flood down to 6 points and 2 quotes below:

Navigating coronavirus and quarantine represent a direct encounter with chaos. Jordan Peterson discusses how to understand and prepare for encounters with chaos in his Psychology of the Flood lecture on YouTube.

Nevan’s TL;DW Lecture Summary

  • Title: Bible Series VI: The Psychology of the Flood
  • Series: The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories
  • Topic: Noah and the Ark: how encounters with the unknown should be understood psychologically
  • By: Dr. Jordan Peterson
  • Time: 2 hours and 36 minutes

1. Your body and brain are connected and have been shaped through time to have a certain outlook on the world.  You live inside a story.  Those stories help de-isolate you.  For example, when a doctor diagnoses you, it is comforting knowing that you’re not the only one experiencing something.  The last thing you want to hear from a doctor is, “you know, I’ve never seen a case like yours before.”  If you can be put in a box, then the doctor can know what to do with you.  

2. The world is very complex.  Ultimately, people’s lives become so complicated that they die.  The fundamental problem with life is that things are complex.  Underneath all of our lives is an irreducible complexity.  The dragon is a symbol of chaos.  A flood is a symbol of chaos.

3. Are floods consequence of things falling apart or because of people’s mistakes? Things go wrong all by themselves.  They also go wrong because we aren’t prepared.  Hurricane Katrina was an example of both things going wrong and human error.  If you got flooded, it means you weren’t prepared.  Fairness is not the point. 

4. You can’t ignore problems.  You need to identify problems that arise immediately before they kill you.  You can’t ignore a letter from the IRS or else it will become a bigger problem.  Every solution to chaos carries problems that have to be dealt with.

5. You need to identify where you are in life.  What’s good about you?  What’s bad about you?  Where are you going?  Who’s story are you living?  Yours or someone else’s?  Life is too complex to plan 20 years ahead, but you should plan for 3-5 years ahead.  On the macro cosmic scale…the earth has to die, then be reborn and newly created.  On an individual scale, this is represented every New Year.  You reflect on things you need to change and make a resolutions for a new life.  

6. The flood is coming.  The flood is always coming.  This is a fact.  Don’t fool yourself.  You’re going to develop a serious illness.  And, it’s likely to be chronic.  And, if it’s not you it will be someone you love.  And so is death and pain.  And what sort of person are you going to be when that shows up.  The question isn’t how are you going to be happy in your life.  It’s a stupid ambition.  It’s too shallow.  Happiness comes and goes.  If you’re happy, great enjoy it.  When the flood comes you want to be the person who built an ark.

Quotes: 

“Speak the truth, and pay attention.  Then maybe the tragedy that’s part of life wouldn’t have to deteriorate into the unbearable hell that doesn’t have to be part of life.  Then maybe we could rise above the tragedy.” – Jordan Peterson

“If you say ‘to hell with it,’ there’s a chance you may end up in hell.  It’s no simple matter to get the hell out of hell.  It might matter that things get addressed.  It might matter that you do what you can to walk with God.  It might be that that this is how you build an ark and are protected from the flood even if the damn thing comes.  And the thing is it will.” – Jordan Peterson

Coronavirus and The Flood

Viruses are coming to kill us. They’re always coming. We need to be ready for them. The solution we come up with in dealing with viruses will have problems that need to be addressed. If we don’t develop solutions and ways to deal with the new problems they create, we will die.

Coronavirus has exposed where our weaknesses lie. Those weaknesses need to be dealt with. If we pay attention, we can rise above this seemingly unbearable hell.

One small way to prepare is knowing who are you, where you are, and where you want to go. A great tool that Peterson has developed for individuals to do this is called Self Authoring. I completed his authoring suite two years ago. It took me a few days to complete it. But, it was worth every minute. My life has been improved dramatically because of his program. You can learn more about it here: https://www.selfauthoring.com/

Concerning Student Loan Debt

Timestamp: 2:16:14

During the Q & A, Peterson discusses the chaos surrounding student loans and his advice to college students.

7 Scary (But Real) Predictions for the United States in 2020

Predictions made on April 1, 2020

1. Open on Sunday

Hell will freeze over and Chick-fil-A will transition to being open on Sundays.  Dining rooms will be phased out at most restaurants nation-wide.  Buffets will be a thing of the past.  Goodbye Golden Corral.

2. The Last of the Furious

The Fast and Furious movie series will sadly die because nobody cares about cars anymore.  Movie theaters will be permanently closed.  The silver lining is that MTV Cribs will make a comeback and Carpool Karaoke transitioned to Living Room Karaoke.

3. Fine Print

A new “health and sanitization fee” will be added to your concert tickets, hotel rooms, and rental cars.  No one will know who gets the money or where it goes.  Fortunately, all Post Malone concerts will be rescheduled for 2021. We miss you Posty!

4. Shake It Off

Shaking hands will be considered a rude gesture.  “Sorry I don’t shake hands,” will be a common phrase you’ll start to hear at business meetings. Winking will no longer be viewed as creepy.  Surgical masks will be part of our daily work wardrobe. There will be a million Zoom video meeting etiquette blog posts written.

5. No Room In the Inn

Hospitals will have no space for the millions of women giving birth in December.  There will be a major diaper shortage.  Get stocked up now. Still looking? Walmart will be the future of dating.  Target the future of rich dating.

6. Hanging Chads

There will be no presidential debates.  Voting will only be done via online or mail, but chaos will ensue when foreign actors compromise our election system. No one will be surprised if the Supreme Court has to get involved. It will be a total cluster. Womp womp.

7. Wrist or Forehead?

Chip implants will be mandatory for all Americans.  They will be used for population tracking, healthcare, and financial regulation.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.  Don’t believe it? Here’s links to real news stories right now:

Bluetooth story

Tracking app story

Bill Gates story

Mandatory vaccines are also coming soon.  Side effects TBD.  Healthcare will be socialized in the coming years. Good night and good luck.

Any Good News?

Yes, Betty White will survive and continue to thrive.

*These are only predictions. There is a tension right now between positive thinking and accepting an inevitable future. Hopefully, we get a drug to treat the virus and a vaccine to prevent it and life returns to normal. Leave a comment with any predictions you have for 2020.

Steaks for Cary Meyer, Greg Allen, and Jack Webster

The Three Hurtful Phrases That Made Me a Millionaire

The year was 2010.  I was starting my 6th year working at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  And, I had $72,000+ in student loan debt at the time.

The three phrases I was told were:

“Creatives don’t belong in ministry.” – Greg Allen

“You aren’t good at putting meat on the table.” – Cary Meyer

“You’re a coward.” -Jack Webster

Hearing those words completely broke me.  It represented 5 years of hard work down the toilet. It was completely emasculating. I went though the following stages of grief after hearing them spoken to me:

  • Complete shock
  • Pain and embarrassment
  • Bitterness and anger
  • A really sad depression
  • Reflection
  • Gazelle-like intensity to change my life

I was resolved to prove them wrong and resolved to prove to myself that I wasn’t going to be confined to a life of debt and depression.  I didn’t want to be a puppet dancing on a string making $40k a year for the rest of my life.

Those words spoken to me inspired me to build my OWN curriculum company in 2011. Creatives DO belong in ministry.

One year later, I paid off the entire balance of my student loans with one check ($72,000). Here’s your meat.

Two years later, I paid back the entire amount of severance pay I received when I resigned. I’m not a coward.

Eight years later, in 2018, I sold that company in a multi-million dollar deal with a company on the NASDAQ.

Greg, Cary, and Jack are all good guys and I deserved every bit of those words at the time.  If I ever see any of them again I’ll give them a big hug, hand them a cigar, and say, “Your words were the catalyst for my success. Thank you!”

My wisdom for when people speak negative things into your life is this:

1. Let other people’s negative words be fuel for your fire. Pain = growth.

2. Don’t get stuck in bitterness or depression when people speak negativity into your life. Better not bitter.

3. Don’t surround yourself with people who always coddle you with their words…sometimes a good butt-kicking is exactly what you need to get motivated.

Me hosting the first Christmas Party for my new company in 2011.

Has someone made YOU feel worthless?

Watch these THREE videos and remember I’m cheering for your success!

1. “I’m as mad as HELL, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

2. “I get knocked down…but I get up again…you’re never gonna keep me down!!”

3. “Sing ’til the power of the Lord comes down (‘Cause when we sing the glory of the Lord comes down, down)!!!”