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Pastors on Facebook

Here are 8 great things a pastor can do on Facebook. by  Paul Steinbrueck

1. Listen. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters,
take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow
to become angry” Nothing could be more important on Facebook. Listen more than
you speak. By listening you’ll get to know people better and learn what’s going
on in their lives. You find out who is hurting, who is frustrated, who is
thriving, who is gifted in ways you never realized.

2. Pray. James 5:16 tells us, “The prayer of a righteous
person is powerful and effective.” Whether your Facebook friends post good news
or bad, a success or a failure, you can always pray for them. When you do, ask
God for guidance as to how to respond if at all. He may prompt you with the
words to type in a reply. He may prompt you to pick up the phone. Who knows
what could happen.

3. Engage/comment. Of course, if all you do is listen and
pray, you’re not going to have much impact on Facebook. In fact, nobody’s going
to even know you’re there. Show you care about your Facebook friends by engaging
with them. Comment on people’s updates. When other people comment on your
updates, reply back to them. Respond promptly to messages and new friend
requests.

4. Publicly encourage. One of the best ways you can engage
with people and show you care is to encourage them. It doesn’t take a lot of
time or effort either. You can post a comment on someone’s update with a simple:
“Congrats!” “That’s awesome!” or “I’m praying for you,” shows the person (and
their Facebook friends) that you really are listening and you care.

5. Respond privately to sensitive issues. Facebook not only
provides the means to respond publicly to your friends, but also privately. If
someone posts an update alluding to a personal or sensitive issue – their
relationship status changes, they’ve lost their job, they sound depressed – in
addition to publicly encouraging them, you may want to want to send them a
private message. Not only does it give you the opportunity to say something you
might night want to say publicly, but by asking open-ended questions you invite
them to open up more privately about what’s going on and how they’re really
doing.

6. Be human. People are not connecting with you on Facebook
so they can hear about God and church all the time. They want to relate to you
as human being. Post about what’s happening in your life. Share photos and
video of your family. Talk about your other interests and hobbies. Share links
to articles you think are interesting.

7. Be authentic. People are also not connecting with you so
they can see how perfect people live. Don’t just post the good stuff that’s
going on in your life. It’s OK to express sadness, anger and frustration. In
fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary. We are all frail and sinful. People
need to understand that as a pastor you are not better than they are. You are
just blessed to be forgiven and have the Holy Spirit at work in your life.

8. Initiate friend requests. Some people are afraid to
initiate a friend request with a pastor. After you meet someone in the
community or meet someone for the first time at church, initiate a friend
request with them the next time you’re on Facebook. Remember Jesus hung out
with prostitutes and tax collectors, so you should be hanging out on Facebook
with people who are not Christians too.