What does it look like to be a Christian online? Everyone’s engagement is different. Whether you’re a member of clergy using Twitter or a churchgoer replying to the comments on a blog, we all have different views, histories and areas of interest that will affect how we perceive things, and our responses to those events. The comments we make can reach thousands and even millions of people both in this country and around the world very quickly.
Truth - we should hold ourselves to high ideals of checking that what we post online is fair and factual.
Kindness - we are all different and that makes the world an interesting place – and at times a challenging one. Think the best of people, whether they share our views or are speaking against them and aim to be constructive in the way we engage.
Welcome - in the language we use and the way we interact. It’s easy for Christians to speak in another language using words that those outside the Church might not relate to.
Inspiration - we are called to be witnesses of our faith and to use social media in a way that genuinely engages others.
Togetherness - we are one Church and other members of this Church are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must treat those around us in this way.
Safeguarding - if you have any concerns about the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults, please contact the relevant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.
Promote a healthy balance by setting boundaries early on. These tips are easy to put in place for you and your team.
- Set boundaries for when you'll monitor the social media - Choose when you would like to check-in each day, rather than receiving constant notifications throughout the day. Advise anyone else managing the social media profiles to do the same
- Turn off social media notifications - To help with the above, turn off notifications, or set a screen-time limit for your day
- Before committing to a new social media profile consider what you have time for - One or two platforms is enough for one person to manage effectively
- Quality and consistency over quantity - Not many will have the time to create a daily schedule of posts. It's better to post consistent, helpful content 2-4 times per week, than over-commit
- Get others involved - Are there other enthusiastic social media users in your church? Or someone who likes to take photos? Take a look around your community and invite others to take part to create a supportive team.
Safeguarding disclosures or concerns can be raised in any way, and social media is no different. For this reason, those with access to a church's social media account should be aware of who to contact if they receive a disclosure, or are concerned about another's comments or posts.
Checklist for anyone accessing the church social media profile
Everyone with access to a church social media profile should:
- Read the church's Safeguarding Policy
- Attend safeguarding training
- Know who the church's Safeguarding Officer is and how to contact the Diocese Safeguarding team
- Read the privacy notice and GDPR guidance and be aware of implications for sharing photos and videos online
- Ensure there are at least two people who can access all social media message inboxes for accountability
- Check the Safeguarding Policy is on the church website and A Church Near You page, with a short statement on the homepage.