How should youth workers use social media?

That is a really good question!  With the heat of a political season about to come to an end, lets look around at the wreckage that has come to the world and sadly to the church because of Facebook, Twitter, and the other ones that I am too old to use or understand.  

As young leaders, many youth workers are fired up and passionate about many things and feel the need to, or the conviction to enter the political fray.  Also, as young leaders, there is a very fuzzy line between the professional and personal.  The combination of these two instincts can cause irreversible harm to your reputation and to the impact you can have at your church.

A good friend of mine, Evan Kolding, who is wise beyond his years helped me put my social media into the correct perspective:  TREAT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE AS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR OFFICE WALL.   

The church is a strange place and an even stranger employer.  As servants of the church and even more so, to Jesus Christ, we must not put stumbling blocks in front of others, flaunt our freedoms, or cause division.  We are ministers of reconciliation, and we are called to care for the minors of the church.  

POLITICS:

Most churches are more diverse than we think.  We naturally spend time with people who are like us, and if we are not careful we will make the assumption that the entire church agrees with us, or should.  But the truth is, there are a verity of opinions, and many of those opinions are divided down generational lines.  

Since we are called to love kids, it is imperative that we have the respect and trust of the adults in our ministry context.  We must win over the parents as well as the politically powerful in our churches.  If we fly off the handle or stereotype or dehumanize the other side, you will cut off your nose to spite your face.  

It is a difficult position to be in, to be passionate and idealistic and wanting to do your part.  But this is a great opportunity to step aside from your generational peers and consider doing more than simply liking or sharing some post that puts down the side your disagree with, or pokes a self righteous finger in the eye of those who aren't on board with what you are passionate about yet. 

PERSONAL:

Here is another point of danger.  Our social media is our social media.  We should have the freedom to share our vacations, our drinks with friends, the movies we see, the funny memes we come across.  But just because we can, doesn't mean we should.  

In this era we are who we post, and the majority of the adults and students in our worlds will only know the person that is presented on Social Media.  And for better or worse, you will be judged for it.  Like my friend Evan said, your posts are an extension of your office.  

What pictures would you put up in your office, what quotes what memes?

I have found that people give our social media posts much more weight than they probably deserve.  It would be nice to do whatever we want and post it like all of our friends.  But we are stewarding the respect of our churches and everyone connected to it.  

So, it might be time to lay off the posts about all your vacations and trips, or drinks with your friends, or over the line viral videos.  

Our social media should be used to build up the body and invite people into the best of your life, not exclude others, divide others, or value signal to those we agree with.  

How can you leverage your social media presence to bless others, build up the church, win over parents, and honor Jesus?