Developing your congregation’s use of social media

24.1.2019 | Congregational Life, Guidelines,

Some basic guidance on using social media for your congregation.

Some simple directions – Do's and don'ts

Social media can be an effective and cost efficient way of communicating to our congregations as well as our local communities – if done well. This guide has been produced to help those in charge of social media accounts plan content and offers best practice with practical do’s and don’ts. Covering child protection, photography and general tips, this guide also has case studies from three PCI churches about how they have developed their ministry using social media.


Clarifying your vision: knowing what you are trying to do

DO's   DON'Ts
Do think about your core message. It needs to be consistent with the vision of your congregation.

Do consider your target audience. Are you primarily using social media to engage with your members or those outside the church? Who particularly in your local community are you trying to engage with?

Do actively engage with your local community by sharing events on Facebook groups, using appropriate hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  Don’t share stories or link to websites unless they are consistent with your congregation’s vision.

Don’t get caught up in debating controversial topics.


Getting started: how to get going

DO's   DON'Ts
Do appoint someone to act as your congregation’s social media coordinator – the person who will take responsibility for coordinating these forms of communication. Decide who they need to report to, how that happens and how often. Clarify the process of gaining permission to upload content and who offers a second opinion on anything they have doubts about.

Do use the various gifts and talents of your congregation’s members. For example, find out who can take good photographs or film video content of appropriate quality. Consider getting someone to do a regular blog.

Do be aware of the ‘Taking Care’ (Child Protection) guidelines, particularly Section 8 on ‘Technology’, and the ‘new guidelines on the taking and use of photographs and/or video footage’ (see Appendix below).

Do encourage the congregation to get on board. Talk about your new social media accounts on a Sunday morning. Your accounts will grow organically if members of your congregation engage with your posts and share them.
  Don’t just copy other congregations’ style or content. Understand your unique context.

Don’t post for the sake of posting. Always have a purpose when sharing online, especially when sharing verses of Scripture.

Don’t annoy people by bombarding them with posts. For example, five posts a day is probably not the best way to go about things! (But do post regularly, find the balance that is right for the life in your congregation).

Don’t post content that demands an immediate response. Allow your followers to take in information at their own pace.
If you’re stuggling to generate original content on a regular basis – share something relevant from one of your church charity partners or PCI.


Posting online: communicating with craft and care

DO's   DON'Ts
Do make sure your ‘voice’ (tone and language) is consistent.

Do be careful about what you share (“take care what you share”).

Do adhere to ‘Taking Care’ (Child Protection) guidelines.

Do talk about God! Share verses of Scripture, encouraging messages, etc.

Do plan your online activity. Think about times of the year eg Christmas events, back to school message.

Do share revelant information from the main PCI social media accounts.

Do respond to direct enquires to your accounts in good time.
  Don’t express personal views or opinions. Remember, your purpose online is to represent the church and your congregation, not yourself.

Don’t share personal pastoral information about yourself, the congregation, or church organisations.

Don’t use the churches social media platforms to promote personal agendas, such as personal fundraising efforts, promoting a business you work for, etc.

Don’t direct/private message people on your church accounts, unless in response to a church-related inquiry.


Just because you took 100 photographs, doesn’t mean they all need to go online. Sometimes less is more.