Safe church & digital ministry strategy worksheet w resource guide 11.5.13
Episcopal Diocese of Western MA
Tuesday Nov 5, 2013 10am
Digital Ministry Worksheet
Rev. Laura Everett
Massachusetts Council of Churches
@RevEverett & www.RevEverett.com
Digital Ministry Values: What values do you want to express in your digital ministry? Interactive (don’t just
broadcast denominational stuff), Vibrant, Prayerful ? What else?
Clearly define your unique charism/filter: What are your filters? Name 5 items you’ll post about:
Clearly define, who is the community you are serving with your church/org FB page?
Who will administer the Facebook page?
Set an initial goal and create a digital discipline: How often will you post? How often will you go on to
listen to the story churches/pastors/lay leaders are telling about themselves?
Will it help you to establish a regular schedule? (Monday highlight a community activity? Weds
something for help with worship on Sunday? Friday something from Church around the
How will this sync with your email blasts? Every Tuesday? Use Constant Contact auto drop?
How often and with whom will you asses your digital ministry?
Events: Who will create FB event? Who will designate a Twitter Hashtag #MACUCC ? Define yourself
or someone else will…
The Rev. Laura E. Everett, Massachusetts Council of Churches
Twitter: @RevEverett & www.RevEverett.com
“Beyond the Printing Press: Thinking Theologically about Social Media” blog post by Pastor Keith Anderson
Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible, Morehouse Press- http://click2savebook.com/
- featuring the Massachusetts Council of Churches and our social media strategy for Facebook
Faith and Leadership at Duke Divinity School- http://www.faithandleadership.com/
Features of Thriving Christian Communities: Networking:
When work looks different across generations: http://www.faithandleadership.com/blog/11-30-2009/carolhoward-merritt-when-work-looks-different-across-generations
New Media Project at Christian Theological Seminary- http://www.cpx.cts.edu/newmedia Great resources.
Case studies on congregations using new media, theological reflection on new media
ELCA Recommended Guidelines for using photos of Church members: http://bit.ly/15VoV9N
Andover Newton Theological School Media Center http://www.ants.edu/calendar/event/multi-media-religiousleadership/Social Media Blog Posts from Rev. Laura Everett – www.RevEverett.com
Saturday Night Ecumenism: http://blog.newmediaprojectatunion.org/2012/04/saturday-night-ecumenism.html
Kickstarting Church: http://blog.newmediaprojectatunion.org/2012/05/kickstarting-church.html
Facebook and the Demise of Denominational Labels
Good examples of how a head of church uses social media to a story about his ministry- Lutheran Bishop Jim
Hazelwood: http://www.bishoponabike.com/ Episcopal Bishop Douglas Fisher http://blog.diocesewma.org/,
“Monk in the Midst” videos with Bishop Tom Shaw http://www.diomass.org/blog/monk-in-the-midst Roman
Catholic Cardinal Sean O’Malley www.cardinalseansblog.org,
Suggestions on what to post on your church’s Facebook page- Information, Inspiration, Conversation:
Churches, Social Media & Boundaries Reading List
November 5, 2013 / The Church of the Atonement, Westfield, MA
Elizabeth Drescher and Keith Anderson, Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012)
Elizabeth Drescher, Tweet If You Heart Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation
Meredith Gould, The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways (Liturgical Press,
Leonard Sweet, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (WaterBrook Press, 2012)
The Saint Paul Area Synod of the ELCA addresses social media and boundaries:
The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has created specific safe church guidelines for social media:
How to create a social media policy for your church:
On Sabbath from social media:
Presbyterian pastor Adam Walker Cleaveland offers some great reflections here on technology and
social media, including this one specifically on boundaries when leaving a church:
Walker Cleveland is an advocate for ministers only having one Facebook profile page:
Blogger Adam Copeland offers some advantages and disadvantages to have two accounts:
Pastor Bruce Reyes-Chow on social media:
Pastor Keith Anderson on remaining Facebook friends with parishioners after leaving a church:
Sample Social Media Policy
This policy applies to all clergy, staff and contingent workers (“Employees”) of the Church of St. Luke in the
Fields (“St. Luke’s”). Parishioners and other members of the St. Luke’s community (“External Users”, and
collectively with Employees “Users”) are strongly encouraged to follow this policy as indicated below.
The purpose of this policy is to help you to understand how to use Social Media when:
Using Social Media channels sponsored by St. Luke’s or technology assets owned by St. Luke’s such as
computers, smart phones, and software, or devices that access St. Luke’s data
Referring to St. Luke’s or our interests which include our:
People (employees, former employees, contingent workers)
Services and programs
Collectively these are “Covered Social Media Activities.” Personal use of Social Media by employees must comply
with this policy when referring to St. Lukes or St. Luke’s interests.
St. Luke’s notes that an increasing number of people use and prefer digital communication over other forms.
Social networking sites, on-the-spot communication devices and email can enhance communication, faith
sharing, and deepen relationships. We encourage participation in online communities, networking, and the
exchange of ideas; for many it is a fun, essential tool. Like any in-person community we assume there is a
diversity of opinions on any topic; there is no assumed unanimity. Therefore, all “posts” should respect
differences of opinions, and should speak for oneself rather than for the community as a whole or for an identity
group within the community (“I” statements or using “IMHO” – in my humble opinion – are very effective, “we
all know…” is rarely accurate). This policy is intended to support expression that is both free and responsible.
Subject to the guidelines below, Users may and are encouraged to use the name of St. Luke’s to identify
themselves in profiles, discuss matters related to St. Luke’s, or other similar uses acting with the understanding
that others may interpret any public commentary as representative of an official statement by St. Luke’s itself.
The term “Social Media” refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction
through the use of words, images, video or audio elements. Examples include, but are not limited to, social
websites, blogs, message boards, wikis, podcasts, image and video sharing sites, live webcasting, location checkins, comment posting, Tweeting, participating in streaming feeds and real-time web communities.
Currently St. Luke’s online presence consists of an official Facebook page (“Page”), an informal Facebook group
(“Group”), a website (“Website”), email blasts (“eblasts), Advent/Lenten blog (“Blog”), a Twitter account
(“Twitter”) and a YouTube Channel (“YouTube”). Because Social Media is a constantly evolving area, this policy
applies to all new Social Media platforms whether or not they are specifically mentioned in this policy.
Questions concerning the policy should be directed to the Communications Coordinator. This policy and
guidelines may be updated and modified at any time. The current version of the policy can be found on the St.
Luke’s website (www.stlukeinthefields.org) or obtained from the Communications Coordinator.
Be discerning –
1. Use the right medium for your message. A blog or social network might not be the right place for
messages intended for a small group. Consider email or other means.
While parishioners are welcome to contact St. Luke’s clergy and staff via email about any
matter, clergy and staff should not use electronic communication (in any form) to initiate
contact with a parishioner about matters that are pastorally or ethically sensitive, emotionally
charged, or requiring extensive conversation.
If a parishioner uses electronic communication to contact clergy or staff about a sensitive issue,
clergy or staff are advised to use reasonable discretion when responding, bearing in mind that
other individuals may have access to the parishioner’s email account.
2. Remember that what you write will be public, most likely for a long time. A blog or community post is
visible to the entire virtual world, search engines index our public sites, and deleted content can always
be found in personal and public caches. What you write, even if edited or retracted, is archived and can
be with you longer than you might expect.
3. Respect your audience. Remember that frustrations with individuals are best expressed in person, snark
is unseemly, and sarcasm does not often translate well. Be careful with humor. Do not use personal
insults, ethnic/racial/economic/sexual or gender related slurs, profanity, or publish any conversation
that someone might reasonably expect to be confidential.
4. Make clear your role: If you are making posts on a non-St. Luke’s site, or if you are a member of an
outside organization and granting interviews to appear in any media, please make certain, if mentioning
St. Luke’s specifically, to avoid sounding as though your post or soundbite represents the official views
of St. Luke’s.
Be responsible –
Social Media are individual interactions, not official communications. Employees are personally and
legally responsible for their posts. Official statements of parish policy may only be made by the Rector
and/or the Vestry and are to be posted via Social Media only by the Communications Coordinator. If a
member of the media contacts any individual about a St. Luke’s related post or requests information
about St. Luke’s of any kind, refer him or her to the Communications Coordinator. If you would like to
have something posted to the Website or the Facebook Page, please contact the Communications
2. Prayer requests for St. Luke’s Prayer List should be made in person or via phone or email to clergy
email@example.com. Posting a personal prayer request for oneself online is not effective
in order to be listed on St. Luke’s Prayer List. If a post does appear it will not be responded to by the
Pastoral Care Network or Clergy (though responses might occur). Parishioners are strongly discouraged
from posting prayer requests for others online.
Do not share personal information about others in the community via Social Media without their
permission; or, in the case of anyone under age 18, without the written permission of their
parent or guardian. Publishing unidentified photographs of public events to St. Luke’s Facebook
Group is appropriate, using photos for publicity for a St. Luke’s group or ministry requires
permission from the Communications Coordinator. Do not identify people by name or “tag”
them without prior permission. Never identify persons under age 18 by name. Official
photographs and permissions are kept by the Communications Coordinator.
Users should at all times respect confidentiality in relationships and leadership roles.
Be accurate, and when you make a mistake, admit it and be quick to correct it.
Identify yourself and St. Luke’s –
1. Employees should always use their real names to support authenticity and transparency; all Users are
strongly urged to refrain from anonymous posts & comments.
2. When discussing St. Luke’s via Social Media, all Users who are not speaking on behalf of St. Luke’s must
include a disclaimer as follows: “This [post/site is] my own personal opinion. Posts are neither read nor
approved by any official representative of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields before posting and do not
necessarily reflect the views and opinions of St. Luke’s.” Employees do not need to include the
disclaimer if the post is part of their official job responsibilities or they are authorized to speak on behalf
of St. Luke’s.
3. All St. Luke’s environment names, copyrights, and trademarks are the property of St. Luke’s and should
be used according to our policies.(LIST)
Use of Official Name and Logo
Any use of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields name or logo for branding or titling personal pages, blogs or other
similar elements of Social Media must be approved in writing by the Communications Coordinator prior to use.
Any uses in existence at the time of adoption of this policy should be registered with the Communications
Coordinator; they are not automatically included and should be authorized pursuant to this policy. Permission to
use the name or logo of the parish may be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of the St. Luke’s Rector or
person designated by the Rector.
Users must comply fully with copyright law when posting and uploading copyrighted materials. Any posting of
materials to St. Luke’s Social Media channels sponsored by St. Luke’s must be limited to materials in which the
copyright is owned by the party seeking to post the information. Some materials specifically indicate how they
may be shared; err on the side of caution (for example, cite the URL rather than cut and paste a whole article or
Social Media maintained by St. Luke’s are not intended for the use of persons under the age of 13. Any site
operated by St. Luke’s that is oriented toward youth between the ages of 13 and 18 must require a registration
for all Users and must be password protected so that only registered users may access the site. Registration will
require the use of a legal name and valid contact information (operational email address). Adults may not
request to “friend” or accept a “friend” request from a person under age 18 without written permission of the
child’s parent or guardian. Photos published on sponsored sites should not include name or contact information
for any person under the age of 18.
Clergy are strongly encouraged to set stringent privacy settings on any social networking profile. Clergy should
not submit “friend” requests to parishioners and others to whom they minister. The disparity of power may not
give the other person the ability to decline such a request. Clergy understand that there might be emotional
impact of declining a “friend” request from parishioners, and are strongly urged to have a consistent policy of
accepting all or none of the “friend” requests from parishioners.
Laws mandating reporting of suspected abuse/neglect/exploitation of children, youth, elders and vulnerable
adults apply in the virtual world as they do in the physical world. (See Child Protection Policy, Sexual Harassment
Consequences of Non-Compliance:
Violations of this policy by St. Luke’s clergy and staff may result in disciplinary action up to and including
termination. Violations of this policy by External Users may result in the removal of relevant posts from Social
Media channels up to limiting leadership opportunities or experiences for the poster.