Facebook Makes Better Pastors

Facebook has made me a better pastor. I joined the social networking site a while ago, but never used it for some time. Then, just a few months ago, I became an avid user (my friend Jae Hess claims I need an intervention, but so far I’ve managed to avoid anything so extreme). Since then, I’m becoming more and more aware of the benefits of Facebook to me as a pastor:

1.Facebook helps me connect with more people in the church. Last Sunday, I was able to greet someone with a followup to a statement they had made on Facebook! We enjoyed a short conversation and a laugh that might not have gone beyond “good morning” otherwise. And it allows me to make connections with people at their convenience, without intruding into a busy schedule or hectic home.
2.I send daily birthday greetings to members of my flock who are on Facebook. It only takes a few seconds, but it’s such a blessing to have that brief connection. I can’t help but believe it means something to send those greetings.
3.I’m in the loop. Through Facebook, I’ve been much better informed about the lives of my brothers and sisters: who’s on vacation, who’s having surgery, who’s having a bad day, and so on.
4.I pray via Facebook. I have had multiple opportunities to include a short prayer for a member of the church, and I’ve linked my daily prayer blog to my profile page, so my church family can gain a sense of what I’m praying each day.
5.It makes me “normal.” As normal as a pastor can be, that is. People can see on Facebook if I share an interest of theirs, or keep up with the semi-normal pursuits of my daily life.
6.It extends my example when I mention that I’m on a date night with my wife, or “sabbathing,” or “complining before bedtiming,” for example.
7.It helps me learn names. I have actually studied photos of people in the church whom I’ve “friended” on Facebook to try to improve my recollection when I see them at church. And just yesterday we got a program tab with a newcomer’s contact info on it, and I wasn’t sure of the last name...until that person asked me to “friend” her on Facebook!
8.It has increased my photo library of church things. Last week, after a child dedication on Sunday, a friend posted photos of her child’s dedication and “tagged” me in the picture. I copied those photos to my own files.
9.Facebook gets the word out. A few months ago, my church got a donation of brand new white boards. We installed those we needed and had one left over. I saw a ministry friend’s update on Facebook saying he was shopping for a white board. I sent him a message and a few days later he had a brand new board at no cost.
10. It encourages me and invites prayer for me. A while back, I was having a really crummy day, and said so in my update. Within minutes, a bunch of friends assured me they loved me and were praying for me. For a guy whose tendency is to suffer alone, that’s a huge benefit.
11. It makes me laugh. With all the stresses that come with public ministry, having an occasional friend poke fun at me---or me at them---makes the load a little lighter.
12. It makes me look cooler than I really am. At least, cooler than pastors who aren’t on Facebook, right?

I’m sure I’m forgetting or overlooking a few more ministry advantages to Facebook. Feel free to add your own in the comments. And, by the way, it’s not as time-consuming as most people think. I keep my Facebook page open in the background and check it a few times a day, max. Honestly. Seriously. No, really. No kidding. I’m being straight with you. Oops, just got a message on Facebook. Gotta go.


  1. Bob, as a pastor I totally agree. People seem to be more honest when they can type it than say it out loud or to someone's face. I have been able to counsel through facebook when someone from the congregation doesn't feel comfortable speaking when their family members can hear, such as on the phone or on a given Sunday. It surely has also been a support network for myself. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one out there and some days I feel ike I wish I was in heaven and out of all the stress but then God opens doors (such as the conversation with you a while ago) that puts me back in perspective of why I do what I do on a daily basis.

    I am so thankful that God uses multiple means of ministry and I believe that what Satan means for evil, God can use for good and facebook has become a good thing.

    I only pray that as facebook dwindles as technology increases, that people will continue to be open and honest as they are in writing.

    Thank you for your ministry. Blessings~

  2. Jason Wilcoxon commented via Facebook:

    i think everything you've said on there was true - facebook was invaluable to me when i was in student ministries. people can be brutally honest about what's going on in their lives on FB in ways they never would be in "real life."

    i find the danger for me is that it starts to take the place of real interaction with real people. i think we're living in a culture that's more and more virtual and less and less real. I worry about the long term ramifications of that, and the Church's role in protecting real relationships.

    the other thing, is that Facebook is goign to go away. It's already started - Twitter is the big thing now and once twitter catches on, something else is going to rise up and take it's place. Myspace was cool, but you can watch and know when it's sort of apexed (the sign for me is when the quizzes and surveys begin taking over. when they hit myspace, it had about 18 mos left. that gives FB another 12 mos :D). if we set up patterns of behaviors around FB, there may be a danger in not knowing what to do when FB disappears.