My seminary shared an excellent article from a pastor with us alumni in which he shared what he was looking for on resumes for perspective staff. One of the hints he gave was to list our Facebook, Linkedin and other social media sites. He put the issue in perspective; a church search committee is going to check you out so why not just help them out. I want to carry this thought a bit further and point out what I as a pastoral candidate am going to do in my search for a place of ministry. First let me say that small churches and struggling churches do not bother me. What does bother me is a church that is disengaged from its community and culture. A churches social media presence is one of the best measures I have found to use when determining how engaged a church is with its community.
When I see a notice that a church is looking for a pastor I want to try and find out a little about the church. The first thing I do is Google that church. Just performing a simple search can be quite interesting. The search on one church revealed Google couldn’t even find its address on the map! Needless to say the church had no web page, no Facebook page, not even a photo of the building that a member had posted somewhere. I quickly decided not to send that church an inquiry or resume.
The lack of social media also reveals something about the churches personality. It reveals a personality that is mired in the past, which has no desire to even try to stay relevant. I’ve heard the arguments before; that Facebook and the like are just play toys, that they have no time for foolishness, that computers are just too filled with evil, and on and on. I find it interesting however that although churches thrived for years without electricity, a telephone, air conditioning, or even indoor plumbing, there are few if any churches that don’t have all of the above. A church’s refusal to have any kind of internet or social media presence reveals that the church fails to realize that the mimeographed (if the reader knows what a mimeograph machine is then you are like me and older than dirt) newsletter of yesterday is simply today’s blog. Yesterdays yellow page ad is today’s website.
When a church forgoes a social media presence it is actually telling the community and world that it doesn’t want anyone to know who they are, where they are, what they are doing, or what their message is. Whether we like it or not people look to social media to find out these things. When a man considers whether to become a churches pastor he is entitled to know something about that church. Especially when that man is considering moving several hundred miles, and often at his own expense, he deserves to know what he is getting into.
Churches do you want to attract men of God who can lead you into the future? Do you want to have a future? James put it this way, “show me you faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”. Churches show me your works so I see your faith! I have shown you my works and faith on-line! There is certainly no works and no faith shown when Google can’t even find you on the map.