Due to the public nature of the Internet, we recommend that churches refrain from posting personal contact information on the church website. In the event that you have a specific event that you are advertising, I recommend having inquiries be directed to the church office. The church office can then disseminate the information to the pertinent individuals.
Many churches and ministries regularly use social networking sites, such as Facebook, in their ministry efforts. While this sort of technology is a relevant and effective method of communication, your organization should be aware of the inherent legal, ethical and moral implications that are tied to this type of media. Specifically, you should be aware that:
(a) Public Forum: The internet and social media tools are a public and not a private forum. This means that anything posted online is available, regardless of privacy settings used or efforts to delete the content. And, for the most part, any postings or statements made in this setting are available to be viewed for a long period of time, perhaps indefinitely.
(b) Confidentiality: As an employee of the church, you will be privy to and receive information that is confidential in nature. You must use caution not to intentionally or inadvertently discuss, transmit, divulge or reproduce in any form confidential information. This includes the publication of private prayer requests.
(c) Intellectual Property: The church must make sure not to post logos, materials, trademarks, copyrights or other creative works that do not belong to the church.
(d) Devotion of Time: Time devoted to social media for ministry related purposes should be reasonable and should create value for your ministry.
While it is true that there are a number of risks with using a social media site, there are also a lot of benefits. I recommend that all churches and ministries adopt a “social media policy” that addresses these issues.