do you friend your members on facebook?

>> March 26, 2009

I'm sort of a Facebook snob. I'm constantly deleting people (who aren't interacting) and I've been known to "ignore" people's friend requests. In one instance, I have a friend request from a church member just sitting in there waiting for me to take action. This person never speaks to me (more than "hello") in the real world. I'm a little apprehensive about letting people into my Facebook life who don't already know me in some tangible way. I don't want Facebook to be a place where I have to censor myself because "so-and-so may read this."

But what kind of a snotty PW am I if I deny members the opportunity to connect with me...even if it's through Facebook (which may be more comfortable for them)?

What are your thoughts on this ladies? I'm open to being corrected. How do you mesh social networking, your private life and ministry?


Anonymous,  March 26, 2009 at 11:28 AM  

What's a private life?
My husband pretty much has an open door policy in every area of our life, and that spreads over to my life as well. Our house is open 24 hours a day, anyone and everyone is our friend on facebook, etc...
This is why when my kids fall asleep in the car, I sneak through the drive-through at Starbucks and go for a quiet drive, semi ALONE!

Anonymous,  March 26, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

I actually have a TON of friends on facebook that I regret having. I have no idea how to de-friend them and of course don't want to be offensive! But I hate to censure what comes on my page from very old friends and what I'm writing too. If I had to do it over again I would stick to folks I'm actually FRIENDS with... not those I'm acquainted with or know only through ministry...

Sandra March 26, 2009 at 1:24 PM  

Facebook has actually been a great way for me to connect to the ladies in our church. It's helped me to get to know women I don't see often at church or get to talk to.

If you want a way to connect without too much personal info out there, maybe you should Twitter. I feel like Twitter is more casual, but fewer of your church members are probably on Twitter.

Don't worry about being snobby no matter what you decide. You have the right to put up fences where you want to. And if you want to keep Facebook private, no one should leave the church over it!

Lana MacKay March 26, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Suggestion 1: Be inclusive on Facebook, and use it as a ministry tool. Since you use your real name on Facebook, it's hard to keep people out of the know you are there and feelings can be hurt and offenses can occur.

Suggestion 2: Get a LiveJournal and only tell people who you want to share your life with openly. When you make entries on LiveJournal, it is similar to blogspot, but you can decide if you want it public, friends only, or selected friends (you can make filters with only certain friends on it).

Hope this is helpful.

Holly Furtick March 26, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

I actually don't have a Facebook page because of this dilemma. While I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I also don't want to be so open to people I don't know. Thats why I blog... I have considered creating a Facebook under my maiden name only, an idea I am toying with...

Opal March 26, 2009 at 2:26 PM  

For me Facebook has been an incredible outreach tool. It has been my experience as well, that people who have never spoken to me added me as a friend on facebook. I use to believe that such persons only sent an invite to have a peek! That may or may not be the case for some of them, but I have also found that there are people that always wanted to reach out to me, but never knew exactly how to or didn't have a forum to do so before, and have used facebook to do so.

Through this experience I have forged some good alliances, we are able to share readings, text,prayer request and other valuable information with each other. While I would not say that some of these folk are friends, they have become acquaintances.

There will always be a person or two that send a add that you are not quit comfortable adding for various reasons, and its OK not to add them. But I believe that as PW's but most importantly as Christians we should always make ourselves friendly to others and always be witnesses for Christ.

Also if you have information that you are concerned about some people reading or seeing, then it may be a wise thing not to even post it on Facebook in the first place.

Jessica March 26, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

I think nothing should go on Facebook that you're not prepared for EVERYONE to know. The internet is open and it doesn't matter who you friend or ignore. People forward comments and talk to their neighbors. Nothing on the internet is private and we should all be aware of that when we decide what we post.

In that spirit, I friend everyone so I know what they're into (how much have I learned about the teens in our church off Facebook!), but I carefully edit my updates.

Cindy Beall March 26, 2009 at 3:12 PM  

I have a Facebook page and pretty much become friends with whomever asks. For me, I want to be available to women who might find themselves in the same predicament I did. That way, they can at least "message" me on there.

I really don't think there is a right or wrong way. Just someone's preference.

Lori Wilhite March 26, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

I don't request friends very often on Facebook ... but accept everyone who requests. I really love Facebook because there is the privacy option.

With messages, you can write only to the people you want to. I set my family pictures to private only letting selected friends see them. It works out great ... kind of a best of both worlds thing.

GODWOTTERY:: March 26, 2009 at 6:13 PM  

I friend anyone on Facebook that I've met or had other interaction with. Since I travel the world for work, this means I have oodles of FB friends - including many members of our church.

For me, FB is a tool for interacting, ministering, and staying connected with friends. To maintain my privacy, I do add work/church contacts to a "limited profile" category. That way only my closest friends can see all my information or photographs.

We are open-door people too - while we fiercely protect our family date times, we feel we can't be authentic if we're one way at home and another way "out there". Having an open door attitude keeps us accountable to always be authentic.

So that means I also don't post anything on FB, even for my closest friends, that I wouldn't want the whole world to see...

Anonymous,  March 26, 2009 at 8:21 PM  

I agree with Jessica... my Mom (who lives 300 miles away from me) hears things about me and the people who interact with me on my facebook page from ladies at her church who are in my friend list.

I have a good friend from college who is a pastor. He does not allow any church memebers as friends - he pretty much uses it for high school and college friendships. My hubby does NOT have facebook for this reason... it really wouldn't be appropriate for him... too much time required to respond to everyone - he can barely keep up with his email.

Leslie March 26, 2009 at 8:39 PM  

I have a Facebook page and I am friends with a lot our church members.

One thing I am learning this year is balance and I think it can apply here too.

We want to be open enough with our lives that the people (especially women) in our church can see how real we are and learn from our example in the real world. However, I still believe that some things should be "ours". As pastors wives we need "safe" places to go and just be ourselves.

I would suggest that if you are already on Facebook and are struggling with being friends with certain people, then be honest with them. If you are not on Faceboook, but want to be, then go ahead and set your boundaries now. That way, no one gets hurt and you don't feel like it becomes one more area where people have access to you when you are just needing a little space.

dpm March 26, 2009 at 10:19 PM  

Thanks for all the input, ladies. It's interesting to see how many of you use FB as an "official" ministry tool. It has strictly been a place for me to connect with old and current friends. For the record, I don't post anything questionable anywhere online. My fear with Facebook has been that things I say, and the way I interact with long-time friends (and the way they interact with me) could be misinterpreted by someone who is not already familiar with my personality and its many quirks. I'm about to go friend all of you.... and you'd better accept. ha ha ha

Erin March 26, 2009 at 11:42 PM  

Great discussion! I too like using FB as a ministry tool. I didn't intend for it to happen that way, but it has. I have gotten to know more people in our church this way.

And of course, it's for fun too! It all seems to work for me!

Disney Scrapper March 27, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

I use facebook for family and friends. I only have one church member who is on facebook. Most of our church members don't really know what facebook is about. But it wouldn't be a problem for me because I don't post things that I don't have a problem with people knowing about.

Rodlie Ortiz March 27, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

That's a great question. Sometimes I feel like a little odd myself. There are various people that I've added that I don't really know very well. Church members I always let in, because I see that as an opportunity to minister to them. But I'm tempted to let some people go that I never interact with.

Veronica Brown April 2, 2009 at 12:27 AM  

yes - I friend everyone. I use it as a "ministry"

JulieAnn,  April 2, 2009 at 4:09 PM  

I personally don't like the thought of having all our church goers on my facebook page. I've had a few ask to be friends and I've accepted. For me, it's a matter of privacy. Why throw myself into more of a glass house then I have to?

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