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Seven Commandments for Electronic Communications

Communicating across a variety of social media platforms provides youth ministers with valuable avenues to connect with teens in their church communities.

Risk management experts at Brotherhood Mutual offer these seven guidelines church staff and volunteers should follow when engaging with their youth in the electronic world.

  1. Spell it out: Train ministry staff and volunteers so they will understand how to appropriately use electronic communication within ministry.

  2. Write it down: Your church's communication's policy should contain clear guidelines about how staff is allowed to interact with students in all electronic communications, including texting and social media. Have your policy reviewed by a legal expert with experience in ministry communications.

  3. Use privacy settings: Some churches have found that creating closed groups on platforms such as Facebook allows staff and students to interact within a more protected environment. If you are communicating via text, send messages only in groups. Never text one-on-one with a student.

  4. Assign a monitor: Designate a few trusted individuals from your ministry group to monitor your social media channels. Provide training on what should and should not be shared online so they will have guidelines on how to keep your pages relevant and protect your ministry.

  5. Include the parents: No matter which social media platform you are utilizing in your communication, be sure to include parents. This allows youths' parents to remain informed about events and activities with which their teens are involved.

  6. Educate your students: Help your teens understand the real dangers of misusing electronic communications and social media. Explain the emotional hurt and legal ramifications that can result from sharing explicit or other inappropriate content.

  7. Model good behavior: Being a good role model for your youth extends to electronic communications. Be the one to set the example and always follow Biblical communication principles.

Perhaps the best rule of thumb is to handle all electronic interactions with the same respect and responsibility that comes with face-to-face communication.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate safety precautions for programs and activities.

All property and liability insurance coverages are provided by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company and are subject to conditions, coverage limits, limitations and exclusions. GuideStone Agency Services is an appointed agency of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company in Texas and Alabama.