St. Matthews Evangelical Lutheran School
Social Media Policy Guidelines
“…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Overview and Purpose
As Staff and Volunteer Leaders of any congregation, we are urged to honor that call with reverence by the way we live our lives, and our “lives online” are no exception. The things that we post and the manner with which we conduct ourselves online should be no different than any other public forum. This document is to serve a purpose similar to a code of conduct or ethical guideline regarding this type of activity.
“Social Media” applies to all forms including, but not limited to blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Wikipedia or other wikis. Regardless of the Social Media outlet - what you author or post or whatever you put forth to others - never forget whom you have been called to be.
"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." II Corinthians 5:20
1.Anonymity and Permanence
The amount of information that is now able to be stored and recalled is unprecedented. This also means that it can be more easily searched and followed back to its source, regardless of whether or not it has been "removed", because it never truly disappears. Just as words cannot be "unsaid", posts and links can never be removed or deleted. Please carefully consider this before authoring or posting anything. Once it's "out there", it is "out there" somewhere for a very long time.
2.The School and Church vs. my life – what’s the difference?
Because of your Faith and your Calling, your Called Life and what you share of your personal life are inseparable, and that should always be at the forefront of your mind, even when posting or authoring material not related to our school or church. Each of us - not as leaders or teachers, but at the root, Christians - should treat these two seemingly different worlds as one. There is no separating them. Always provide the same respect and kindness to others that you would have them provide to you.
3.Linking to Controversy
Likewise, avoid posting any link or statement or image that would either reflect negatively on you or run contrary to Christian teaching. If you think that any of the preceding items may cause controversy among our members or parents, it probably shouldn't be posted.
Just as you would in any other forum, please treat any confidential information as just that - with the greatest confidence possible. Even a vague reference to any situation can be "figured out" or, worse yet, be fuel to a fire of speculation, rumor, and gossip. Avoid any of these situations, and be reminded to "build each other up".
5.Positive promotion of the Church and School
A large part of our Evangelism - our spreading of the Gospel - is to encourage others to attend our Worship Services and consider the enrollment of their children in our Christian Day School. If anything is to be said of the Church or School, it should be of the best construction, and it should be encouraging of the Mission of our congregation.
If a negative comment is posted about the church or school, any one of its members, or about you yourself, please avoid any online retaliation. As tempting as it might be to pay back one negative comment with another, we're to remember what is commanded of all of us in Matthew 18. - that we should go to that person and talk "...just between the two of you."
Remember to represent our congregation, our Lutheran Day School, and our Savior all to His Glory, and to His purpose of spreading the Gospel.
"Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." I Corinthians 15:58