I recently posted a video promoting our Easter Sunday services.
Essentially, it’s made up of a whole lot of talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave and what that means for us today, plus one little mention that there might be some live bunnies at church for kids to pet and take pictures with.
Here it is, for reference…
The nature of Facebook is such, that, some folks who are Christians but don’t really think in terms of how to reach the culture around us, publicly rebuked us for “compromising with the world” by insinuating that bunnies have something to do with the resurrection of Jesus.
Let me be clear – I don’t think bunnies have any direct connection to the topic of Jesus’ resurrection whatsoever. I just think they’re cute and cuddly and nice, so it’s nice that someone wants to bring a couple of them for the kids to meet after church.
The problem with Facebook commenting is that people don’t all necessarily think with the same filters that you do before hitting the return key and posting their thoughts. In this case, the comments weren’t abusive or even very argumentative, but they would have been a significant distraction to someone seeking to know more about Christianity.
So I hid the comments. Not every communications manager would handle the situation quite the same, and there are several options, so I wanted to share a few thoughts about how I approach handling negative comments on a church Facebook page. These are my filters and corresponding actions…
- If it’s a disagreement, we allow it to remain and we interact as much as needed. We do this because we often say that we’re not afraid of tough questions, and we’re okay with people being emotionally honest.
- If it’s a disagreement stated in an argumentative way, we interact but we “hide” the comment so that the conversation is between us and the commenter. Their friends can see the discussion, but the rest of the public cannot. We do this so as not to involve seekers and skeptics in an argument.
- If it’s a disrespectful comment, either toward the church or toward a person, we delete it and we don’t interact with it at all.
- If it’s heresy or downright insulting or even slanderous, we delete the comment and ban the commenter from being able to see or interact with our posts in the future.
- If it’s threatening in some way, we delete it ban them, and report them to Facebook.
And then after we’ve taken the most appropriate course of action, we move on. We don’t consider it persecution – it’s just the human nature on display on social media.
If you’re in the ministry of sharing Jesus and proclaiming God’s truth to the culture, there will inevitably, no matter what approach you take to communications, those who respond negatively to your church’s message.
Interact with grace.
Don’t strike back.
Take the high road.
Let those little phrases govern your interactions with people outside the church so that we reflect the personality of Jesus in all that we do online.