Social Media and Moving Pastors


First off let me announce that at this time I AM NOT moving. I’m not on the move list (as far as I know) and since I did not hear anything last week I’m pretty sure it will stay that way. Why do we UM ministers have to always lead with this stuff! But moving is on my mind since cabinet did meet last week and I do know people who are on the move list.

As I started thinking I realized the changes in social media since I moved last (June of 2007). When I moved to Trinity I had a very inactive Facebook page with only a few friends. Since moving I gained more and more friends on Facebook as it became even more popular. Many of my parishioners from my current church are friends of mine on Facebook. There are great opportunities to be in contact with them and pray for them as we share life via social networking. But what happens when I do move?
I know there are some pastors who are processing this thought since they will be facing this reality in June. There are others who have already lived through it. My main question is…how do you handle making pastoral transitions and your social networking?
I know there is a rule (written or unwritten) that a moving pastor should not be in contact with the congregation they are moving away from for about a year. This gives the pastor moving in a chance to settle and establish ministerial authority without being in competition with the one who just left. This was easier to do BFT, (before Facebook & Twitter). But we live in a world that breaths FB and Twitter now and so how do you handle the transition. Do moving pastors take a year off form FB and Twitter? Do they de-friend/unfollow their old congregation and only accept friends from their new one? Do you limit past laity’s access to your account and give them no ability to comment on your wall and posts for a year?
This is a new realm of thinking when it comes to moving pastors but it is a reality. I know if I was getting to know a new congregation, Facebook and Twitter are places where it would be easy to start building relationships but it would be hard if you kept seeing the previous minister adding the conversations.
So what do you all think? What have you done? Should a petition be written to General Conference and our disciple changed because of these new social networking sites? (just kidding on that one) But what have ministers done or are doing to give room for saying goodbye to old relationships and welcoming new ones in the area of social networking?