Daily Blog Email
Before we even start, let’s address the elephant in the room: the disdain Christians have for Snapchat because it’s a “porn app.”
Yes, the original draw of the app was that you can send pictures that disappear after a number of seconds.
Yes, people use it to send inappropriate pictures of themselves to each other.
Yes, you can now send money to each other over Snapchat, opening up the possibility of paying for someone to send you inappropriate pictures.
Yes, this is concerning.
No, this should not keep you from using Snapchat.
Because literally any of the above concerns exist for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email, and you definitely use at least one of those for your ministry already. (I think you should be using ’em all.)
You know Facebook was borne out of a “hot-or-not” of Harvard website right? That’s not very Christian.
People also use Facebook to hookup with old girlfriends and leave their wives. The Bible says that’s not cool.
Are you taking your Facebook page down yet?
No, you’re not, and you shouldn’t. People use perfectly neutral tools for good and ill, and Snapchat is simply the newest case of that.
You have an Instagram? Does your ministry have one?
You know we can send inappropriate pictures directly to people on Instagram too, right? Just like Snapchat.
I don’t hear many boycotts raging for Instagram.
Look, I get it.
Sure, Snapchat’s origins and most-publicized uses aren’t as kosher as we’d like, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it in our ministry.
I use Snapchat all the time to send or view goofy-captioned pictures or drawings to my friends. It’s a new method of communication that’s even more brief, transient, and personal than texting.
Young adult pastors, college pastors, youth pastors: your people are on Snapchat, and they’re likely using it for perfectly-fine purposes. Stop guilt-tripping them and join them.
Don’t be afraid of something just because you don’t understand it.
You need to be on Snapchat because your people are there.
I should be clear before we keep going: I am advocating for a ministry Snapchat account, not a personal Snapchat account for the pastor to do all of this. I have no problem with a personal account for the pastor, but I think accountability needs to be a HUGE part of this, which is why I think a ministry account is more feasible than a personal account. I would advise that your ministry team set serious ground rules that I won’t outline here. If you want suggestions for ground rules, contact me.
I should also be clear that this is a post for pastors to use Snapchat as a part of their ministry. If I had a 14-15 year old kid, he or she would not have Snapchat. This is not a blanket endorsement for children to have Snapchat. That’s a personal call, and I’m not here to tell people how to parent. This is for pastors of ministries, not parents of children.
Here are three ways your ministry can redeem Snapchat:
Send Scripture. Send clips of worship songs. Write an inspiring quote on the whiteboard in your office and send it out.
The verses and encouragement you post on Facebook is great, but to be honest, it’s largely going unheard if you’re ministering to a bunch of high school students. They’re not on Facebook because their parents are. Ask for the Snapchat contacts of the students or young adults in your group and start encouraging them where they’re at: Snapchat.
This is a really practical way your ministry can use Snapchat. You’ve got a worship night on Friday night? Send a clip of a song with text super-imposed over it with the details of the event.
Taking the college students to laser tag on Friday night? Get your Nerf guns and film a mini battle in the office and Snap it over to the students with the time and place.
Stop cowering in the shadow of shady uses and start getting creative!
One of my favorite features of Snapchat is the “My Story” function, which acts like a picture/video journal for the user.
A really cool way for your ministry to use Snapchat would be for you post EVERYTHING you do to your My Story so that Snapchat users can get a feel for what your ministry is like.
A high school student could stumble across your ministry’s account, think it’s really cool you’re on Snapchat, see a clip of your Wednesday night service, and figure out a way to come.
Look, I know people use Snapchat for questionable reasons. But realistically, when you encourage students to engage with you on any form of social media or broader Internet platform, you’re opening up both parties to a certain amount of risk.
Figure out a way, with safety and accountability measures in place, to take Snapchat and use it for the good of your ministry.
It’s possible, I promise. We just have to abandon the “Snapchat is sin” groupthink, and realize that it’s just the youngest of a long line of helpful-but-volatile social media platforms.