Instagram Will Kill Your Youth Ministry (a repost)

instagramI was just finishing up my previous post about social media when I saw a link to this article. It was originally posted on YouthMinistry.com and speaks to another danger of social media.

I thought the author had some excellent reminders to leaders involved in youth ministry. We need to have relationships with our students, but we need to guard them to make sure they are appropriate. This provided some good food for thought.

You can read the original post here.

Social media has swept across this great nation like wildfire. Facebook is on its way out. If you still use MySpace you’re most likely a stalker—or very lonely. Twitter is still rocking along quite steadily and has yet to be completely infiltrated by preteens and stay-at-home moms. Vine represents the latest trend in video social media. And Instagram has firmly captured the market on pics. All of these sites host the massive “no, no” that I would like to delve into for a brief moment, but perhaps Instagram and Twitter host the largest majority of the crimes.

I am, of course, talking about the local male youth pastor taking a “selfie” with one of his female students. Some of you might not think that this is a big deal, but it carries major implications. And quite frankly, it seriously ticks me off. Every time I see this pop up on my timeline I want to throw my iPhone and kick a puppy. Seriously bro, how could you be so dumb? Here are some of the reasons why this is inappropriate.

1. A description of the crime
I’m not talking about posting a group pic of several students or even a group pic of several of your female students and you along side them. I’m talking about the pic that only includes the youth minister and a female student. This crime is only intensified when the two are extremely close. To make matters worse, I often see the youth minister and the female student hugged up on each other. The youth minister further brings criticism against himself if this offense is repeated on a weekly basis. Seriously bro, stop now.

2. It’s straight-up creepy
Every time we see that pic pop up on our timeline we all think, “That dude is a creep.”

3. Rumors spread quickly
If a crazed teenager grows angry at you, it is not uncommon for them to make up horrific stories about you. You can read real-life stories of this on the Internet. Don’t give anyone ammo to use against you.

4. Ministers of the gospel must be above reproach.
First Timothy 3:2 tells us that “an overseer must be above reproach…”

Ephesians 5:3 states, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”

Posting picks of just you and a female student certainly leaves room for speculation. As a minister and a Christian, we must work to remove any room for criticism in the realm of sexual immorality. Don’t ride alone with a female student. Don’t counsel alone with a female student. And don’t post selfies with female students.

Daniel is the Student Pastor at Clearview Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. You can join the conversation at danielbeckworth.com.

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