Five Reasons Why Pastors Are Getting Fired Because of Their Social Media Posts

March 6, 2017

“It’s not fair I lost my job,” the pastor told me.

“My church members post a lot worse things than I do on social media. It’s a double standard.”

He’s right. It is a double standard. But it’s reality. And, with greater frequency, more pastors and church staff are losing their jobs because of what they post, particularly on Facebook and Twitter and, to some extent, their blogs.

By the way, churches will not always tell the pastor the specific reason for the firing. But, once we begin to infuriate our church members with our posts, many will find a myriad of reasons to give us the boot.

I recently recommended a pastor to another church. I think very highly of him. Indeed, the search committee chairman seemed genuinely enthused when I recommended him. He contacted me a couple of weeks later with this comment: “We can’t consider him. He’s just too snarky and sarcastic on social media.”

Of course, this pastor was not fired. But he never had a chance to be considered by another church.

So what are pastors posting on social media that is raising the ire of church members? It typically falls into one or more of these five categories:

  1. Generally combative and sarcastic comments. Do you know someone that seems always to be in debate on social media? They always want to prove their points, and they will take you on personally if you disagree with them. There are now a number of former pastors in this category.
  2. Political comments. If you make a political comment in today’s incendiary environment, you will offend someone. The persons you offend may just be the ones who push you out the church.
  3. Taking on church members. I cringe when I see church members posting critical comments against a pastor or church staff member. I cringe even more when the pastor decides to take them on in a public forum. Most readers have no idea the context of the conflict. They just see their pastor acting like a jerk.
  4. Criticizing other people. I have a friend who served as pastor of four churches. He loved criticizing well-known pastors, celebrities, Christian leaders, and others on social media. He was fired from his last church without a stated cause. I believe I know why. And he has gone three years without finding another place in ministry.
  5. Unsavory comments. A pastor or church staff member making lewd or suggestive comments on social media gains nothing, even if it’s a quote from a movie or someone else. The consequences are always negative.

This post is not about pastors losing their prophetic voices. It’s about pastors and church staff losing their ministries because of their failure to control their digital tongues.

“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself . . . (The tongue) pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.” (James 1:26, 3:6)

Social media is not the place to vent or to wage petty battles.

The consequences are simply too great.

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67 Comments

  • Montgomery says on

    What about a pastor who uses the parable of the lost sheep to complain about not being able to rejoice over the 99 because he has to go after the one that is astray? Then the asst pastor comments on it and now you have a conversation between two Shepherds in the church about the sheep on a public platform? Most readers and followers don’t really know what the post pertains to and comment in their support, but the one they are discussing in parable terms has not actually left the fold, but has been wronged and bashed by several other members because he doesn’t want to support a budget that will increase pastoral salaries? He didn’t leave the flock, he is alienated. How does a member approach this situation when he is voted down for a vacant position in the church that would help out the financial situation, and when elders tell him that he is the problem and is slandering the pastor because he confronted the pastor when he lied to the church in a newsletter that all bills were paid and the church was not in debt? The church is $42000 in debt, and the finance records prove so. Only facts were stated and what his plan of action would be if he was elected chairman of the congregation to help lead the church back to fiscal responsibility. How do you respond in a Christian manner when you are pegged as the work of the devil when you are only try to help after nominations were begged for the position and no one else stepped up?

  • It seems you are automatically assuming that the pastor said or did something wrong. It seems to me that there are WAY TOO MANY namby-pamby congregants who get their panties all in a wad over hearing the Truth.

    Oh my, did I really just say that? Oh well, I guess there goes my chances at ever being a pastor.

    Seriously, I’d bet the farm that those “churches” firing the majority of those pastors would never tolerate some of the greatest, God-fearing, God-loving, Truth-Telling pastors in the History of Christendom. I’m thinking of some of the greatest Theologians in Christian History and some of their statements. Folks like Spurgeon, Tozer, Calvin, Augustine, Calvin, Knox, Luther, Edwards, Ryle, Wesley, Packer, Stott, Billy Graham, MacArthur, Graves, White, and there are a couple of other more modern day folks that I can’t think of right now.

    In fact, I’d bet that even Christ, Peter, and Paul would get fired. Just think about some of the things they said!

  • VanPastorMan says on

    I do not have a facebook account,but my wife does. Neither of us have any of the other social media outlets. Sometimes I use her facebook account to announce something to the public such as prayer requests. When I do make comments online it is through a pseudonym. None of you know who VanPastorMan is. It just might help keep me employed in the ministry.

  • Marie R. says on

    I guess we better not call anyone a “brood of vipers.”

  • “It’s not fair I lost my job,” the pastor told me.

    The first line tells me that pastor’s attitude isn’t right. Pastoring a congregation isn’t a “job”. And even the term “fire” strikes me as odd. I wonder what Peter and Paul, et al, would say to that idea?

  • “It is so important to examine our heart motives when dealing with our fellow believers and apply Grace and to live peaceably with all men, especially those who are of the household of faith.”

    1 Timothy 5:
    1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

    Galatians 6: 1-2, 10
    1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
    2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

    10 As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto those who are of the household of faith.

    Romans 12:
    16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
    17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
    18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
    19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

  • This is a valid points and Not only does it apply to Church but also Job. Employers are checking Employees Social Media Post too. Some conversations are best reserved privately between Family and Friends not on Social Media. Pastors and Church Leaders are held to a higher standard by GOD and set an example for the flock they serve. Remember Act. 6:4 “Then we’ll devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Apostle Paul

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