The first step toward protecting your church’s online presence is to get informed. Start by familiarizing your leadership and media teams with your current digital tools, how they work, and how their guidelines may be limiting your ministry.
Most Big Tech companies, like Facebook and YouTube, have community guidelines that describe what kind of content is not allowed on their platforms. The most common types of content that can be reported and restricted are hate speech, misinformation, harmful content, and scams. Anyone—regardless of their relationship to your community—can file a complaint against your church’s live streams, videos, or posts if they believe the content violates these subjective standards.
For example, one church’s Easter service live stream was blocked by both Facebook and YouTube after receiving complaints about the portrayal of Jesus’ crucifixion. YouTube even stated that the church was “Appearing to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to users.” The church explained how the crucifixion scene was presented with the “intent of helping us all understand the incredible gift of grace,” but they still faced a lengthy and frustrating process to get the video reinstated. Unfortunately, they couldn’t repair the negative impact its removal had on their Easter Sunday service.
The reality is that most tech companies aren’t built with the Church in mind. That’s why it’s important to know if your digital tools are helping or hurting your mission.