It happens all the time. An excited Children’s Ministry Director uploads photos to the church website of kids having a great time in their church programs. It helps promote the ministry, right?
While social media is a great tool for marketing ministry there are protocols that you need to know. Simply stated, you cannot post pictures or videos of minors without parental permission. Whether you are a small church or a very large ministry, this applies to everyone!
Legally, you cannot show any “recognizable” photo of a child, which means that you can post a photo from the back of a head or if their face is blurred. The best practice is always to protect yourself and the children in your ministry by having written permission from the parents of every minor whose picture you might show on your website or on any social network.
At Community Bible Church, San Antonio, Texas, we include this on the back of our first-time registration forms for children and double-check that we have it on file before posting any photo online. It is also a good practice to renew this release form on an annual basis with each minor involved in your ministry.
Here’s an example of a simple media release that you might consider using:
I hereby grant permission for [church or ministry name] to record pictures or videos of my child [minor’s name] while on the church property or at a church-sponsored event. I also give permission to [church or ministry name] to use these images or videos in church print and online publications including church websites and social networks.
[Editor’s Note: Nils will be part of the teaching team at the eConnect Conference at Group Publishing, November 4-6, 2015. This event will help you learn more about using online tools and social ministry to grow your church. For more information, click here.]