How to Respond to Negative Comments About Your Church on Social Media

Nowadays, social media for churches is a must. They act as the first point of call for potential new attendees at your church, provide a platform for your community online and appeal to younger congregants. But while there are countless benefits to church social media, it's imperative to be aware of the downsides.

Chris Holland
June 17, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

The online world allows unfiltered criticism more than ever before. This kind of negativity can feel harsh or uncalled for, especially as it gets plastered online where everyone can read it. It feels like a smear against your church’s good name and can cause a lot of anxiety and conflict too.

First things first, consider what type of negative comment you have received. From here, you can decide the best way to respond based on the validity of the problems. There is no one-size-fits-all response to negative comments, so it's crucial to assess each one as it comes, but most do follow the same patterns.

If you are faced with negative comments on social media, follow these guidelines to respond with dignity.

Constructive Criticism

Upset woman from bad church experience

Someone has had a bad experience at your church, and for a good reason. Their negative comment is entirely justified, and it offers a learning experience for you as a church leader. This could involve anything from a disorganized parking system to an inappropriate kids’ ministry lesson.

How to Respond

Take some time to get to the bottom of their complaint. Find out who was working that day and which volunteers they interacted with to understand the validity of their criticism. When responding, make sure you acknowledge their point, highlight how you will address the issue, and welcome them back to your church.

Anger or Frustration

Man making angry face

Sometimes, people have an experience at the church that makes them feel full of emotions. Whether this is anger at a decision made by the pastor or frustration about not feeling heard by their team, negative feelings fueled by emotions need to be handled with caution.

How to Respond

In this case, someone has genuinely been hurt by something that happened at your ministry. If you want to remedy this situation, you need to approach it with a more personal response. Reach out to them privately to offer your apologies if they are due to see if there is any chance of reconciliation. 

The Mistaken

Looks like a mistake

Every once in a while, you might find a comment that seems to make no sense at all. Perhaps they are complaining about something you don’t even offer or criticizing a church volunteer who was away on the day they claim. Before doubting the comment publicly, do your research to save any awkward mistakes.

How to Respond

The best way to respond to these is with a gentle sandwich response. Start by thanking them for taking the time to share their experiences. Then, subtly highlight that they must be mistaken. Don’t do it in a judgmental way that blames them or suggests they have bad intentions, but don’t apologize either. Instead, welcome them to join you at your next event to see if their opinion has changed.

Profanity or Obscenity

Man making and Irate face

There are people out there who don’t know what’s acceptable or appropriate on a church social media page, who will cuss and blind freely. In some cases, this might feel like you are getting trolled on social media, particularly if the account using blasphemous language is anonymous.

How to Respond

If you know the person, firmly remind them that you do not tolerate that kind of language on your page before deleting the comment. If you don’t know the person or their account is anonymous, it’s probably not even worth your effort to respond. Simply delete it and move on. When the same account strikes more than once, block them.



Online platforms breed an environment where trolls and cyberbullies can thrive without fear of consequence or need for repentance. They might leave comments full of hate speech, vile language, and even threats. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with a troll on your church's social media posts, but if you do, here’s how to handle it.

How to Respond

Accounts like these thrive on knowing they are having an impact and eliciting fear in others. So, responding and engaging with them is one of the worst things you can do. It is essential to block them but also report the account so they might get suspended. Try not to let the things they say get under your skin.

Arguments in the Comments

Arguments between congregants or even strangers can sometimes break out in the comments section of a post. Sometimes it’s a healthy debate, but more often than not, it's unproductive, toxic, and runs the risk of spiraling into something bigger and more harmful.

How to Respond

First, consider if the original comment that sparked the argument falls into any of the other categories. It could be solved easily by messaging the upset party privately or deleting a rude and obnoxious comment. If it seems to be getting worse with more commenters involved, it might be time to disable the comments on a post.

How should churches use social media? However they want to.

It offers a place for you to get creative and let the personality of your church shine through. Don’t let a few negative comments get you down. Try and see them constructively instead. Respond respectfully like you would with any feedback for the best results.

Having a church social media strategy in place will keep you on track with your posts even when you feel disheartened after receiving a negative comment. Plus, it will boost your engagement and get your church noticed!

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