I graduated from college with a Bachelors in Communications. My main focus was Electronic Media which at the time meant radio, television and film. I sometimes wonder if social media existed when I was back in school how that would have impacted my degree.
In youth ministry it’s easy to grow overwhelmed by the many different ways you can reach out and talk to teens. Social media has take communication to a whole new level. If you want to reach teens you need to embrace it because it will extend your capacity in ways email won’t. While it might seem intimidating to embrace the world of technology, it’s imperative if you want what is important is to engage it. Once you embrace the fact that it’s here to stay you can begin to utilize it:
- To Create A Buzz: You can create buzz in your youth ministry be knowing where and what to share with others. Recording video of your student band and sharing it on your Facebook page creates viral attention you didn’t have before. Tweeting out an event allows your message to get duplicated to new audience over and over again. However, to create the buzz you need to build your audience and that means making teens, parents and volunteers aware of your social media outlets.
- As An Open Door: Social media gives you permission to watch your student’s lives because what they post becomes public. I’m not condoning stalking; however, if you like, follow or friend a teen you are going to see what they are posting. If you find anything inappropriate, confusing or alarming it gives you an open door to engage their life. What they share via social media might be a way they are crying out for help.
- To Equip Teens With More Tools: You take away a teenager’s phone you take away their life support. Instead of discouraging their use of mobile devices show them apps, tools or sites where they can grow in their relationship with Christ. Whether it’s a Bible App or something to help them with confession, share with them a new set of tools that follows them everywhere they bring their phone.
A great resource on using social media in ministry is the book Going Social: A Practical Guide on Social Media for Church Leaders by Terrace Crawford. It breaks down the basics and encourages you on how to best use it.
How you communicate will impact your ministry. What you want to communicate will not. As a youth minister you are commissioned to “Go and make disciples“. Embrace the ever growing number of tools that will allow you to reach more teens.
What are some ways you are utilizing social media in your ministry?