News Flash: Teenagers use social media. A lot. 96% of Canadians ages 15-24 are using social media. Youth workers know that the overuse of social media is a problem among students. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of the negative affects of addiction to social media. Thankfully, there are some great resources available to help assess and address our compulsion need to monitor our feed.
However, while youth workers should continue doing our best to pry our students attention away from their snap story…let’s not miss out on the opportunity to leverage social media for good.
The reality is, our students are engaging with social media on a daily basis, and that means our youth ministries have an opportunity to speak into their lives.
Consider this – most youth ministries have the attention of our students for 2-3 hours each week. In that window of time we are hoping to communicate a message that will impact the lives of our students throughout the rest of their week.
What if we saw social media as a platform to reinforce those messages?
This is an opportunity to encourage students to live differently around their friends while they are actually in their school. We can nudge them to spend some time in scripture as they get their day started. We can remind them that God is always with them as they go about their everyday lives.
The bottom line is simple: youth workers have an opportunity to leverage social media to spark spiritual growth in students. Here are two ways to make that happen:
1 – Reinforce the messages from your gatherings Your gatherings are memorable. Your messages are impactful. Social media gives you an opportunity to echo the big ideas and help them stick in the hearts and minds of your students.
2 – Prompt spiritual habits If your youth ministry has identified some basic discipleship habits for your students, use social media as a way to prompt your students to live those out. In our youth ministry, we’ve identified 4 areas of discipleship that we want our students to grow in: #LoveGod #KnowGod #FollowGod #LoveOthers. We talk about these discipleship areas in our gatherings, but we really want our students to grow in these areas throughout the week. We reinforce this idea with the tagline: #LakeviewOnTheGo. We want our students to understand that these are important areas of our spiritual journey that happen between our gatherings.
If you haven’t identified discipleship habits in your youth ministry…maybe now is a good time to try.
Like it or love it…social media is major part of the world our students are immersed in. Let’s embrace the opportunity to leverage social media for something good, because there is a great opportunity to fuel the spiritual growth of our students. Go claim it!
PS: Using an app like Word Swag makes it easy to create beautiful images that will grab your students’ attention and prompt them to embody those spiritual habits. For other tips on productivity apps, make sure to check out this post from Jeremy MacDonald.
Your schedule is packed. Your inbox is full. You can’t keep up with the Facebook messages. The busyness has shrouded your view and you are still met with the complaints:
“It would have been nice to know about this sooner.”
“What are the details about that retreat?”
“Didn’t you know that the seniors’ button club was using the auditorium this week?”
You can spend time blaming others for their lack of inquisitiveness or their inability to find the right answers… or you can take responsibility and send five regular emails this week to prove you are the premier communicator in your church.
Pre-Program Weekly Leader Email
This email is where you cast vision for what is coming up in your program. A weekly email keeps leaders in the loop and empowers them to prepare for the program. This should include: small group questions for their discussion, a program order for your night including game details and/or song choices, and anythings specific you want them promoting to students.
Post-Program Weekly Leader Email
This email is where you thank leaders and invite their feedback. You can use a Google Form to get the same feedback each week. You’ll also want to highlight and encourage any leaders that you saw doing great things at the program.
Weekly Parent Email
This email is similar to your pre-program leader email, except you’ll want to put the focus on what content you are covering at your program and how parents can take it further on the drive home or later that week. Also be sure to include any upcoming events that are out of the ordinary so that parents can plan their family calendars accordingly.
Bi-Monthly Boss Email
You should never be assuming that your boss knows what’s going on in your ministry. Take time consistently to update him/her with highlights, statistics, budget overviews, and ministry prayer requests/needs. The more you communicate the more your boss can be in your corner and support you.
Sowing Seeds Email
Keep yourself from getting desperate with the number of leaders you have by starting the recruiting process nice and early. Have a hit list and start to nudge people 6-9 months before you hope to onboard them. The advance planning will help you get the high capacity leaders that are drawn to organized ministries.
PRO TIP: Batch write these emails all at once and then schedule them to go out at the appropriate times throughout the week (use a program like Boomerang, Right Inbox, or Streak).