Facebook (FB) has been a great way to connect with students in recent years. It is a way of touching base on their turf in their time. Here are 10 ways youth workers are using facebook in their ministry setting. Leave a note in the comments if you are using it in a way not shared here.
- GROUPS - Scott Tinman is utilizing the “Groups” feature for his Student Ministry. He posts events, activities, and reminders for Student Ministry nights. He has separate groups for students and parents that are open (anyone can join). He also has a “private” group to use with his adult leaders, this protects the post from hitting the News Feed. He also said, “SYM Tools has a way to post directly to Groups now that makes this easy.” He says he still has a Student Ministry Page and post there as well but with the way FB is changing many posts are not getting to everybody’s News Feed so he uses Groups more.
- ANNOUNCE IT - Several youth workers said they use FB to posts announce (written and video), new series (with graphics), and asking students to use their FB status after a Student Ministry night to rebroadcast with their friends what they are learning (Bible vs, catch phase, series title…use your group to spread the word). This is a good tool for teens to share their faith or get into spiritual conversations at school. Darren Sutton added that announcing and upcoming talk or series, “not always, but a few times has generated some pretty great discussion on the topic before we even started!”
- REMINDERS - Gary Anderson says, “We use it all the time for ministry invites, reminding students to bring $, sweatshirt, old clothes, etc.” Creating a FB event and getting students to reply can help you know how many plan to show up.
- DISTRIBUTE MEDIA - Gary added, “It’s the best way to distribute a trip promo video, photo album, or post trip highlight video.” Kerensa Huffman posts pics of what’s going on at events and regular youth group meetings through her iPhone. Before and after a gathering is great but in today’s culture the “immediate” in a huge win.
- CONTESTS - Darren Sutton has used FB for ‘add the caption’ contests on photos to get kids tagging each other. In the summer Geoff Stewart does a Photo Contest where students try and get their youth group name in a picture somewhere awesome or with someone famous. Last year two girls got their pic with the Prime Minister of Canada.
- POINTING AND SHARING - FB does not have to be your main place to land, Geoff Stewart is using FB to point people back to their website as well as sharing devotional content, good music, and sermon series.
- WHAT’S TRENDING – One youth worker said, “I use it to learn about this current generation. (Also known as FB stalking.)”
- VIDEO DEVOTIONS - When Paul Spittka’s group is not meeting (due to holidays and such), he video tapes or video chats a short devotional and posts it on his FB page and lets students respond to it. It is good to monitor the conversion, not only to give your youth worker perspective on the topic but also to keep things appropriate.
- ENCOURAGEMENT - Jon Batch strikes with subtle ninja encouraging posts, chats, and comments. He says, “I look especially for those who are struggling with the little things in life and send a quick word of encouragement.” (P.S. It is true, out of no where I have been hit by Jon’s sherkin of kind words on FB).
- PRIZE PICTURE – As a prize (what a let down) I have taken a picture with a student and placed it as my FB profile pic for a week. On one hand it is totally lame and a letdown if they were expecting a CD, candy, or something tangible, on the other hand students like to be in the spotlight.
There are endless facebook ideas, what are you doing that is unique and different from what you see here?