Ways to Use Social Media In Your Ministry

d_kow7ihnnw-saulo-mohanaSocial media is a vital part of doing ministry in our world. A ministry that isn’t leveraging social media is missing, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways of communicating with people in our culture. Everyone seems to be using at least one social media network and most people are using multiple ones. So how can we in ministry take advantage of this?

I want to suggest a few simple ways you can use social media in your ministry. Some of these suggestions are things we are currently doing in our ministry while some of them are things we are not doing but other ministries are.

Event Promotion. This is by far the easiest and most popular way ministries are using social media. However, this can be overdone. People want to see more than event promos on your social media accounts. More than likely if all they see is promos for your next event they may stop looking at your account all together or glance over it in the future. So promote your events but do so wisely.

Event Pictures. It’s easy to post promo stuff about your event but it’s another thing to intentionally get good photos from your events to post. People both at the event and not at the event will enjoy seeing pictures. This is also a great way to show people on the outside what your ministry looks like. Be sure to capture good photos. Have someone who is gifted in this area take photos at your events and post them on your social media accounts.

Sermon Quotes. This is a creative way many churches are using social media. It’s also a great way to get the sermon out of the pulpit and into the minds of people throughout the week. Take quotes from the sermon and post them throughout the week. This allows people to be reminded of what they heard but also share God’s Word with other people via social media.

Worship Set. This is another creative thing many churches are doing. Simply post the songs your worship band did on social media. This is a great way to communicate the songs you sang with your people since many of them may love the songs you sing but not know the title. I’d encourage you to search #worshipset and #sundaysetlist on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to see some examples of churches doing this kind of thing.

Highlight Volunteers. Volunteers are vital to any ministry. We should always be looking for creative ways to brag on them and a way to say “thank you.” Social media is a great place to do just that. It allows us to publicly thank them and brag on them for a bit. Some churches do a “Volunteer of the Week” type thing. They pick a volunteer every week that serves in their ministry and they post a picture and some thoughts about them. They usually highlight where they serve in their ministry and then give them a public “thank you” for all to see. One of the churches that is doing this very well on a weekly basis is Collide Church. Jump over to their Instagram page to see their “Volunteer of the Week” posts.

These are just a few simple ways you can use social media in your ministry. Be creative and be looking for ways to leverage the power of social media for your ministry.

Suggested Books: Going Social by Terrace Crawford and Social Media Guide for Ministry by Nils Smith (both of these books are a few years old so they may be outdated in some areas in regards to social media).

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What Our Student Ministry Looks Like During The Summer

31When it comes to the summer our student ministry looks a little different than it does during the school year. We don’t have our weekly gatherings, we don’t have small groups, and we don’t rely on volunteer leaders too much. However, even though it looks different, we still do great ministry in the summer. So here is what our student ministry looks like in the summer.

Community building events. Each summer we plan a few events that could be called “social events” or better yet “community building events.” These are events where students and their friends are invited to come and just hangout. We do things like house parties, pool parties, giant slip n’ slides, cookouts, outdoor movies, and bonfires. These events are great because it allows us to just hangout with students and get to know them and their friends better. These are easy to pull off events that have great impact for our student ministry.

Mission trips. One thing we don’t do in the summer that many student ministries do is camp. We do two retreats (Fall and Spring) during the school year so our students get the “camp” experience during those weekends. When it comes to the summer then we like to focus on taking students on mission trips. Right now we do one trip for middle school and one trip for high school. We have been doing our mission trips through LeaderTreks and we love it! We love the way LeaderTreks combines serving, spiritual growth, and leadership development on their trips. Mission trips are always the highlight of our summer and our students love them!

Give leaders a break. As I mentioned earlier in this post, we do our best to give our volunteer leaders a break. They work hard during the school year and we want to give them a few months to refresh and hopefully gear up to join us again for the new school year. We do take a few leaders on our mission trips and have them help at our summer events but for the most part we try to give them all a break. I have been a part of student ministries that use leaders year around and I have seen how easy it is to burn them out. It’s been beneficial for our leaders to have a few months off for the summer.

Get ready for the new year. We use the summer months to do a few things to get everyone ready for the new school year. We have auditions for our high school worship band, we have a vision meeting for our student leadership team, and we have a training day for our adult volunteers. All these things, and more, help us get everyone from students to leaders on the same page and ready for a new school year of ministry.

That’s a little glimpse into what do during the summer in our student ministry. We are always open to changing things up but for now this has been working for us.

Promoting Your Student Ministry Events

megaphone-300x300One of the most important aspects of any event is promotion. Promotion will make or break your event. This is especially true in student ministry. You can plan the most epic event ever, but if you don’t promote it well it will fail. Effectively promoting your student ministry events will help make them more successful. I want to share a few tips for promoting your student ministry events to your students.

Use social media. When it comes to promoting events for your students always use social media. Students are already on social media so if you promote events on social media sites they will be sure to see it. Facebook events are a great resource for this kind of thing. Great way to invite students to events via Facebook and also a great way to quickly share the event so students can see it on their timelines. Twitter and Instgram are also great places to promote your student ministries events. I usually tweet about an event every few days leading up to it. I also have been using apps like Over to create Instagram pictures to promote our events on Instagram.

Send out a mass text. If you don’t have a tool for sending mass text messages out to your students than get one asap! I use Group Text! for iPhone to send out mass text messages to our students. Whatever tool you decide to use, make sure and promote your events via text messages. Send out a mass text a few days before an event to remind students about it.

Create postcard sized handouts. For every event we create a postcard sized handout that has a well-designed graphic for the event and all the details students need to know about it. We usually start passing these out a few weeks in advance at our mid-week gatherings, church services on Sunday, and whenever we are out and see students. Also, this is a great way to get students to promote events themselves. Give each student a stack of postcards and let them go pass them out at school or in their community.

Have a creative announcement time during your mid-week or weekend gatherings. Don’t overlook the importance of promoting upcoming events on a weekly basis as part of your mid-week or weekend gatherings. However, be creative in how you promote events during the “boring” announcement time. Don’t just get on stage and tell them what’s coming up. Do a video or something crazy to get there attention and make the event stick.

These are just a few ways we promote events that will work well for your ministry as well. Remember, promotion is one of the most important parts of making an event go well so put energy into promoting it effectively.

Christmas Event Ideas for Your Student Ministry

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is coming up fast and we want to pull off a killer Christmas event for our students. Maybe you have a event you do every year and it is always a hit with your students. But maybe you are looking for something different this year. Or maybe you have never done a Christmas event with your students before and your trying to think of ideas. Here are a few Christmas events I have done with students and are usually a big hit.

Christmas Progressive Dinner. Let’s face it, students love to eat and if we provide them with free food they will come to almost anything! If you have never done a progressive dinner there pretty fun. You go from house to house and at each house you eat another part of the meal. I have done this with students in the past and it’s always a success. They enjoy hanging out with friends all night and enjoy stuffing their faces with tons of food. Also, this is a great event to get people in the church involved who normally don’t get involved with students. You can ask a few adults outside of your student ministry to host part of the dinner at their house. This allows them to meet the students and provide them food and a place to eat. This event will take some planning and preparation, but will be a hit with your students.

Christmas Party. Your probably thinking why I would even write this since everyone has a Christmas party around this time of year. But a simple Christmas party are always a hit with students. Provide some food, games, and a place to hangout and they are there! I suggest doing a Christmas party at someones house. This year we did a Christmas House Party at one of our volunteers homes. This is also a great event to encourage your students to invite some friends, especially friends who don’t know Jesus and are not connected to a local church. A Christmas party is a “safe” place many non-Christian students would feel comfortable coming to.

Christmas Theme Night. I’m a huge fan of theme nights (I shared a freebie awhile back that contains all you need to do a price is Right Theme Nightclick here for that). What I mean by theme nights is you take your normal mid-week or weekend service you have for your students, and you theme it around one big concept, such as Christmas. So everything from your decorations, games, and teaching is centered around Christmas. These can be great outreach type of nights as well. I suggest letting your students, maybe your student leaders, be involved in making this kind of night happen. Let them decorate, plan what the night look likes, and allow them to run with the theme idea. You will be surprised with what they come up with!

These are just three Christmas events I have done and that are always a success. If you need a Christmas event this year try one of these. Adapt it to your specific context and give your students a event to remember.

[Question] What kind of Christmas events have you done with your students?

4 Areas of Ministry to Delegate to Your Volunteers

As student pastors we are called to not only serve students, but to equip our volunteers to serve students as well. We see this plainly stated in Ephesians 4:12 when Paul says, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” We must always being thinking about how we can better train and equip our volunteers. Not only train and equip them, but we need to make sure we get them plugged into some area of our student ministry. If we just equip them, but not get them involved in serving than we missed the point. Our volunteers are not just bench warmers for our ministry, they are vital to the success of our ministry. I want to share a few areas I have delegated to some of my volunteers. Delegation is not always easy, but it is necessary for the health and growth of your ministry.

Administrative Assistent. One of the areas many student pastors struggle is the area of adminstration. It may not even be they are bad at it, but that they just don’t have enough time in the day to get all the administrative details done. This is why an administrative assistant is huge for a student pastor! Unfortunately, many churches will not hire a staff person for this position so the student pastor is left to do it on his own. But this is a great area for a volunteer to step in and serve. You may have a volunteer that is extremely gifted in this area and will jump at the opportunity. I recently plugged one of my volunteers into this role in our ministry. She is going to come in once a week and help with administrative stuff. If you need help in this area, find a volunteer to delegate some of the admin stuff to.

WorshipYou may be blessed to have a completely student-led worship band, but many student ministries do not. A great place to start is to put a volunteer over this part of the ministry, particularly one that can lead worship or knows music, and let them run with it. Let them find students for the band and have them handle the worship side of your services. If your like me, you have no musical ability. I love music and can pick out good songs, but I have no clue how to form and lead a worship band. Find a volunteer that has a heart for this kind of thing and delegate this area of ministry to them. Also, they can become a mentor and leader to the students in the band.

Small Groups. This is probably the easiest and best way to get your volunteer involved. I believe every student ministry needs to incorporate small groups into their ministry (click here to see why). The only way to do this effectively is to have your volunteers become small group leaders. Rather that happens within your mid-week service or in homes throughout the week, use your volunteers as small group leaders. This will allow your ministry to disciple more students.

Event Planning. Planning events can take up a ton of your time and energy that should be used elsewhere. An area I am using a few volunteers is event planning. I give them an idea and they plan the event. This allows me to give them something to do and frees me up to do other things. There are some great volunteers out there that love this kind of thing. Find them and let them start planning some awesome events!

These are just a few area I am delegating to my volunteers. Without them my ministry would not be what it is. If your having troubling finding volunteers, I’d encourage you to check out a post I wrote a few weeks ago about selecting new volunteers. In it I give a few practical ways you can find new volunteers for your student ministry (click here to view that post).

[Question] What are some areas of your ministry you have delegated to your volunteers?