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).

Advertisements

Using Instagram in Student Ministry

instagram-logo-whiteOver the past few months I have been using Instagram more and more in our student ministry. For a long time Facebook was the best place to be for promoting events and connecting with students online. However, students are leaving Facebook and spending more time on Twitter and Instagram (click here to see how you can use Twitter in your student ministry). Even though I still use Facebook and Twitter in our student ministry, I am spending more time and putting more energy into using Instagram. I want to share with you a few thoughts on using Instagram in student ministry.

Create an Instagram profile for your student ministry. Everything I share from this point forward will be pointless if you don’t already have an Instagram profile. You may have a personal profile for yourself, but I would encourage you to make one for your student ministry. We have a Instagram profile for both our middle school ministry and high school ministry.

Promotion. The main way you can use Instagram in your ministry is for promoting upcoming events, series, and your student ministry in general. Whenever we start a new a series I will post the series graphic on our Instagram and invite students to join us for the start of that series. Also, when events are coming up I will use Instagram to promote it weeks leading up to the event. Not only series and events, but we use Instagram to simply get the word out about our ministry and when we meet. Every Tuesday morning, I post something on high school ministry Instagram inviting students to join us that night for our weekly gathering. I do the same every Wednesday morning for our middle school ministry. The best way to create a quality graphic for promoting things on Instagram is to use the app Over. It’s simple and easy to use.

Connect with students. I know connecting with students in person is way better than online, but let’s face it, we would be foolish to totally ignore the fact that we can effectively connect with students online as well. Instagram is a great place to do just that. This may be best done with your personal Instagram account instead of the student ministry account, but either way, connect with your students. “Like” their pics and even comment when it’s appropriate.

Post pictures and videos instantly from an event or during your weekly program. Whenever your in the middle of an event, retreat, mission trip, or weekly program, post a picture or video so others can see what’s going on. This is a great way for other students to see what your ministry is like. They may see a picture and want to come and check out your ministry! Also, this is a great way for parents to see pictures of their children and the ministry they are in. Plus, students will see pictures of themselves later on and generate some traffic as they “like” it and maybe comment on it.

Live pictures. There is this awesome program called Instafeed Live you can use to have Instagram photos be posted live on the screen at your event or weekly program. You simply create a hashtag for your ministry or an event then when students post a picture on Instagram with that hashtag in the caption it comes up on the screen. It will then live stream all the pictures that have posted with that hashtag. We used this at one of our events this past Fall and the students loved it!

You may be doing some of these things already, but if not, consider leveraging Instagram in your student ministry. Students are there and it’s a great place to get the word out about your ministry.

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.

Using Twitter in Student Ministry

There is another social media site out there that many of your students may be on along with Facebook. That social media site is Twitter. Facebook is still the more popular out of the two, but Twitter is not far behind. Most of my students, and parents, are on Facebook and I use it regularly for our ministry. Our student ministry has a Facebook page that we use regularly. Many of my students are also on Twitter which is why our student ministry also has a Twitter account. I want to share a few ways we use Twitter in our ministry as a way to encourage you to use it in your ministry as well:

Promotion. This is probably the biggest way we use Twitter in our student ministry. Because Twitter is so easy to use and get’s information straight to the students, we use it to promote all of our activities and events. I will Tweet out reminders before our mid-week gathering and also before upcoming events. Twitter, along with Facebook, is a great way to promote your student ministry and it’s events in a place students will most likely not miss it. Most students will not check e-mails or listen to a phone tree, but they will check their Facebook and Twitter. So use Twitter to spread the word and get information about your ministry in your students hands.

Relationships. Another big way we use Twitter in our student ministry is building relationships. A few of my leaders, including myself, have their own Twitter accounts. Having our own is a great way to see what is going on with our students and a way to connect with them relationally. As with all social media, we must be careful when doing this and use caution when we are connecting with students relationally through Twitter. Awhile back, I posted a blog called “Guidelines for Using Social Media” that is worth looking at when it comes to connecting with students through sites such as Twitter. Twitter is a great way to connect with your students in a relevant, relational way.

Quick Pictures and Videos. Have you ever been on a youth retreat and took a quick video or pictures of an unforgettable moment? With Twitter, you can instantly post that video or picture so others can see it. There are a host of apps out there that let’s you post pictures and videos to Twitter. A few of the more popular ones are Twitpic, yfrong, and instagram. Most student pastors love to take quick photos or videos on youth activities, so Twitter is a great way to post them quickly so others can see.

These are just a few ways you can use Twitter in your student ministry. I still think Facebook can be used more in your student ministry, but it would not hurt to also use Twitter. What are some other ways you have used Twitter in your student ministry?

My friend Josh Evans posted a blog about using Facebook in student ministry (click here to see it).