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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Book Review: Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry

gospelcenteredym_205_316_90There are a few books I consider “must reads” for people in student ministry (if you want to know what they are ask me). Recently I read a book I would add to that list and it’s called Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry. It’s one of the most theological and practical books I have ever read in regards to student ministry.

One of the strengths of this book is the variety of voices. Every chapter focuses on a different area of student ministry and each chapter is written by someone who has a passion and gifting in that area. Each chapter is written pretty much in the same way – a section on how the Gospel informs and shapes that area of student ministry and a section on how to practically grow in that area of student ministry. Also, at the end of each chapter there is a list of recommended books on the subject of the chapter.

Two of my favorite chapters were Eric McKiddie’s chapter on expositional teaching and Tom Olson’s chapter on singing. All the chapters in this book were excellent but these two were the ones that impacted me the most.

In McKiddie’s chapter, he argues that teaching the Bible is the main task of anyone in student ministry. He says, “While fun is an indispensable part of youth ministry, your main task is to convince your students, week after week, why they need Jesus and to show how the Gospel profoundly after every area of life” (page 55). He believes expositional teaching is the best method for this. After giving his reasons for expositional teaching in student ministry he gives some practical steps in how to craft a Biblical expositional sermon for students. His steps serve as great reminders for people newer to writing sermons as well as to seasoned veterans. Olson’s chapter on singing was another one that I really enjoyed. He argues that corporate worship should be vital a part of student ministry. He says, “It’s not just a warm-up for the message or a means to corral hyperactive teenagers. God has made singing important. Singing is vital for the health of our students and the strength of our ministries and, in harmony with strong teaching, singing will get the word of Christ dwelling richly in their lives” (page 142).

I could say more about these two chapters and the rest of the book but I’d rather you grab a copy and read it for yourself. If you’re in student ministry I’d highly suggest this book for you and your team.

What We Did This Week

This week was our last mid-week gatherings for the school year. Over the summer we take a break from our weekly programs and do other various events throughout the summer months like pool parties, cookouts, and other stuff. We also do mission trips during the summer and this year will be taking our middle school students to Chicago and our high school students to Memphis. We are taking both trips with LeaderTreks. Both of our nights this week were extremely different than normal. You will see this in the details below of what we did this week.

Last Night of Porch Social MediaWhat We Did at Porch (High School)
Pre-Party: We threw a pre-party an hour before the normal start time of our service. We rented a mechanical bull and had Chick-Fil-A and Insomnia Cookies. The pre-party was basically designed to have students come early, hangout, and build excitement for the night.
Worship Set List:
 In Tenderness (Citizens & Saints), Psalm 18 (Citizens & Saints), Unstoppable God (Elevation Worship), All Things New (Elevation Worship), How He Loves (David Crowder Band), Man of Sorrow (Hillsong), Raised to Life (Elevation Worship), Jesus I Come (Elevation Worship), Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] (Hillsong United), Take the World But Give Me Jesus (Ascend the Hill), and Sweetness of Freedom (Citizens & Saints).
Videos: Now is The Time (Remix) and God Loves You
Highlight: Being able to stand among our students and simply worship. Most nights I’m consumed with my talk or with details of the night so it’s hard to stop and worship with the band. Since all we did this night was have the band lead in worship I was able to stand shoulder to shoulder with our students and sing to Jesus with them. It was a blast!

Last Night of Edge Social MediaWhat We Did at Edge (Middle School)
Intro Video: Street Fighter Bonus Stage in Real Life
Upfront Game: Weiner Head. How could I not play a game with middle school students called “weenier head?” This game requires a bit of prep work but is worth it in the end. You get a few construction hard hats and drill a few lines of screws in them from the inside out. Then you will need to buy hotdogs. Students play in teams of two while one student places the hard hat on their head while the other student throws hotdogs at them. The goal of the game is to be the team with the most hotdogs stuck to the top of your hard hat. Click the link above to read more about this game and to download the graphic we used.
Group Game: Scatterball. We play this game at least twice a month and our students love it. It’s basically dodgeball but with only one ball (we throw in more as the game goes) and when you have the ball you can only take a limited amount of steps. If you get hit you are out and if you catch a ball the person who threw it is out. Click the link above to download the graphic we used for this game.
Teaching: We didn’t really have a talk like we normally do but we did do a short Gospel presentation and gave students a chance to respond. We wanted to end the year off reminding our students of the most important thing ever and that’s the Gospel.
Highlight: Hanging out with students before the service in the inflatables that we had set up. We own a few inflatables as a church so we had a giant slide and bounce house set up for students to enjoy. It was a blast getting to let loose and have fun with them on those.

What We Did This Week

Acts Social MediaWe had some pretty good nights in our student ministries this week. For our high school night we changed things up and met in a different room and had an acoustic set for worship instead of the full band. We knew attendance would be down this week due to a band banquet at the local high school so we wanted to meet in a room that was a little smaller so our normal (much bigger) room didn’t feel so empty with a smaller crowd. Below are the details of what we did this week in our student ministries.

What We Did at Porch (High School)
Upfront Game: Mexican Food Trivia. This is a fun little game from Download Youth Ministry. We decided to play this game since this past Tuesday was cinco de mayo.
Acoustic Worship Set List: Made Alive (Citizens & Saints), Hail the King (Citizens & Saints), Brokenness Aside (All Sons and Daughters), and Jesus Paid it All (Kristian Stanfill).
Video: The Skinny of Evangelism (Skit Guys)
Teaching: We finished our Acts series by talking about Paul in Athens from Acts 17:16-34. The main idea we talked about was evangelism and what we can learn about it from Paul’s example in Athens. Click here to listen to the message.
Highlight: The acoustic worship was awesome! I love stripping away most of the instruments, lights, and big stage and having a simple worship set where I can hear the voices of our students singing to Jesus.

What We Did at Edge (Middle School)
Opening Video: Top Soccer Shootout with Scott Sterling
Upfront Game: Stocking Face Tug of War. This was a fun game I ran across online. Basically you buy a few pairs of panty hoses (stocking kind) and tie two pairs together. You bring two students up and have them place the end of the panty hoses on their heads and over their faces. One of the best parts of the game is seeing their faces mashed up inside the panty hose. Then you have them play tug of war with their heads. First person to pull the panty hose off their opponent head wins. I’ve seen some groups do four way tug of war with this game. Click the link above for more details and instructions for this game.
Group Game: King of the Circle. We play this game a few times a year and it’s always a pretty big hit. You tape a circle down on the ground (we just do a square) and you tell all the students to stand inside the circle. Students must place their hands behind their backs and attempt to push others out of the circle. When you get pushed out of the circle you are out. We did separate rounds for guys and girls because the guys get extremely rough in this game (actually some of the girls got pretty rough as well). Click the link above to download the graphic we used for this game.
Teaching: Same as what we did at at Porch with our high school students but a little shorter. Click here to listen to the message from this night.
Highlight: The opening video was a huge hit! We usually do an opening video each night and most of the time they are super funny to our students. However, they loved this one and were going crazy. Some of them were even posting about it on Instagram later that night. We also had a student pray before my talk and when he did he prayed for Scott Sterling from the video…got to love middle school ministry.

What We Did This Week

Acts Social MediaWe had another great week in our student ministries! Below are the details of what we did both in our high school ministry and our middle school ministry.

What We Did at Porch (High School)
Group Game: Dueling Unicorns. We did this game last week in our middle school ministry and it was a blast! We decided to give it a try with our high school students and they loved it! It involves party hats, shaving cream, and balloons. Fun game for the students playing as well as the students in the crowd watching. Click the link above to read the details on how to play as well as download the graphic we used.
Worship Set List: Unstoppable God (Elevation Worship), Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] (Hillsong United), All I Have is Christ (Sovereign Grace Music), and Made Alive (Citizens & Saints).
Teaching: We continued our Acts series by talking about how God rescued Paul and Silas out of prison as well as used them to lead the prison guard to Christ. Click here to listen to the message.
Highlight: Having our campus worship leader, Jonathan Claytor, join us and lead worship with our normal Porch band. Our regular adult leader who plays and oversees the band was out of town so Jonathan came and filled in. It was cool to see our students get a chance to play and lead worship with him since they see him on stage every weekend at church leading worship.

What We Did at Edge (Middle School)
Opening Video: Toy Wars
Upfront Game:
Shake it Off. Easy game but loads of fun. We brought a few students up and had a friend of their choice put around 70 sticky notes on them. Then they had a minute and a half to shake as many sticky notes off themselves without using their hands. And of course we played Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” while the students where shaking the sticky notes off. Couldn’t play this game without having T-Swift help us out.
Group Game: Scatterball. We play this game about once a month because our students love it and ask for it all the time. Basically dodgeball but you can only take up to 3 steps with the ball. We start with one ball and then throw a few more in as the game goes on. Click the link above to download the graphic we use.
Teaching: Same as what we did at Porch. We continued our Acts series by talking about Paul and  Silas being rescued from prison and leading the guard to Christ. Click here to listen to the message from Edge.
Highlight: Most nights I open up and lead the first game. Then I usually have leaders do the other parts of the service and I don’t come back up until I teach. This night I had my leaders do everything up until I taught. It was awesome sitting back and watching them lead our students. I love seeing our leaders get up on stage to lead games and help us pull off an awesome night.