We all know that communication is important in youth ministry. The problem is that we all have different ways that we prefer to receive and give out information. In our youth ministry we try to communicate to students and parents through many different mediums. This is the first of 3 posts about different ways that we communicate with students and families in our particular youth ministry. This first post will cover communication outside of the church, the second post will cover communication during our youth services, and the third post will cover communication during our Sunday main services (or “big church” as some people call it).
Here are some of the ways we communicate with students and parents outside of the church:
Using Facebook has become almost a must in our society today. We set up our page so that students can upload pictures from events and post updates on the page themselves. This makes the page more communal and doesn’t make one person have the pressure of keeping up with it. Our students particularly do not use Twitter very much, but we keep it for those few who do prefer twitter.
2) Mass text messages.
Teenagers do not really do email anymore. Our students are also are not good at checking our group Facebook page or website for announcements. So we realized a while ago that we needed to get information out via text message. However we have a VERY small budget to work with in our youth ministry so most mass texting plans were too much for us to invest in. But recently I was reading a post on http://www.morethandodgeball.com and the writer recommended the app Group Text for the iphone. You only pay $2.99 for the app once, and then it is no cost if you already have an unlimited texting plan on your phone (I would be surprised if any youth minister did not have unlimited texting due to the massive use of texting by teenagers). So far I love it! We have a sign up sheet in the youth room for the students to put in their cell number, and I put any new number into the group I made up. You can also make different groups for leadership, different small groups, etc. I have not checked if this is available for Android, but I would imagine a form of it is available.
3) Parents Blog
Families today are busy, and it is important that we support the parents by making information about what is going on in the youth ministry easily accessible. As youth ministers we are called to support the parents in the spiritual development of students, but we cannot do that if the parents don’t know what’s going on in the youth ministry. To help get information to our parents we started a parents blog. You can check it out here: www.undergroundparents.com. I use WordPress. I feel that is the easiest to use, and gives you room to be creative. I also felt it was important to pay the $26 a year to get our own domain name so that the address is simple to remember for the parents. I am very excited about this blog. This has become a great way to communicate with parents. I post info on events, forms for them to download at home when their kids forget them at the church, and info on teaching series so that they know what their students are learning. I have had many parents come up to me and thank me for this site. They now feel included and on the same page on what’s going on.
We shoot videos of all of our bigger events. We also shoot funny videos for random uses in services. YouTube is a great way to get those videos online for people to get an idea of who we are as a ministry. I included YouTube in this list because even though we do not use YouTube to get announcements out, we do use it to communicate to new people who we are and what are some of the things we do as a group. Videos can often times say so much more than messages typed up by me. Click Here to check out our YouTube page.
TO BE CONTINUED……….