Student ministry has changed over the years. There was a time when most proficient student leaders had nothing more than a landline phone and snail mail to help connect with students. Likewise student worship services were “revolutionized” with the advent of the overhead projector. And the lapel mic changed everything when it came to teaching. But those days are long gone and students live in a world where the most advanced technology is taken for granted every minute of the day. I’ve complained about an Instagram post that failed and required a few retries to post. Regardless of our own proficiency with technology or how we embrace the latest and greatest tech, we can all learn to be more effective with tools designed to help us minister to and with students. Here are a few ways tech can help you minister to students:
- Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. This one is pretty simple and you are probably already all over this. But whatever social media platform you love, use it to share what your student ministry is doing. Go beyond just posting about events and programming. Chronicle the mission work your students are doing, share a Bible verse, record an encouragement. Use the social media platforms to invite and to give families and others the opportunity to get a glimpse into what God is doing in the lives of your students. Also:
- Use social media to connect with parents and communicate with them.
- Create hashtags for your events so people can follow along, i.e. #BeachCamp2016 or whatever fits and works with your group.
- Leverage the video options at your disposal, such as Periscope on Twitter, which allows you to live stream from wherever you are — camp, student worship, or at mission projects.
- Evernote. If you aren’t already using Evernote, you really should consider it. Not only is it a great place to take notes, store illustrations, collaborate with your team, and do just about anything you would want to with digital files and content, they also provide a presentation mode that allows you to broadcast right from your account. No more doing the work then redoing it for a presentation. Really, Evernote is worth every penny of the subscription version, but the free version can do a ton for you as well. Just try it.
- Factsie. OK, so sometimes you just need help with a game or time killer for your event or group. factsie.com generates facts that you can use in trivia games of all kinds. You could simply grab the facts you like and make a ProPresenter/PowerPoint game or just have the facts on the screen while students are gathering for the meeting. Endless facts are always a need and Factsie provides them with ease. (Some facts may call for evaluation before you use them with a group; use wisdom as you prepare with Factsie!)
Hopefully you use tech to aid your ministry. Whether you use everything available or simply use the bare essentials, make sure you are getting the most out of all the tools at your disposal when it comes to tech in student ministry.
This post was written by Chris Swain, Director of LifeWay Student Ministry Publishing