Thought we would take a quick look this week at ways to communicate with studentsâ€”ways that are Hot or Not. Hereâ€™s our take; feel free to offer your opinion in the comments as well:
This is where our money is at right nowâ€”the highlight of the tools weâ€™re using to communicate with students. The only downside is that a youth ministry page requires constant updates and management to really be effective. And thereâ€™s a desire to spend time on our OWN pages instead of building up the church site. Facebook is where itâ€™s at, so get on board to get it mastered just in time for your students to move on to something else.
NOTE: Our junior high ministry uses Facebook, but not as strategically as high school. We walk a fine line due to the reality that Facebook has age restrictions, but most junior highers are still there.
When youâ€™re communicating to parents, email is as hot as can be. The older people get the more possessive/stagnant they become with technology. Students on the other hand are quick to jump on what is next, usually before adults have even heard of it. If you are emailing students and it is working, realize that it is a miracle of God and wonâ€™t last very long. Email is out.
Probably right up there with Facebook is textingâ€”it comes in two flavors: individual and mass, and both work incredibly well. Use a service like Simply Text or Duffled to build a list of everyone, and donâ€™t discount the power of a personal text from their small group leader or youth pastor. Texting is where it is at right now for sure.
Youâ€™ve gotten very good at Publisher 2003. I get it. You like clip art and flyers made on the church photocopier. We do too, but those days have past. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.
HOT: Facebook event pages
Different from your main Facebook page are the event pages you create for service projects, mission trips, or special events. These are usually syncing with many studentsâ€™ phones now, so you get calendar reminders as well as triggers built into to social media. A classic win-win-win situation.
Calendars, if they make it home, have a tremendous return. Put a magnet on the back and you might get on the refrigerator for 2-3 months!
NOT: mass postcards in the mail
The shelf life is just too short for a postcard for a series and the cost is typically prohibitive, too. I love these and am sad to see them already fading out, but unless youâ€™ve got cash to spare or a cheap printer to crank them out this one is dropping quickly.
HOT: individualized postcards from small group leaders
This one will never go out of style. Try it out this week: Pick up some postage-paid postcards and scribble out a few handwritten notes this week and see if it works. Or just trust usâ€¦no technology will ever replace the power of a handwritten note!
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.Â Subscribe to SYM Today right here.