Almost every student in our ministry has a cell phone and they are itching to get it out and use it. I do not want to encourage misuse and distraction, but I figure if it’s available and has ministry potential, I might as well try and leverage it. Here are some ideas you can use to leverage cellphones in your ministry, too:

  • Free and pay for options. this service is more than polls. It is robust.
  • #yourministry or #yoursermonseries: You probably don’t have enough people tweeting to get your hashtag trending but it is a good way for our students to let their friends know about their church.
  • Text a friend: Challenge student to text a friend and ask if there is anything they can pray for. Then have them pray.
  • Instagram Video Challenge: Silly videos for announcement, youth group invites and tag friends or “we missed you tonight” video tagging friends. Think of other video reenactments or games you could play.
  • Instagram pix with #hashtags We asked students to snap and post a picture from one of our prayer stations.
  • I Love My Youth Group: Ask students to send a 15 second Instagram video saying what they like about their youth ministry. Grab those videos and compile them into a video that you show at one of your programs.
  • God is…: Same as “I Love My youth Group” but these can be short testimonies.
  • Thought Of The Week: Ask students to Instagram, Tweet, or Facebook a picture of their sermon notes or the “thought of the week.” Or just type up a tweet or facebook status update of their favorite thought, message point, or application. Have them add a #hashtag.
  • Cellphone Shootout (free graphics here): This is a game where I give out my cell number and the 1st person to call me gets a prize. If you don’t want to give out your cell number to a room full of obnoxious teens consider getting a free Google Voice number to give out.
  • Simply Youth Ministry TOOLS: Have studnets sign up for text blasts and feed them news, announcements and encouragement texts throughout the week.

Help grow this list.  What have you done or what is practical to do?


If you have not heard of Polleverywhere it is a killer interactive communication tool.  Create multiple choice or open ended questions/polls and receive live feedback as people vote via text message.  You can present your polls online form their site, download and add in your presentation software (Mac and PC), or embed the poll’s code on your website. This is totally free for up to 40 votes per poll, if you need more that 40 votes you can purchase a larger plan. We hosted an event and wanted to use Polleverywhere so we purchased the 250 response plan for one month, you are not locked into any contracts or surprised by hidden fees.  The polls brought a new element to our teaching, the attendees had fun, and they were brought into the message.

Polleverywhere recently added some cool new features like adding images to your polls.  Instead of asking a question like, “What is your favorite Fast Food Restaurant?” And listing places, you can inset an image or their logo.  This is a pretty cool feature for our visual generation.

Here’s some insight on their new features…

Right after the Simply Youth Ministry Conference I always get asked the same question: how did you do that!?! I love a good idea – I love stealing good ideas, too. If anything you saw on the main stage was interesting to you or maybe inspired you to bring something back into your ministry setting – here’s the scoop on what we used or how we did it!

Poll Everywhere – the polls on the big screen were powered by The technology is free for up to 40 responses (perfect for most youth groups) and scales really well to have thousands of responses per poll. Be sure to check them out – we use it all the time in our youth ministry, it is so fast and fun!

AR.Drone – one of the new ideas this year was to use an AR.Drone to hover over the crowd with a gift card attached to it on a long string. The Drone is controlled by an iPad/iPhone/iPod/Android and streams live video from the hovering airship to the big screen. With all of the signals in the conference room it got bogged down a bit, but overall it was a super fun experiment.

Facebook Hack – This is a game we invented in our youth ministry a couple of months ago. You can read more about the game and download the title slide right here.

The Interlude – a fun dance you can download right here.

Digital Stachethese are the dudes behind lots of magic on the screens. We had an idea, they did it. Really stunning guys with tons of freebies and youth ministry resources totally worth checking out!

Twitter – this is actually a feature in the latest version of Propresenter (5, from what I understand). It is a super cool way to put up a paricular hashtag on the screen – it includes full moderation capabilities as well. Looked super slick up there!

Was there something else at the event you would like to know about? Hit me up in the comments!


Hey everyone from NYWC 2011!

Thanks for making our youth ministry workshop so fun this weekend — I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are the links from Every 7 Minutes: Keeping Students Engaged During Your Talk workshops I promised you today:


A couple weeks ago we hosted a parent panel as part of HSM’s How to Raise Your Parents series. We had students text in their questions and they are a goldmine. Here is a selection of the questions that students texted in over that weekend. Some pretty insightful stuff in here, I think. If you’re wondering what your teenagers are asking, here you go:

  • why do parents pick favorites with their kids?
  • how do you tell your parents your tired of them fighting?
  • how do I tell my parents how to let go?????? Seriously
  • what do you do when your parents dont give you a reason for not being able to do something besides saying” because i said so”
  • views on sexting?
  • how do you help a parent who refuses to live by christ and accept him?
  • If parents were hurt by the way their parents raised them, why would they raise their own kids like that?
  • my mom is very hypocritical to me and how i treat her. how do i handle that?
  • if you were born a guy but then changed yourself to a girl, then became a christian, would you change yourself back?
  • When parents r extreamly stressed out and it feels like they take it out on you wat do u do?
  • is it ok to not like your parents
  • how can i say back off without actually saying back off
  • my parents are in a bad financial situation and are always stressed and its taking away from the time that we can be bonding with our family what do I do
  • my dad is extremely lenient with me and sometimes I feel like he doesn’t pay attention to me or doesn’t want to…how do I get him to see me?
  • “Why do parents always punish their children for negative actions but seldom even notice the positive or beneficial actions?”
  • If your son/daughter came out as gay how would you react?
  • how do I still be a kid in a household where I’m fulfilling a parent’s role?
  • if i messed up sexualy or with drugs or drinking should i tell my parents even if they will never find out
  • why do parents get mad when we don’t listen but when you don’t listen to us it’s ok?
  • im super close to my dad but i dont really get along with my mom. Is it ok to talk to my dad about how to deal with the relationship with my mom?
  • do you think its okay for parents to read your texts?
  • How can we as son/daughters make the sex talk less ackward when mom and dad aren’t great at it?
  • why do we always have to keep our rooms clean?
  • should my parents be friends with me on facebook
  • what would you do if your child said they did not believe in god?
  • Do you have sex?
  • my parents won’t let me go to parties after dances. I want to go and i’m strong in my faith what should i do to show them i’m ready
  • How do you tell parents who are closer to parole officers than parents to let you have more freedom?
  • my parent smokes marijuana he doesnt know i know but they incourage me not can i confront them?
  • if my dad is a football worshipper and lives for football but i want to quit, how do i tell him?
  • how do parents feel about us having friends that do drugs/drink if i dont do it.
  • I like a guy he’s a mormon…he has not tried to convert me…is it ok if I start dating him?
  • I’m so close to graduating, but still have so many rules like I’m a kid. Why not let me grow up a bit?
  • I did something really bad, how do i start regaining the trust of my parents back… can u give me some action steps?


If you’re looking for the links and videos related to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference – look no further. Here are links to most of the content and program elements from SYMC 2011: