General Ministry
Josh Griffin

There is much about youth ministry that is always changing.  How we gather, how we teach, how we formulate life groups, what makes a youth pastor relevant.  There are as many things to are unchanging (besides God).  Pizza, all-nighters, road trips, and one of my favorites…photo scavenger hunts.  But here is the problem.

  • Polaroid Scavenger Hunts were expensive…
  • Digital Scavenger Hunts took a ton of time to collect photos and make a show…

Instagram Scavenger Hunts could be the youth group event of the future with the side benefit of a massive amount of youth group photos to populate your facebook page, the walls of your youth room, and anywhere else you want.

I had the privilege of working with a couple other great youth pastors as they were developing what I affectionately called “The Photo Scavenger Hunt for the Next Generation”.  It started with our Families Pastor, as he told us to take photos for a staff retreat using Instagram on our smart phones and then give it a specific #title.  It was a raging success.

From there, our Families Team ran a conference and gave all attendees a contest to participate in.  We used this promo below.  It was created, filmed, and edited by the fantastic Joel Stanton.

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A list of photos to take during the weekend convention was provided.  There were prizes offered for the best photos or the most completed successfully.

From there, our Middle School Pastor used it as a Middle School Life Group Night.  He had challenges like these for the groups to do:

  • Instagram a picture using the RISE filter of a Pyramid next to our church trailer.
    • Then Tag it #nameofyourevent
  • Instagram a picture using the TOASTER filter of everyone making a basket with their shoe.
  • Instagram a picture using the HUDSON filter of your whole team in a car.
  •  Instagram a picture using the LO-FI filter of everyone planking on a curb.

Obviously this list is limited by only your ideas!

We will be doing this as our High School Fall Kick Off.  Forming groups, racing (safely) around our area, and then ending up some place for an after-party, and an already organized slide show, from their hash tagging skills has been created.

It was fun to watch the evolution of how this started and what this event has become.  I feel like they caught lightening in a bottle.  Hope it works as well for you.

Jeff Bachman is the High School Pastor at Rock Harbor Church just up the road in Irvine, CA. Feel free to leave comments or email him at jbachman@rockharbor.org and of course subscribe to his blog The Until Matters.

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  • Tim Clayton says:

    I love the idea! For those of us who are (believe it or not) still new to instagram, how do you get all the tagged photos into a slide show. I could search on my iphone and save and email photos to myself, but that seems like a lot of work. Thoughts?

  • Jenny says:

    Brilliant! The students’ all-time favorite event just became enjoyable for those organizing it!! Look forward to the reply to Tim’s question, too. Thanks do much.

  • Jeff Bachman says:

    Thanks for asking about clarification on the final step. I failed to mention the “how-to”. I made an assumption that Instagram would allow you to do that on line. At present (though things change on the internet) you can’t #search in a way that you can pull pictures off. You can search through your smart phone but from there the pictures are kind of stuck. The way we do it, is to use a web site called Statigram (www.statigr.am) that integrates with your Instagram account. You go to their website (Statigram’s) and log in with your Instagram account. It will pull up all the people you follow and their pictures. From there, you can do #searches and download the pictures with a “right-click” or there is a slideshow option once you have searched your event name with the #. A couple more steps than originally talked about on the post, but still as easy. Thanks for the question, and helping to improve the event for all of us.

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