One tech question that has come up several times in the last few weeks sounds something like this, “The kids in our ministry are not using Facebook as much as they did a year ago … how are you responding to this shift?”
It is true, Facebook is not the powerhouse of communication that it once was, and social media in general is just too decentralized to reach everyone with one or two networks. Before you go deleting your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts hold on, there is still a place for all that, but we do need to consider a shift.
Side Note: This post is more descriptive than prescriptive. I do not think you need to do what I am doing but I hope this post helps you think through your own potential shift(s) in communication.
Instead of following culture in the area of social media and communication, we are trying to create culture.
At one time we were doing everything (instatwitvinemailbooking) and in doing everything we found we were decentralizing too much. While I want every parent and student to hear about our upcoming ministry events, we needed to stop catering to everyone’s “needs” (which are actually wants and conveniences).
At the start of the school year we over communicated and clearly laid out our new effort to communicate student ministry information. Here is a brief overview of what we are now doing.
- We email once a month: This is us to them (our direct connect). This forces me to look ahead, that’s a good thing. 12x a year instead of 52x times a year creates greater urgency (before our once a week emails were more like spam than help).
- We text when deadlines get closer: Short notes, directly to their phone is a huge win and Simply Youth Ministry TOOLS makes that happen for us. I know, there’s a 99¢ app for that. No app is as robust and useful as SYM TOOLS! Sign-up for a free 30 day trial here.
- We put everything on the web: It’s our hub! This is them to us (their direct connect to us). They need something…they can trust it is there.
- Publications: We still do a quarterly calendar that we mail to everyone on our mailing list. We also do a flyer for every event, something cool that kids will take home and hopefully take to a friend.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc have their place and uses, but they are not a main focus any longer.
If you’re not creating culture in this area, you are subject to shift when students move on to the latest thing so will you…and you will be starting from scratch.