In the past couple of years, youth ministry has adopted the social media network with open arms as it provides a whole new medium for connecting with a generation that is wired into the Internet. At times, it seems that many of our relationships with them are only digital while the goal is to interact face-to-face and share the Gospel with them.
Thus, youth workers have been creating Facebook Pages for their ministries as a central place for them to be able to promote their ministry, market their events, and engage with new teenagers that may have never stepped into a church. The question is, are youth workers being effective with their Facebook Pages? We want to share three tips to
1) Use Photos Primarily: This latest generation is a very visual group of people who have been bombarded with billboard advertisements, addicted to YouTube, and have more screens in front of them than any other generation before. If you want to know how to engage teenagers well, you need to look no further than the photos and videos you have taken at youth group.
Now, it should be noted that you need to have permission to post their photos so that you do not get in trouble. At the same time, photos that are groups of people as well as face shots are ideal because they make great photos to be commented on.
Why is this important? You now can tag photos of students that allow their friends to see your ministry’s page and drastically increase your Facebook Page’s reach. If the students love what they see, they like, share, and comment on these pages that can make that reach increase tenfold. Now instead of only the 150 Facebook fans that like your page see your content, up to 10,000 thousand people could be seeing your page, liking your ministry on Facebook, and this might translate into more bodies in the doors and more ears hearing the Gospel.
2) Promote Your Page Offline: Youth ministry should never stay online all the time and in the same regard, you should definitely promote your online ministry when you are at youth group. Put your Facebook page on your church’s bulletin, your business cards, and your PowerPoint announcements.
At the same time, you can have great activities that you use within the youth group for games or large group activities. Josh Griffin shared a game called Facebook Hacks that you can easily implement your own ministry’s Facebook Page as well as doing a scavenger hunt game night where people have to take photos and post them on your page and get new tips to progress through the event. So many possibilities here!
3) Connect to Something Off Facebook: I am always going to be a proponent of not making your Facebook pages your only online ministry presence. The reason for this is because you do not own or control Facebook. If Facebook decided tomorrow that their stocks tanked and they were taking it down, you would be without an online presence. They already are altering how many people get to see your Facebook page, so it is possible that more is to follow.
At the same time, you need a place to share ministry forms, a website for parents that do not want to go to Facebook, and a landing page that your church’s main website can link to. Even better, you could have your church’s blog on your youth group page and the youth pastor be sharing theological content or great service project experiences! Facebook is limited, but your own site has near limitless possibilities.
We would love to see great examples of Facebook Pages for youth groups, share your ministry’s Facebook Page URL in the comments below.