QR codes, or Quick Response codes, are a form of bar codes used with smartphone apps and webcams to immediately redirect the user to a website that is “programmed” into the QR code. For many with smartphones, the ability is there, but hardly anyone is taking advantage of it.
Imagine having congregation members see a flyer for teenagers to signup for camp. Three weeks later, the due date has passed because the parents forgot to do so and the students never passed along the information after youth group. A single QR code could fix all of that.
Here are five ways to use QR codes in youth ministry and take advantage of this.
1) Promotional Signups: As we shared above, use QR codes with all of your advertisements. Redirect the user to a website that takes their name, address, verifying email, and maybe even payment if you can accept credit cards. Put them on the corner of posters and flyers, in the bulletin of the weekly church service, and even on the signup sheets that you pass around for those that do not have smartphones.
2) Scavenger Hunt: Take a night off from youth group meetings to have fun and go out. Divide the group up into even teams and make sure that at least one member of each group has a smartphone and has the QR code downloaded on their phone. As prep work for this even, print off QR codes onto stickers and place them around the church or community if it is a small town. As with all scavenger hunts, give them an initial clue to find the first QR code, and after several checkpoints, have a prize at the end. Using a website to provide the clues, this event will be a hit and a great way to make an event go from good to great.
3) Shirt QR Codes: A new trend for businesses is to handout free shirts and put a QR code on the back of the neck where it is out of the way but scannable for those interested. Youth ministries are always handing out shirts for events to students and volunteers. Put a less than promenant QR code on there to link to some website to promote your ministry’s next programmed event. Make the page static, but always update the page like an electronic newsletter.
4) Parent Resources: Parents are always looking to get more resources for their children and youth pastors need to take advantage of this opportunity. When you hand out flyers or resources to parents, use QR codes to link to different resources that they could buy or participate in. Maybe it is an article from Orange Parents or a resource from Simply Youth Ministry. Whatever the resource, QR codes can quickly and effectively empower them to do parenting better.
5) Like Us On Facebook: Many churches are investing in social media. QR codes may be the perfect way to get people to like your page while they are sitting in the worship center for church. Link to your page and from the pulpit, have your teenagers or parents like the page so that you can engage from this network as well.
How else could you or your ministry use QR Codes effectively?