Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. We can’t escape social media. Our students are on them nearly 24-7. There is great potential for these tools to connect and communicate with students in our ministries. But there is a great temptation. In our ministry I’m realizing we’ve been relying too heavily on these social media avenues to draw students in.
We have become really good at marketing in the youth ministry world. The technologies are available to everyone. Logos, brand strategies, social media campaigns are a part of nearly every youth ministry. Even the smallest of youth groups can have an Instagram feed and a Facebook page.
For a while I thought that we could get more students connected to our ministry and events if we improved our social media presence. All summer we had been using this strategy for our camp and mission trip. The idea is that if I email parents enough, tweet enough, post enough pictures on Instagram then kids would sign up. The result was bad…real bad. No one was signing up.
It works the same in my life. If I get a mass Facebook invite, I’m 90% sure I’m not responding. If I get an E-vite for a party, I’m waiting until the last minute to respond. But if I get a personal call I’m probably going to respond favorably and immediately.
This was our change of strategy. Personal invitations. We had our leaders contact the students they are connected with and intentionally invite them. The results were staggering. Last Sunday, we went from having only two people signed up for our mission trip (one week past the deadline) to our largest ever number of sign-ups within a matter of hours. What was the difference? Personal invitations.
Over and over I am reminded that what our teens want is personal investment. When we deviate from that into impersonal means, then our teens are simply not having it. We can’t rely on social media strategies to create of movement of Christ followers. Does that mean that we delete our profiles and accounts? No way. These become ways to communicate with those whom we have personal relationships with.
For me it means that from now on, we’re going to make sure we stay personal. Instead of social media strategies, we will make students know that we care by having our leadership interact with them in personal ways.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]