Our world is constantly changing because of technology. Five years ago the way to reach students was via e-mail and most ministries were still sending postcards. Today, while many students HAVE e-mail, they are much more comfortable and apt to check Facebook or text messages. In 5 years it will be something else – a new way of communicating.
It’s difficult to stay on top of the newest technology, especially when church budgets are small to begin with. Just when you get the funds to purchase a projector, screen, Power Point, and the classes to teach folks how to use it, Media Shout steals the show. Once we master Publisher and create a kickin’ newsletter, we discover no one reads it anyway because everyone is checking Facebook.
So how do we stay ahead? Or should we even bother competing?
Facebook, text messaging, and e-mail are just a few technological improvements that have helped youth ministry. Here’s a list of some other tools that can be used to help with communication, leadership, and time-management:
- Simply Text – Reach your students where they are – text them! Don’t waste your time texting the same thing to individual students. This program is web-based and sends a text message to all of your students/parents/volunteers at the same time. A free 30-day trial is available.
- Podcasts – Whether it’s the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast, Youth, Church and Culture from Princeton Theological Seminary Institute for Youth Ministry, or the Fuller Youth Institute podcast these free resources can offer advice, connect you with other youth ministers and help you to know that you aren’t alone. Each of these podcasts are available for free from iTunes.
- Constant Contact – This is a web-based newsletter service that helps you create easy-to-read e-newsletters that can be sent out to anyone with an e-mail address. Limited free trial for 60 days at
- Google Groups – We just started utilizing Google Groups for our Mid-Winter Retreat Planning Committees. It works like a message board, where you can post different ideas and have people respond all in once place, rather than replying to all e-mails. I’m hopeful that it will work! Best of all, it’s completely free!