It has become a common cliché to say “social media is bad for you” or “social media distorts our identity” or “we spend more time on social than we do with people in real life.”
While some of that can be absolutely true, we do know that social media isn’t all bad news. As Christians and leaders we have the authority to harness social media for the benefit of our youth and the church. What if we spent more time focused on using it to reach people for the Lord? As leaders and parents, we must teach students about the pitfalls of social media, but we cannot ignore the benefits of instant communication with those you want to reach.
In student ministry we have the opportunity to have amazing interactions through social media that we might have otherwise missed. Here are a few tips on how to use social media to reach your students and the world:
- Post regularly! Talk about events coming up at church and in youth group.
- Post recaps the day after youth group. Maybe a student missed that night or wasn’t paying a lot of attention. You can remind them of what the important things were during the service.
- Keep it positive! Not every thought that comes to mind needs to be shared so use your filter (aka the Holy Spirit and His Word) when it comes to political beliefs or even a theological disagreement with another Christ Follower. By all means, stop correcting other people’s grammar. Remember all eyes are watching you on the internet. Never post something that you would not be comfortable saying to them in person or in a group setting.
- When students come to group, get their social handles (with parents approval) so you can tag them in posts and hilarious memes. Connection is the most important part, even if it’s not some big churchy thing. Sometimes a meme of an upset reality star pointing at a cat sitting at a table is just really funny!
- Invite parents to follow you as well. It’s important for them to see who their student is following, but also to give the parent opportunities to interact offline with their child about the news of the day coming from you.
- Post stories to your Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook that give your students a look into your day. Whether you are in full-time ministry or you only serve on Wednesday nights, kids are curious! They want to know what your life is like outside of church.
- Use hashtags! #studentministry #youthministry #whateveryourchurchcallstheiryouthgroup
- Point to Jesus! None of this matters if you’re not doing it for God’s glory.
No amount of followers, “likes”, or the number of times you’re tagged in a post can replace real connections with students. Spend time in prayer and use these tools for outreach and connections to the students in your town and in your church. Your post and comments might just become a stepping stone to deeper relationships.
Abby Underwood As a self-described introvert, Abby Underwood has struggled with social anxieties her whole life. Realizing her value in Christ, she overcame the challenges of loneliness, she is now fueled by her passion to help girls find their identity in Christ. Abby works as a member of the social media team and student ministry at Life.Church Hendersonville.