Youth pastors have a pressing list of priorities. You’re focused on things like sermon prep, worship, discussion groups, discipleship… and social media? Does Instagram really deserve a spot on the same to-do list as things that directly help teens grow in their foundational relationships with Christ? In the context of youth ministry in 2018 — we’d say an emphatic YES. Of course, first things first. But creating an engaging online community through social media is relevant and important!
Here are three reasons why online community matters for youth ministries.
1. Engage with teens where they already are.
Where are they? They’re on Instagram! According to eMarketer, 63% of 13 to 17-year-old teens use Instagram every single day. You may only see your students once or twice a week at church, but you can engage with them every single day through their newsfeeds. Instagram is a great way to fill in the gaps and stay connected throughout the week! You don’t need to get students to download and use a new app, you can simply meet them on the platform they are already using every single day. Instagram communications are comfortable, casual, and convenient for students.
2. Enrich teens’ timelines.
Teens are exposed to a lot of things on social media. Let your youth ministry’s account be a source of daily light for students! Fill students’ timelines with encouraging verses and reminders of your current teaching series, humor only youth pastors could provide (a weird-yet-funny mix of dad jokes, memes, and Christian puns), and engaging posts that build an online youth group community. Social media allows you to encourage your students every day of the week with a quick and simple post.
3. Encourage teens into a Christian community.
Communities are strengthened on Instagram. Campaigns gain momentum with a hashtag, posts go viral through the explore page, and movements gain support from followers. Even on a small scale, hashtags, tags, and followers give your ministry a channel of influence that people couldn’t have dreamed of a decade ago — use it to change lives. Create posts that inspire students to tag friends who could use the same encouraging word, a good laugh, or an invite to an upcoming event. Encourage students to communicate by commenting, responding to one another, and getting to know each other better. Foster fellowship online!
Your youth ministry may be some students only source of Christian community. Allow your influence to reach beyond youth group by building an online community that’s accessible every day of the week!
Need more social media tips, interactive posts, or help creating custom content for Instagram? Contact For Ministry Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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