Summer Social Seires: Snapchat

Every week, there are students who hang out in the youth room while our team sets up for the service that evening. Watching this crowd is fascinating. 

You can see the kids with phones in hand trying to subtly move the phone in front of their face and sneak in a selfie. 

They quickly make a ridiculous face, snap a photo, and move their phone downward…praying no one noticed.

We all noticed. 

This is the snapchat generation. 
They’re practically live streaming their lives to their friends. They are constantly sending selfies with an animated dog face. They’re unquestionably glued to snapchat like my generation used to be glued to AIM and Saturday morning cartoons. 

I know, snapchat is a witch in many people’s preverbal online witch hunt. You’ve heard things like “It was originally a sexting app” “there’s no way to control what my kids see” and “the photos vanish in 24 hours.” I don’t want to use something that can be used for such evil.
Yes, this is all true.
This same case could be made for anything with electricity though – people will always use technology for evil.
But, that doesn’t mean snapchat is bad within itself — and it’s certainly not getting any less popular. 

Snapchat is growing and changing quicker than any social network of all time. 
The White house has joined, CNN is active, and the current election is being covered live from the app. Bottom Line: it’s not just for sneaky teenagers anymore.
And it is an amazing network for churches and organizations. 

I do not have the time or brain to explain the history and function of snapchat to you…but many bloggers have already done that.
Here’s a great one!

I am going to focus on bridging snapchat and ministry. 
Here are ways you can be using snapchat for your church! 

Jackson’s Opinion: I am okay being wrong here, but I would advice churches to focus on posting great snapchat stories and not worry too much about P2P chatting. 

I. Post  the experience in real time. 
This is simple. When an event is happening, post snaps. Snapchat is special, because you don’t need to have the most HD, quality content out there. Just push content out there. It’s low pressure and high reward. 

II. Post behind the scenes snapshots. 
Same as above. This is how you convince people to come to an event you’re doing. Convince your pastor to do short sermon snapshots on your account. Show your band practicing for your service. Post chats of your team having a meeting — might as well make this time useful. (Most ministry meetings can be solved with an email anyway.) 

III. Consider outsourcing your snapchat presence. 
If you’ve been using Facebook, then Instagram is pretty intuitive. You can figure it out. Snapchat is not the same. Using it has a slight learning curve. 
I recommend you find a young person you trust to help you with this. They know what to do, they know what looks good. They know the culture behind snapchat. 
This is a no brainer if you’re just starting to use snapchat as a ministry. 

IV. Include your branding in as many snaps as possible.
Have your logo somewhere whenever you can! If you have a medium-large campus or building, then you should get a geofilter. Don’t know how to do that? We can help. 
As people watch your story unfold on their account, it is crucial to subtly remind them of your organization with your visual branding. 

V. Have fun with it. 
Snapchat is an incredibly entertaining network. It’s straight-forward and there’s very little pressure in using it. 
So, have some fun with it! Use humor. Use those weird selfie filters. Do whatever it takes to show people the fun side of your organization. Think about how much people would enjoy seeing an elderly member of your staff using some of the selfie-filters. There is inevitably weird costumes and props in your student pastors office — pick them up and have a good time. 

About the Author

Jackson Garrell

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Jackson is a pastor, designer, and cheese enthusiast. He lives in New York with his wife and several dozen plants. When he is not building websites, consulting churches, or pastoring, you will probably find him trying to create the perfect omelette.