Social media is one of the best tools at a youth worker’s disposal for reaching students in a whole new medium of communication. Google+ is a new social network on the block that has not gained as much speed as Facebook currently has; but it is an amazing network that has so much potential that is nearly untapped by many ministries, specifically Google+ Hangouts.
We want to share with you a couple of ways that this video chat service could give your youth ministry new opportunities to reach lost students and give your youth group kids amazing ways to be empowered in their faith.
Stream Your Youth Group Over Hangout
You may think of Google+ Hangout as just a video chat feature, but over 300 active million people have the ability through that social network to transmit video and audio as a streaming service to a huge audience.
If you have thought about wanting to stream your youth group service, but do not like the cost of the streaming services ($50/month for Livestream or $100/month for UStream for the few parents, church staff, or others that may see it) you may want to consider doing Google+ Hangouts.
While you are limited in total options for streaming, (i.e. smaller resolutions) it is a free service to hit a huge population of people, to test out if you do decide to move to more corporate solutions, or to simply stay cost effective with the Hangout option.
Small Group Hangouts
Whether you are a church that has families always moving, terrible winters, or simply want to try a different way of doing small groups, Google+ Hangouts offer a unique way of doing Bible studies or small groups to get people together.
Numerous churches have begun to break down the barriers of distance or inconvenience for their Bible studies or small groups. Have a pastor or church leader lead a meeting/bible study, and broadcast it via Google+ Hangouts on Air and YouTube.
If you like, you can have up to 10 people who can actually interact with the pastor during this broadcast, in addition to an unlimited number watching. Invite special speakers to do a quick 10-minute talk or a set of other youth workers or students from another ministry to speak into the lives of the students.
Invite Your Church’s Missionaries to Speak To Student Leaders
Do you have missionaries that your church supports in any manner of ways? Have you been looking for amazing leaders who have taken huge risks that may be a great role model for your student leaders to take the next step in their faith?
These missionaries may be the greatest resource that you have at your disposal, as well as the opportunity for your students to be a HUGE blessing for the missionaries that are out in the field and looking for some relational and emotional support. Put together a Hangout with your youth group student leaders with your missionaries.
How can you use Google+ Hangouts to better your youth group?
Jeremy Smith is a Christian first, husband and father next, and then a blogger, writer, and social media realist. He is currently working at Youth for Christ/USA as the Social Media Specialist and attending Denver Seminary for his Master's of Counseling in Mental Health. His bachelors degree is in Computer Engineering and Master's in Family Ministry. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for ten years and absolutely loves sharing the life of Jesus with teens.