Studies show that Teenagers spend, on average, 7 and a half hour’s a day on the internet. It’s safe to say, then, that teenagers live online. How is your Youth Ministry responding to this? Over the next few days, Youthmin.org is going to be diving into how to respond to Teen’s internet use as a Youth Ministry.
We love seeing a good youth ministry website. Not only is it beneficial because of the fact that your students live online, but it can also be the perfect information resource for parents and congregation members to keep up-to-date with what is going on.
Every youth ministry should have a website. This does NOT mean to have a link for your church’s website to your youth group’s Facebook page. These two things should be separate. Be it teenagers who do not have a Facebook account (yes, it is true!) or parents who think it is evil, we need to have another website separate from social media to inform and share with everyone.
The question now comes, what are some essentials that you should put on your website? While the list below is not exhaustive, it is a perfect foundation to spring from.
- Staff page with a photo and description of every single staff. (go the extra mile and add volunteers too!) This makes that first meeting with new students or parents less awkward when they don’t ask you who the youth pastor is.
- Your faith statement allows you to inform everyone what your ministry operates on. Even if no one ever asks, it is good policy to have.
- Every regular program that is currently running (i.e. youth group, small groups, volunteer training) allows people to put your youth group on their schedule.
- A PDF of your year events is perfect for parents who want to plan out the year for students and a good reference to have students look at what discussing upcoming events.
- A PDF of an informational brochure that they can print off is perfect for families that may want to invite someone to youth group or to direct new visitors to see for more info.
- All necessary forms for events to download make it less of a hassle when announcing events to get a form to each student and instead put the responsibility on the students and parents to get the information printed. But make sure you note where to download it so they do not have to waste time searching for it on your site.
- A Parent’s Newsletter. If you are already emailing parents regularly, put these newsletters online in an archive for future families to see.
- What curriculum you use and have already talked about at youth group allows parents to read through and download to continue the discussion at home.
- Photos imported from Facebook because everyone loves pictures and you will only need to upload them once to Facebook.
- Link to social media to encourage online discussion with you and other members of your youth group. We do not encourage addictions to social media, but they are already online and so we want to let them know we are there too.
- A map and direction to the church (and the youth room) is the simplest use of a site for new families into your community.
- A blog to provide resources and devos for teens, parents, and volunteers
- Contact Information, though I would not suggest personal contact information. Just the church phones and email is enough.
- How adults can get involved
- How students can serve in the ministry for worship and/or student leadership.
One final tip that I ALWAYS suggest, do not ignore the website. Review it every month, if not every week to ensure that all the content is up-to-date. There is nothing more disappointing than seeing a schedule from 2006 of events with a staff roster where most of the people have moved on. That surely is not helpful and implies that you are lazy.
What is an essential must-have for your youth ministry site that I missed?