youth pastors should not be the ones running their social media accounts. The idea behind it may not be life changing for anyone, but implementing this concept would mean potentially changing how you do ministry with people. I’ll share with you below practically what I was thinking and then the leadership changes that will result from ministry.
Find Volunteers To Run the Social MediaIf we are being honest with ourselves, those of us in full-time ministry (and even part-time or volunteer) simply have too much on our plates and it becomes a list of priorities for what really gets done this week. At the same time, youth ministry has been growing into this understanding that ministry should not be one body doing all of the ministry, but a team of people engaging with it, each person using their unique skill sets. Why do we not implement this in social media? Facebook and Google+ pages have the capacity to have multiple administrators, Twitter and Instagram accounts can have generic passwords for specific people to maintain, and a team could be put together to post pictures of youth group, share encouraging Scripture with teenagers, and engage directly with students online. This multiplies ministry, empowers volunteers to own parts of the ministry, and encourages volunteers to engage with students in another aspect of their lives.
Have Student Leaders Assist VolunteersWhile volunteers are a great first step with social media, many times we find volunteers that may not know what they are doing on social media or the best ways to engage with teenagers on these online networks. It is assumed that volunteers are already trying to engage with key student leaders, discipling and mentoring them through Scripture and Christian theology. Why not take that interaction to a practical level by working along side them to spread the Gospel as well as encourage friends and family through your ministry’s social accounts. Allow the teenagers to have them some input into the brainstorming and creative sessions of the group because they may have the most insight into teenage social lives and what is really working in the school social body.
It Is About Relationships, Not MarketingWe have already addressed the idea that social media should only be a tool for face-to-face relationships and eliminating social media from your tasks may be the best thing you can do for your leadership and this idea of passing the social media responsibility to your team would further that cause. Yet, the leadership model would put you in a room with several volunteers and student leaders talking about effectively engaging teenagers, their friends, and their families for the cause of Christ to share the Gospel and equip Christians to go deeper into their love for Christ. You begin to have honest conversations about the role social media should have, find new social network avenues that teenagers are on, and unique, fun uses of networks for your ministry (think “Instagram Hacks” by Josh Griffin). There are a lot of great resources out there to jumpstart social media for your ministry, you just need to take the time to find what is right for your ministry, gather the team to implement them, and release them to do amazing work.