Unless you are working with Amish teenagers in youth ministry, Facebook needs to be a staple in your weekly activities to work with students. Regardless of how much time you want to invest in it, teens are using it more than they are doing homework. But we can integrate Facebook more creatively into youth groups beyond posting Facebook events of upcoming retreats or posting Facebook photos of last week’s water balloon fight.
We want to create a community for the teens. But when it is not the day of youth group, we can continue that community on our Facebook Page through very creative ideas.
Here are four ways to increase interaction on your Facebook Page and impact students’ lives a little more.
1. Setting Up and Following Up Youth Group With A Video
One of my toughest aspects of doing a youth group is that students become “spiritual” on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings, but are someone different at school and home. Posting a video a few days before youth group or a follow-up video immediately afterwards addressing specific questions people asked that night allows for the discussion to continue outside of those one or two hours you meet. This not only gets further and deeper conversation from teens, but allows you to introduce Christianity into their whole week and not just an hour of their week.
We are wanting to create life-long followers of Jesus, not good fakers. Why would we not interact with them more, bringing our lives into youth group and our faith into our lives? These videos will show you are interested and care about what they have to say.
Why would we not interact with them more, bringing our lives into youth group and our faith into our lives?
2. Getting Game Contestants From Those Who Comment On Your Page’s Current Status
This one takes a little bit of preparation by putting up the topic for youth group or a question that will lead into youth group and making sure students know at the previous youth group that someone who comments on the status this week will be picked for a game. Maybe the message for this week is that God can help us clean up our mess and the game that corresponds is drinking a whole McDonald’s happy meal that has been put in a blender. Let the group know that you will be picking people for a game at last week’s youth group from those who comment on your status.
After this, post something like “What is the most disgusting thing you ever ate? Best answer gets to play the game tonight!” or “How has God helped you clean up a mess? Two random commentors will be picked for tonight’s game.” (Know that they might not want to go deep nor should they on a public forum like Facebook) Then, during youth group, put your Facebook page on the projector, read some of the responses, and pick the best answer or two and have those people come up front.
3. Allow Them to Decide A Part Of Youth Group
Facebook Page’s Question feature does not get used enough by youth workers. Put up a question and allow the teens to decide what happens at youth group. You can limit the choices and have some control, but let them have buy-in with the group. Maybe you let them pick what kind of pie gets thrown into the youth leader’s face or what snacks to have that night. Or you could give them more control and allow them to pick the favorite game for the night or what movie you watch on the next Movie Night. Whatever it is, they interact with the Facebook Page and get to decide how things go.
4. Online Scavenger Hunt
We love to do scavenger hunts and Facebook Page photos could be the key. Figure out ten to twenty items that they will need to find. The more interactive, the better. Then post odd angle photos on the Facebook website and have students get their picture at those locations at those camera angles. Then each week, share some of the photos that they have as students come in or leave youth group and post a new scavenger hunt. Maybe a picture in front of the fire department or at the starting positions of the track could be the first in a series of great games for the teens.
What other ways can you use Facebook for Youth Ministry?