Technology is a way of life for teens and most adults these days with social networking, databases, environment enhancing technology, media, and general communication. So many people seem to have transitioned into using technology in ministry seamlessly, while others are struggling or simply refuse to mess with it.
There is a wide range of technology available for ministry use. Most likely as you read this you might be aware of other newer applications that are available. It’s an ever changing field that is tough to keep up with without constant updating.
Top applications for different areas of ministry:
These two are pretty widely used in church database software. They each have multi-layered functions and applications within their software. Their main function is to keep up with attendance, track membership, keep all personal data of each member/church attendee, and you can also export to other pieces of technology such as a PDA, cell phone, or computer.
Low budget option: create an Excel spreadsheet with your students’ information in it. Set up the different cells to track attendance and any other information you would like to input.
Pro Presenter is the premiere presentation tool. It’s used by many touring bands for amazing background designs and for projecting song lyrics on the “big screen.” It does not have the trouble other software might have with distorting images and also does not require you to duplicate images and backgrounds. It has live camera capabilities and has many other great features. There is also new Windows-compatible software, so if you don’t have a Mac…
Low Budget option: PowerPoint or Keynote. These applications will do the job; however, they don’t have the seamless transitions of more expensive software, and it takes much more work to get set up for each presentation.
Facebook is the most used way for social networking with students. It has great ministry application and can be used to form your own youth group Facebook account. Time and time again, youth say it’s THE way they would like to be connected. Twitter is shifting to be more widely used by youth as they begin to fully understand Twitter as a communicator.
Low budget option: All of them: they’re free!
With both adults and youth, the best communication is in-person face-to-face communication. Remember that adults want and need to be communicated with differently than youth. Along with the database software, there are options for computerized phone tree calling, mass email services, and many other portal functions you can buy in order to step up the look and presentation of your emails. As far as print material, there are many Adobe options, Microsoft Word or Pages templates, and other multimedia templates.
Low Budget options: Microsoft Word or Pages, Facebook, Email (Mail Chimp is an email service that is free up to 500 people with great looking templates), and phone calls.
Obviously there are many different ways which technology can be used and you will find that some work well in your church and others are completely useless. The main work of technology should be connectivity. Its work is to get information out in ways that connect to individuals and the group as a whole. In ministry we want and need to stay connected. You must constantly monitor its effectiveness in connectivity. If it’s not connecting with anyone or helping anyone stay connected, then it should be abandoned and you should look for other ways to connect.
With presentations, the right software coupled with a good projector can completely change a youth environment in a good way. A laptop, a projector, and ProPresenter are all you need to create an amazing world for youth to participate within through worship, videos, or any other multimedia work. Just like in life, everything that technology should point to is the glory of God. If it’s a distraction or you spend more time with it then with actual students, it should go away.
Pick your applications wisely. Try out the free trials before you buy. Make sure you have the required software, computer, and projector before you buy. Does it enhance and detract?
What ever you do online can be seen by anyone. The updates you make to your online account will be seen by the youth in your youth group. They will creep on your profile and look at all your pictures. Make sure you carry yourself as the Godly person you are supposed to be.
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.