I have been asked many, many times about my years in Youth Ministry and what has changed. The biggest thing that has happened to Youth Ministry over the years is technology and Social Media.
Back in the day when communicating with students and parents we had to call everyone on a phone that was tethered to a desk or wall. There was a rotary dial and it took some time, a lot of time, to make all the calls to the parents and students. Then it would happen somewhere your plans would be tweaked and now you have to call everyone back and explain the change. Argh....
We also used a lot of posters and snail mail. You remember mail right? We would actually make a letter, write it out, copy it, fold it, place it in an envelope and stamp it; then to the mail box. This would have to be done days and days in advance. Inevitably the students and adults would get the communication late! Argh...
Today we have Social Media and most of the time this is at the finger tips of the students and adults. No more having to wait until they get home and have to check email. Email, by the way, students do not use, so don't send them! Parents and grandparents are all over that though.
Social Media is like a firearm, in my opinion, now wait before you shut me out! When used properly, firearms are to help, protect, hunt and for safety. When used as intended there is no problem. However, outside the bounds of what it was created for there is a problem. Social Media is the same way. You can contact masses at one time with upcoming ministry information, send updates immediately, contact parents and students at the same time, photos and immediate updates! But when Social Media is not used properly there is a problem. It can be used to tear down, destroy, attack and maim individuals.
Social Media can be a wonderful thing but use it wisely. IF we do not use it correctly in ministry then we are part of the problem. Make sure you follow the rules and guidelines properly! If you don't do it well, it will be used against you.
Parents please have conversations with your students about how to use Social Media correctly! Parents have your student's passwords and check their Social Media often, and let them know you are doing it! Also don't let your students have a Social Media page until 13 due to Federal Requirements, yep the government.
Anyway, I welcome your comments about this monster called Social Media.