Best Ways to Engage Young Church Members in a Digital Era
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the digital world is where we need to be in order to reach our youth. With easy access to the internet, it’s estimated that half of our country’s teenagers are on Facebook every day. We must accept this reality when trying to engage young church members.
With most youth owning a smartphone, it’s usually the adults who are lagging in terms of technology. Other popular social platforms like TikTok and Instagram are just a normal part of young people’s lives and routine. This is why it’s imperative that you understand these issues and work with them.
Technology and its Effect on Adolescents
Contemporary youth today faces a unique challenge: one that did not exist just a decade ago. There is conflict with peers in person, but also conflicts on social media. There is a new pressure to present themselves online in a way that their peers acknowledge and accept.
Technology can be both beneficial and detrimental. It is important as youth counselors and pastors to use digital platforms for a healthy advantage and avoid having our kids get sidetrack or even dragged into depression because of the conflicts it can cause.
Here are eight ideas for using the internet in a healthy and godly way.
1. Host virtual inspirational concerts
Use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other virtual meeting platforms to get your youth together for a one-of-a-kind social yet inspirational and fun event! Have your church’s musicians perform for an online audience, and let everyone know via social media what time to tune in and watch the concert.
2. Have online art galleries or talent exhibitions
Young people always need an outlet to express their creativity. Help them nurture their art by organizing online art shows, and ways that donors can purchase their art, with proceeds to your next outreach project. This shows that you support their passions and see the value in them.
3. Use Vimeo or Youtube to Share Pre-recorded Services
Not many young people jump at the idea of restricted time. If your church services happen on a weekend, when they may have other social plans, why not tape them? This gives them the option to watch replays, and allows for flexibility and freedom.
4. Inspirational podcasts
See who in your church ministry can start inspirational podcasts geared specifically to the needs of your youth You could even have your own teens guesting on the show, sharing their testimonies and faith.
5. Start a prayer chain online
Keeping the privacy restricted, see how you can incorporate prayer chains into a digital mode. This will keep your youth encouraged. Maybe they are studying for exams, going through health issues, or just need an extra spiritual boost. Having a public prayer meeting could feel daunting, so you can collect prayer request instead and let them there will be a prayer chain online to fully support them.
6. Virtual Bible Quiz Games
Most kids have game consoles at home, and enjoy playing video games, or virtual games. Same goes for their parents, too! With a little help from your IT team, you could create virtual Bible Quiz games, challenges, and ways to make playing online games both educational and inspirational.
7. Stream Inspirational Movies
Turn “Netflix and Chill” nights into faith-boosting evenings with the following recommended movies:
Mark Richt, Alex Kendrick, Erin Bethea (Released: 2006, Directed by: Alex Kendrick)
Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer, Val Kilmer (Released: 1998, Directed by: Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells, Steve Hickner)
Carrie Underwood, Helen Hunt, Anna Sophia Robb (Released: 2011, Directed by: Sean McNamara)
· Heaven Is for Real
Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Margo Martindale Released: 2014, Directed by: Randall Wallace)
8. Assign youth counselors to be on call or online chat
Youth counselors or senior church members should be responsible for monitoring all the social media of your church and guiding any digital platforms for youth. If you have Facebook groups or chat groups, these need to be constantly moderated. In line with your digital programs, always make sure that there are available counselors who your kids can get in touch with when they have questions, need prayer, or just want to vent.
Powerful Scriptures for Leading Your Youth
Matthew 5:14-16 King James Version (KJV)
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. NIV
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”
Need more ideas for your church, or a comprehensive program to manage outreach better? At Donorwerx, we provide real solutions to today’s challenges, and help churches nationwide with their digital transitions. For more tips on engaging your church members, donors, and congregation, follow our blog or visit our resources page.