1. TxtSignal.com: $30/month
With a couple of my youth group kids burning through 18,000 text messages in one month each (yes, seriously!), it almost seems remiss not to use it to communicate with teens. I use TxtSignal.com to send announcements and last-minute reminders, cancel events, send daily devotional thoughts, run contests, share prayer requests, and get quick feedback about a question or idea, and more. It’s definitely our #1 most effective tool for communicating with teens in our ministry. Although the TxtSignal.com plan I use runs $30/month, you can get plans as cheap as $10/month with a 30-day FREE trial.
2. Youth group website: $15/month
In my youth ministry, our website is the #2 most effective tool we have for mass communicating news and announcements. Although there are places to get free websites (like WordPress.com), I opted to purchase a web hosting plan and build it myself so we could more flexibility in how we use it. Check out the tutorial I wrote about how to build an interactive youth group website for more on what the site entails and how you can build one, too. Of course, you could always check out my own website service at MinistryWebsites.biz and help support the ongoing work here at Life In Student Ministry.
3. Covenant Eyes: $8/month
I have Covenant Eyes installed on every computer in my house. It logs every web page I visit and sends a weekly email report to a couple people for accountability. As a guy in ministry, it is absolutely imperative that I protect my integrity. In case an accusation is ever made, I have reports on record. Definitely worth the $8/month! Use promo code “youthministry” to get the first 30 days free!
4. Volunteer appreciation gifts: varies
Without adult youth workers, there would be no youth ministry. They serve in so many ways, giving up so much of their time, energy and resources, and they absolutely must be thanked. Occasional gifts and thank-you cards can never repay all that they give to teens and the ministry, but it’s better than nothing. In my ministry’s youth budget, I seem to always overspend the “Volunteer appreciation” line item, and they are totally worth it.
5. Animoto.com: $30/year
If you saw the Christmas greeting video from me and Dana, you’ve seen a sample of what Animoto.com does. It takes your digital pictures from your latest youth event, lets you add some titles and music, and spits out a video that is entertaining and very professional. It’s a great way to share memories with the congregation and preserve the experience for kids online. An unlimited pass for the site costs $30/year, but 30-second clips are free if that’s sufficient for you. Sign up at Animoto.com.
Posted on January 6, 2009