The more I use video in my youth ministry, the more I’m convinced that it has the potential to communicate more effectively than any other medium that is currently available. It’s better than email, better than than bulletin inserts, than a cool website, even better than Facebook messages. The only medium that might beat it is text messaging.
Here are some ways I’m using video in my youth ministry this year:
1. Teaching. Although it’s a pretty common usage of video in ministry, using it in teaching environments is often way undervalued. 1) Video gives the audience something different to focus on after staring at me for a while. 2) It keeps minds engaged. 3) Video can tell a story much better than I can. 4) I can only describe an event, place or a person, but a video can actually show them. 5) I try not to take it personally, but video is also more memorable than most sermons and bible studies I lead.
2. Announcements. When I started using video for announcements in my youth group, kids actually started paying attention! When I stand up in front of them and tell them what’s going on, most students are not listening very intently and thus the retention of the information shared is pretty low. But if I say the exact same thing and project it on a big screen or show it on a TV, everyone is glued to it. Turns out the exact same thing is true for adults and our church announcements (see an example here). Plus, our news videos are viewed by all our teenagers’ friends online when I include our youth group kids in the videos and tag them in Facebook. More on using video to communicate youth group news part 1 and part 2, as well as a free youth group news video intro.
3. Training. With so many different schedules, it can be really difficult to get all of my adult youth leaders together for training sometimes. Rather than trying to carve the same period of time out of everyone’s schedule to come to my house or the church for training, I plan to shoot the training info in a quick video, post it to YouTube or Facebook, and send it to all my leaders to view instead. I encourage them to ask questions and interact in the comments. Of course, this can’t be a long-term substitute for meeting together, but it can get the job done and can shorten the amount of time I take when we do meet. (If you make training videos, make sure you send them to me so I can feature them in one of Life In Student Ministry’s youth ministry training videos.)
4. Screening. Our church has a pretty rigid volunteer screening process every adult must pass before they’re given access to children and teens. In the past we scheduled times when new leaders could come to the church, watch the child safety video and fill out a stack of paperwork and questionnaires. As of this year, however, we’re putting the video online and have reproduced the forms and questionnaires as online forms people can fill out and submit at their convenience. It will cut down on a lot of my legwork for each new leader and it allows the new leader to work the screening into their schedule whenever their time permits.
5. Atmosphere. Videos can do a powerful job at setting the tone for your meeting. A worshipful video before a time of worship can settle hearts and minds and help direct their focus on the Lord. A funny YouTube video can have a totally opposite affect. Or a countdown video can set a mood of energy and anticipation.
How are you using video in your youth ministry?
Posted on August 19, 2009