How we used Google Wave at youth group

How we used Google Wave at youth groupYesterday I wrote about how new technology becomes a ministry tool and mentioned how that’s happening for Google Wave right now. This post is not intended to explain what Google Wave is or how it works — there are plenty of posts and videos around the web that already explain that. My point here is simply to give an example of how we’ve been using it for personal use until last Sunday night at youth group when it became the most logical solution for ministry use. There are probably other ways to accomplish what we wanted to do besides using Google Wave, like good ol’ pen and paper, but this worked best for our situation.

We just finished up a series with our high school students based on NewSpring’s, “Don’t get married until…” series and wanted to end it with an anonymous conversation between the guys and the girls. The idea was to split the girls and guys into separate rooms and write a list of questions they wanted the opposite gender to answer. We would swap lists, write down answers in our groups for the other gender, and then send the answer sheet back to the other gender to read and discuss.

That sounded good except for the time it would take to run back and forth and the time of writing out all the answers when we could instead be discussing and talking. So, my wife had the idea of using Google Wave to collaborate instead. Here’s what we did:

I went in the room with the guys and my wife went with the girls. We both took our Macbooks, connected to our church’s wifi, and started two Waves, one titled, “Guys questions for the girls,” and another called, “Girls questions for the guys.” We gave each group about 10 or 15 minutes to list their questions in order of highest priority to least (to ensure we addressed their top questions first before we ran out of time). We each listed our group’s questions in the appropriate Wave. Then we switched Waves and started reading the other group’s questions aloud and typed our group’s responses. At that point all the teens really started digging it! In the guy group, after answering some of the girls’ questions, we hopped back to our origional Wave to read how the girls were responding to our questions. We posted our follow-up questions, added other comments, and then went back to answering more girl questions. It was serously a lot of fun!

The guys and girls had a great open and honest “conversation” with each other, feeling safe to ask anything without risk of embarassment or knowing who was saying or asking what.

Since this is a bit hard to explain, especially if you’re not familiar with Google Wave, here’s a screenshot of part of the girls’ Wave and part of the guys’ Wave.

Guys Wave QuestionsGirls Wave Questions

The cool thing about this that I didn’t anticipate was that the teens wanted to continue the conversation online even after youth group ended. So I gave away a bunch of Wave invites to the students and added them to the Wave as soon as they were accepted. It’ll be interesting to see if and how the Waves that started at youth group continue throughout the week. It might be a good follow-up tool or “for further discussion” type of things?

The teens really want to do it again sometime, so I probably will when it’s appropriate for other discussions in the future.

P.S. Speaking of technology, I just wrote yesterdays and today’s entire blog posts on my cell phone, the new Motorola Droid. Who even needs a computer anymore?

Posted on December 16, 2009

New eBookGo
Focused Youth Ministry ebook

85% off!

Focused Youth Ministry

This practical "how to" ebook will walk you through a 30-step process to discovering God's vision for your unique ministry context. The process also shows you how to implement that vision and put metrics in place to evaluate what is moving the vision forward and what isn't.

Price: $12.95 Limited time: $1.99