Perhaps this is clearly obvious, but I use my youth group’s website for almost every aspect of communication in my ministry. Actually, I honestly have no idea how we’d function without it. I already wrote a tutorial on how to build an interactive youth group website, so rather than repeating myself, I’ll just highlight a few ways I use it in ministry.
News and Announcements
When I post an update to the front page of our website, not only is it there for all site visitors to see, but Feedblitz automatically turns it into an email and sends it out to our entire mailing list, as well. So whether ministry participants check the website or not, they get the news either way. Plus, I don’t have to maintain the mailing list because users easily add, remove or update their subscription online.
Event sign-ups are often an administrative nightmare mostly because the sign-up list is on a clipboard at church. It’s difficult for people to remember to sign up while at church, remove themselves from the list, see who else is going, etc, which usually means I’m replying to a lot of emails and returning phone calls to maintain the list during the week. However, with the event sign-up system on our website, people can take care of all of that themselves. I create a customized sign-up form and people add themselves, remove themselves, submit payments, see who else is attending and best of all, it beautifully puts all the data into an Excel spreadsheet for me. I love it!
As our group continues to grow and attract new members, it’s almost impossible for kids and leaders to keep up with everyone, but our forum and chat box allows for discussions to take place throughout the week. Perhaps the best part is that students who would normally never talk to each other at church meet each other on our site, talk online throughout the week and then look forward to continuing the friendship at church.
I do this in a number of ways online, but the most critical one is getting feedback from first-time visitors. First impressions are critical for any visitor since most will form their opinion about our group within the first two minutes and then will decide whether or not they’re coming back within the next two minutes after that. I want to know what their impressions are so we can adjust accordingly, so I ask first-time visitors to fill out this form on our site and give me their feedback. Surprisingly, most of them actually do it.
I use our site in many other ways, too, which you can see at AlexandriaYouth.com.
Posted on October 29, 2007