Internet tools I use in ministry (4 of 6): Facebook

Maybe this should go without saying, but I use Facebook a lot in ministry. Since almost every student has a Facebook account it makes for a great centralized place for easy communication. Here are some of the ways I use it:

Private Messaging
Last week I blogged about how email is old-school and teens no longer use it as a primary means of communication for various reasons. However, private messaging on social networking sites is definitely one of the top ways they talk online now, so I use it as a replacement for email. If I need to send a message to a student, I send it on Facebook instead of email.

Youth Group “group”
With our youth group Facebook group, all the students can share pictures, videos, cool links and exchange comments throughout the week. It’s an easy central hub of communication throughout the week. I use our Facebook group mostly for sending mass private messages to everyone in the group about upcoming news and announcements they should be aware of.

Event RSVP
Through our Facebook group, I sometimes create events and send invitations all the youth group kids to RSVP as “attending,” “not attending” or “maybe attending.” Even though we have sign-ups on our website, too, when people join an event in Facebook, it shows up in all their friends’ news feed and gives the event some free publicity to other students who otherwise might not know about it. Of course, they can easily check out more details of the event and sign-up to attend, too, if they’d like.

News application
Creating a Facebook application that streams your latest youth group news straight to student’s profiles is a bit nerdier, but I tried to make the process as simple and easy-to-understand in this tutorial. Basically, it’s nothing more than an RSS reader for you youth group news inside of Facebook for students. This puts announcements right where they’ll see it and where their friends will see it, too.

See what kids are up to during the week
Although all these other things are nice and all, the main thing I use Facebook for is to keep up with kids lives through the week. I love seeing what they’re up to, what they’re thinking, how they respond to different things their friends post, the kinds of content they post themselves, and all the joking around that takes place. It’s fun.

Posted on November 14, 2007

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