How To Take Your Youth Ministry Online
You know that starting a church ministry is a worthwhile effort, but in this day and age, starting an online ministry for teenagers is key. Youth ministry is needed in-person, but there are so many reasons why you should also take your student ministry online.
WHY SETTING UP ONLINE STUDENT MINISTRY MATTERS
Starting an online ministry doesn’t mean replacing your in-person teenagers’ ministry. Think of this as expanding and supplementing your church ministry. In 2022, there are many reasons to take your students’ ministry online. Here are a few to think about:
- Bad weather
- Greater reach for your youth ministry
- Families or students who don’t attend church regularly
- Families who can’t attend in person because of illness, special needs, travel, etc.
But knowing it’s a great idea isn’t enough. In order to take action, you might need a little help. We’ve got you covered!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR ONLINE YOUTH MINISTRY HAPPEN
Ready to take your student ministry online? Yes, but how? Maybe you’re concerned because you:
- Aren’t very tech-savvy
- Are out of time
- Don’t know how to adapt your students’ curriculum to an online experience
- Don’t have time or energy to rethink your whole teaching strategy
No worries! We’ll walk you through the steps on how to start an online ministry for students.
First, choose a format for your online youth ministry:
- Post a pre-recorded 1-minute sermon video online.
- Produce a complete pre-recorded sermon video.
- Host a live and interactive video conversation.
Next, choose your effort level:
- LEVEL 1: Super Easy
- For the weeks when you don’t have much time (or energy).
- LEVEL 2: A Little More Effort
- For when you have a little more time. And have taken a nap.
- LEVEL 3: Lots of Effort
- For the weeks you have lots of creativity and time on your hands.
We’ve got the instructions for starting an online ministry with Level 1 effort – right below (or adapt for your teenagers’ ministry).
The Instructions for Level 1:
Follow the instructions below to establish your students’ online ministry through planning resources, teaching resources, games, discipleship activities, volunteer and parent resources, and events.
Annual Planning: Plan your Teaching Strategy by having an Annual Planning Meeting to prepare and lay out the plans for the whole year, if possible.
Teaching: Depending on which format you choose – Post or send a 1-Minute Sermon Video. -or- Pre-record and share a brief teaching video (5-10 minutes) using ideas from your sermon and lesson plans. -or- Host an interactive video conversation, relating to your lesson and including a few thought-provoking discussion questions.
Discipleship: Send your Discipleship Activity for the quarter to your volunteers or families, and ask them to lead their teenagers through the experience.
Games: Skip the organized games! There are other ways to have fun. Share a teen-related funny video or meme during the week instead.
Volunteers: Send a Volunteer Email every week, and include the link or log-in information they’ll need to access your online ministry teaching for the week. You can also promote and communicate on social media.
Families: Send a Family Email every month, and include the link or log-in information they’ll need to access your students’ online ministry teaching for the series. You can also promote and communicate with families on social media.
Events: Skip the events! Send surprises in the mail or set up just-for-fun video calls to help students connect to you and each other.
For Level 2 or Level 3 Instructions, please check out our Grow Students Online Guide and adjust the Grow-user-specific steps to fit your own online students’ ministry.
THE TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE ONLINE STUDENTS’ MINISTRY HAPPEN
You may be wondering what is required to set up your online ministry besides the planning. Yes, there are tools you’ll need! We’ve broken them down into the must-haves and the suggested tools to help you out.
- Your church’s website or social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
- A students’ curriculum you’ve purchased or created (like Grow Curriculum, which comes with Online Hacks for every series that are already done for you)
- Tools to communicate with your people:
- An email service (MailChimp, Constant Contact, or similar)
- Hubs from Stuff You Can Use for communicating with families and volunteers (combines calendar events, announcements and private messaging all in one location)
- Texting services (Clearstream, Flocknote, or similar)
- A camera or two (your phone will work!)
- A microphone (affordable microphone choices for online teaching)
- A tool to stream to Facebook (LiveReacting or BeLive)
- Video editing software (video editing choices)
- Graphics editing software (Photoshop, Canva, or free graphics editing choices)
- Zoom for group discussions
Now that you have the steps, instructions, and tools for starting a students’ online ministry, are you ready to change your church for the better?
HOW TEENAGERS’ ONLINE MINISTRY CAN CHANGE YOUR CHURCH FOR THE BETTER
Your youth ministry is so important and starting an online ministry doesn’t replace it, but supplements it. Consider the following ways that starting an online ministry can make your awesome church even better…
- Keep families and teenagers connected online when you can’t meet in person.
- Expand the reach for your students’ ministry when your people share with their networks or the algorithms recommend your ministry to others.
- Teenagers who don’t attend church regularly (through no choice of their own) can still stay connected and not feel alienated.
- Families of students with special needs or who are experiencing illness or tragedy don’t have to be disconnected from your ministry.
- Give guests or potential visitors an inside look at your students’ ministry before they arrive because coming to a new church can be intimidating.
- Give parents an opportunity to be involved with their students’ church experience at home.
Ready to take your youth ministry online? We’re excited for you to take that step! And remember, you can always choose Grow Students Curriculum to give you all the teaching and tools in one shot, done-for-you, and follow the included online hacks to take your program online.
Every teaching series in Grow Students comes with a set of Online Hacks to help you easily convert your curriculum into an online church service for teenagers, using the formats we’ve given you in this post.
The Grow Team
A team packed with pastors, ministry leaders, writers, editors, designers, project managers, app developers, and more! The Grow Team works to bring curriculum and ministry strategy to church leaders everywhere.