Some things never change. Fostering relationships involves building trust, developing rapport, and sharing experiences. But some of the tools for accomplishing this have changed. This is especially true when using technology and the web to accomplish this with kids and young adults. To some extent several of these are necessary to be involved with youth. Some of the many ways to use technology with youth at your church to foster relationships include:
- Facebook. Yes, I know, you've heard enough about the role that Facebook could play in your church community. But it's worth mentioning again, because this is a highly used means of communication for many youth, if not the primary means of communication for many.
- Foursquare. Has a church staff claimed your church? Doing so will allow you to set up special deals, see who's around and encourage a little competition to see who the mayor can be.
- Twitter. Just like Facebook, this site has mentioned Twitter numerous times. Twitter or Facebook could be used as a way for youth to ask questions during the service about the sermon. Growing up involves learning a lot about why churches do certain things and it can be hard to understand some of these things (or even ask about it!), so using a service like Twitter to submit questions might be easier for some curious people.
- Texting. A simple way to get the word out about a meeting is by sending text messages. Just be wary of using it appropriately (as with any of these suggestions). In fact the Catholic Church banned its use (along with email and social media) because of the opportunity for misuse.
- Feedback and Polling systems. There are many different products, and devices that allow a speaker to poll the audience. This could be used to get the groups reaction to their presentation, or find out what might need more explanation. While this is only practical in larger churches, there are some ways you could implement it on a smaler scale, like smart phone apps.
In fact, this list only scratches the surface on the ways that you can incorporate technology to engage with the youth at your church. But keep in mind that these are not remedies for a troubled youth program, and will not easily make everything easier, as DJ Chuang warns in his post "4 Myths about Using Technology in Church."
There are many interesting ways out there that churches are using to build relationships, especially youth. What have you seen that has inspired your church?
We are debating the pros & cons about going on Facebook. Can you provide more information? How can it be used to bring information to our members? How secure is it? How can it be protected so that those outside of our church do not have access to it? Would like feedback for churches who already are using facebook and if they are happy with it.
Thanks for your help, Eva
There is an article in the network called "How to Use Facebook at Your Church" that will give you some good basic information. Also, if you do a search for "Facebook" on the site you'll find quite a lot of resources.
If you need something just for your church members, you would probably want to use something else. If you'd like to share what specifically you are trying to do in regard to information for your members only, we very likely have resources on the Network for those purposes as well. Let us know.
When you use Facebook for your church, you typically would not be protecting it from others or keeping it secure. The whole idea of Facebook is to share information, not keep it protected. It's a great way to connect with people where they're at, and to publicize events and share photos and news. You might think of it more similar to your church's public website than a private, for-your-church-members-only tool.
For example, our church, along with two others, is planning a city-wide 9-11 memorial service. One way we are spreading the word is through Facebook. I posted information and a link about the event on our church Facebook page and invited everyone to share it with their Facebook friends. In this way, the word gets out and multiplies -- besides those who are fans of our page, as those fans post it, the word gets to their friends. And if their friends post it, it gets to their friends, and so on and so on.
Hope this helps!
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