Accelerating student ministry with digital
I am part of an area ministry team that has a goal of 50,000 multiplying disciples by the end of 2020. I get really excited when I think about what an impact this will have on each of our countries.
While it isn’t completely clear to me how we are going to get there, one thing is clear to me, and that is that we need to grow in our use of digital strategies across the area in order to make that goal.
We can’t keep doing things in the same way. I believe that embracing and becoming excellent in our intentional, strategic use of the internet, social media, mobile tools, etc. will make it possible to see this goal become a reality. Digital tools can totally change our perspective and approach to ministry in a positive light… and that excites me!
Here is an example of what I mean. A student ministry team in Budapest was having a very common problem to all of us: getting a second appointment with students. They decided to try and see if social media could help them, so they always asked students if they would become Facebook friends after the first appointment.
They found that most students were glad to do this. So after becoming friends, the team members spent five minutes per day interacting with these students on Facebook (commenting, posting, liking their pictures, posts, comments, etc.).
They found that when they contacted them for a second appointment a few weeks later, there was a much higher response rate because of the Facebook interactions. The students felt like they knew the staff or volunteer better because they had been getting to know them on Facebook!
This is a great example of using digital strategies to increase our effectiveness and solve a ministry challenge. No one had to build a website or create new content or anything. They just used the tools they already had available to them more strategically. This is what makes my heart pulse with excitement! If we could all use the tools already available to us more effectively, our ministries would explode with possibilities we never even dreamed of!
So how can we get started?
Here are few ways that you can embrace digital tools in a greater way in your ministry or team situation:
Learn how to use Digital tools more effectively
Learn how to use the Internet, social media, video, and other tools more effectively yourself. Encourage and envision your team about the importance of learning these tools. Include growth in the use of digital tools in your personal and team’s strategic plan. I believe that if we don’t embrace these tools and strategies of the twenty-first century, we won’t be able to connect with our target audiences in an effective way.
Involve skilled volunteers
Do you need more filtered contacts? More second appointments? Do you want to see more volunteers involved in discipleship? Consider new ways to address these challenges using digital tools. Involve volunteers who are strong in the use of social media, website marketing, and other skills in creating your plans. Gather them together and challenge them to help you come up with strategies for how to use the tools in a new way to address these challenges. We don’t have to be the experts, but we probably know believers that have expertise in some of these areas and they can help!
Don’t give up!
Digital strategies rarely see 100% success on the first try. But just remain focused on your goal, keep making adjustments to your plan and keep tracking your progress towards the goal. You don’t have to get it perfect the first time. Just keep going!