[youtube]lFZ0z5Fm-Ng[/youtube]

Updated.  If you are not using social media to further your ministry you are missing some great opportunities.  The social media footprint that you and your ministry has, needs to be examined on a regular basis.  For example, our student ministry used to have a myspace page, not anymore.  Not because myspace is going away (it is not) it is just because the demographic of our student ministry is less impacted by myspace than it is with Facebook.  But there are tons of ways to connect with students via social networking.  To better use your time, try this…print up a quick survey for your students and ask!  Crazy, I know…keep it simple, we all know that the combined user totals for twitter and Facebook are over 600 million (if you didn’t know that, now you do) so you don’t need to ask how many use what…just ask which they prefer.

Some questions you may want to ask:

  • Would you rather get info about (your name here) from Facebook/myspace/email/twitter/ning.com etc.
  • Do you have a smart phone?
  • What apps do you use?
  • Would you be interested in YouVersion Live? (see below for video explaining this wicked cool feature) I am finding more and more students using their cell phones during our teaching time to follow along with the scripture that I am teaching from.

Just get a feel of what communicates to your students the best and spend your valuable time on those.  Your students still may be the type to want a postcard.  I have students that don’t have access to internet unless it is at school, so I just have them on a list to mail calendars to.  There are not many, but I don’t want to exclude those students that cannot afford the Inet at home.

Feel free to add your thoughts of questions to ask students…

[youtube]qKFkaEY35AY[/youtube]

[youtube]kMKrMHYtt3I[/youtube]

A huge resource of testimonies from www.iamsecond.com .  If you haven’t seen these videos, you need to.  Sometimes when I need to be encouraged, challenged, or inspired…this is where I go.  That is the power of video.  I encourage our students to watch these when they ask how to share their story.  Sure it won’t be as dramatic as some of these…but people want to here how your faith has changed you, not anyone else.  Share your faith.

This video of Chris sharing his story strikes a chord with me.  I pray for our armed forces, have family in them, family that retired from them, students that serve…they give so much and get much less thanks for what they do and the sacrifice that is a part of something bigger than themselves.  I hope it moves you as much as it did me. …DVS

Recently stopped in and got some pictures of the updated FBC Forrest City Student Ministry facility.  They used some great ideas with LED Lighting on plain walls so they can actually change the color of the walls whenever they feel like it.  Some other highlights of “The Stand” was staining of the concrete floors, leaving some of the frame-work for the ceiling tiles over the “cafe” area, and the sign-in desk.  Take a look at the pictures and let me know if you have any questions about it, or you can contact the Youth Pastor at FBC Forrest City.  His name is Chris Roller and you can find him on Facebook.  If you are within a day’s driving distance and would like me to share some of your creative ideas with Youth Workers around the world, please let me know.  Even better, if you have high quality pictures of your space, please send them to me at dustin.sams@fbcstuttgart.com so we can share with others. Blessings.

Other things to look at:

  • Screens Directly on a flat wall for the projectors.
  • Steel/Roofing Tin on Stage Front
  • Elevated Flat Screen TVs/Gaming Systems
  • Lighting
  • Updated Kitchen/Cafe Area
  • Ceiling Grid Left open over Food Area
  • Multiple Color LED Wall Wash
  • All Lighting is controlled from Sound Booth
  • It is very clean and roomy.  Good use of existing space in a building that the church owns.

Social Networking Clients Compared

With so many social networking sites out there, a person can easily become overloaded with alerts, requests etc.  Anymore, it is just not reasonable to go to each separate site, several times a day and keep up with those who found a “lonely pink cow” on their farm (You know who you are).

With that said, I still believe that online engagement is critical in the church today, especially in the youth ministry field.  Lucky for us, tools have been developed to aid in keeping up with all of the feeds, streams, statuses, tweets, posts, etc.  The only decision is; which one do I use?  Hopefully by giving you a little insite on some of the more popular “all in one” social networking applications, you can make a decision and free up some time in your day to do other things, or become even more involved with your online communities.

>We will be focusing on 4 of the more popular clients that engage in all or some of the following communities: “Facebook“, “Twitter“, “MySpace“, and “LinkedIn“.  Sure there are other networks out there, but these are more prominent today.

Seesmic Desktop

This is one of my favorite clients for managing all of my social networks.  It is “Adobe Air” based, so you have to have “Adobe Air” installed to run it.  You can download that here.  This is a good thing because “Adobe Air” applications are multi-platform capable (You can run it on Windows, Mac, or Linux).  “Seesmic Desktop” currently integrates with Facebook, and Twitter however, having just aquired “Ping.fm“, integration to over 50 social networking sites is soon to come.

If you are on a Windows platform, you might look into “Seesmic for Windows“.  It currently integrates with Twitter but is only in beta.  There is more integration to come, and it is a native windows application.  Performance is good, and the UI is fantastic.

If you’re not interested in installing an application, Seesmic offers a web app that is currently integrated with Twitter only.  It is quite nice.

Seesmic does have a mobile app available for Blackberry, and Android devices.

As quoted from their website: “Build your community in one central place with Seesmic Desktop, which integrates both Twitter and Facebook. This all-in-one tool makes it easy to reply to your friends and share text, links, photos and videos all in one screen.”

Web Site: http://www.seesmic.com

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is another great client.  It is also “Adobe Air” based.  Tweetdeck currently integrates with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.  Naturally the more integration that you have, the more bloated that the app can feel.  However, I think that they have done a great job not “overcrowding” the interface.  It runs well, and has tons of features.  If you check all of the sites mentioned above regularly, you might want to give it a shot.

Tweetdeck does have a mobile app available for iPhone.

As quoted from their website: “TweetDeck is your personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook and more.”

“TweetDeck shows you everything you want to see at once, so you can stay organised and up to date.”

Web Site: http://www.tweetdeck.com

DestroyTwitter

DestroyTwitter is an app for the Twitter “PowerUser”.  If you are a beginner in the client world for managing your social networks, I would probably look at others first.

Like the others, this app is Adobe Air based.  It supports multiple columns.  It’s integration is limited to Twitter, so if your’re looking to manage multiple social networks, this app is not for you.  However, it does what it is intended, and runs smoothly.

As quoted from their website: “DestroyTwitter is a compact though robust Twitter application built to run on Mac, Windows, and Linux using Adobe AIR. It consists of a series of canvases that constantly update to keep tweets up-to-date using notifications that appear when a new tweet arrives. DestroyTwitter uses a minimal amount of memory compared to its AIR-based alternatives without sacrificing functionality and performance. As a result, it can easily run in the background as an automated process.”

Web Site: http://www.destroytwitter.com

PeopleBrowser

PeopleBrowser is the one stop shop for the information junkie.  It supports many social networks.  It is personally too much for me.  The interface can seem a bit crowded and response time is sometimes slow.  However, it can provide a wealth of information on trending topics, and what is happing in the social world.

PeopleBrowser provides a multi column web interface that is authenticated via your Twitter, Facebook or PeopleBrowser account.  There is also an Adobe Air application that you can download after logging into the web interface.

As quoted from their website: “PeopleBrowsr is a data mine and social search engine for real time conversations. We’ve built a set of applications sitting on the data mine to monitor your brand, identify your audience, analyze tweets sentiment, filter the buzz, manage feedback, share accounts, run campaigns, track keywords, build widgets and engage across multiple social networks simultaneously.”

Web Site: http://my.peoplebrowsr.com

What do you use to manage your social networks?  Let us know!

I subscribe to many RSS feeds, and this site was one of the updates that I read about today.

There is a new “Social Site” available for Youth Ministry. It is http://youthministry.ws.

YouthMinistry.ws was created by Steve Blanchard. He is the author of the “Youth Ministry Ideas” blog.

Here is the description from the site: “YouthMinistry.ws is an online community of youth leaders. The community operates like Facebook. You can start your own blog and share thoughts, pics, videos. There is also a forum where you can start topics and ask questions and get them answered by the community and also you can create groups based on your town you live in or state that you are from.”

This is the intro video that is on the front page of their site.

[youtube]EbnP2_UA7V0[/youtube]

If you are a social junky, I would encourage your to sign up and give it a shot. It is brand new, so the more the merrier.

I don’t think there can be to many free tools/resources for Youth Ministry, do you?

DES

Amazing use of video to explain something that some of us know…but all of us should.  My question is how can we embrace the technology in a way that brings Glory to God?  Sure the social networks are great for marketing/advertising/getting the word out…but how can we use it to share Christ.  This is something that I ask myself over and over…can we as Christians create culture?  The message is amazing…better than any new ipod or flat screen…how can we get Gen Y and beyond to use social media to share their faith?  Is it just a high tech Christian T-shirt or can it be much more than that?  Isn’t this fun…?  There are many apps that allow us to read scripture and share “thoughts of the day”…but what else can we do?

[youtube]sIFYPQjYhv8[/youtube]

[youtube]wvWAk_Lnk_0[/youtube]

Great video illustration of a great illustration.  Sit back and enjoy Tim sharing wisdom.  Visit Life in Student Ministry

www.studentministry.org is Tim’s site, he is the full-time youth pastor at Alexandra Covenant Church in Alexandria, Minnesota.  He is a resource generating phenom that has developed some great stuff, including www.ministryquestions.com .  You would be wise to subscribe or just visit regularly.

[youtube]StMQ44ahTn4[/youtube]

Weekly highlight videos I put together during our L.I.F.E. Emphasis during ’09.  Always a crowd pleaser for students to see themselves on the bigscreen!  Used Adobe Premiere for editing, shot on a Sony Mini-DV video camera.

Below you will see a few more examples of how to use video in your ministry.  I repeat…everyone looks cool in slow motion.

[youtube]ndCvR55QCUg[/youtube]

The following video was literally shot in about a half-hour at a Student Leader (STUlea) pool party when we thought of a way to promote the new website for Flipside 517…and yes, I know it says it is under construction, we are reworking it right now and it will be up soon lookin’ sweet.

[youtube]nOg6Xt4_6PM[/youtube]

Room Invasion TRoberts…example of trying to get footage from a room with minimal props/material around.  Obviously these won’t be near as funny without knowing the particular student involved, but we do what we can.  I hope this gets some creative juices flowing in your ministry.

[youtube]KaHr8f2fks0[/youtube]

See the movie here-> The Doorpost Film Project

I stumbled onto this short movie while doing some research on the cast of “To Save a Life.”  The youth pastor in the movie is played by a Joshua Weigel.  Joshua is a writer/director as well as an actor, he and his wife wrote and directed this movie and it is fantastic. joshuaweigel

The movie is about hope and I got the resounding message of how God can take the broken and do great things.  Our purpose is often much greater than what we envision for our own lives.  It is an inspiring depiction of worth and love…seeing true value in the individual and finding purpose.  Some will gather or may think that “Will’s” purpose is to eventually dive into water, but it is much more than that.  See for yourself.  I can’t wait till the DVD is available to purchase and show it to my students.

Joshua posted that the DVD is in the works and will be available soon.

butterfly circusYou can watch the film below, or at The Doorpost Film Project