Wow! Summer is crazy with so many events and activities going on. We are catching students as they get back from vacation and hosting awesome back to school events. We are still recovering from Camp, CIY MIX and Missions Trips. We have tried to have the most productive summer that we could with the students that were not on vacation out of town, but now it is time for back to school.
School is starting, and where does that leave us in junior high/middle school ministry. Our time is limited with school in session, but this can be one of the most effective ministry times for our students. We start new programs as our students go back to school. At our church we start our Wednesday night service back up in a few weeks. This is a great tool to keep students connected during the week.
It is easy for them to get distracted with the ways of the world when they head back to school, but they can also be an incredible influence on their friends if they just try.
Students head back to school and they want to reconnect with friends. They have friends they haven’t hung out with for a few months, and they want to do things after school and on weekends. Sometimes this will keep them away from church or youth group at times, so how do we stay connected with them as they head back to school?
Social Media is an incredible tool for us to use to stay connected as the business of school settles in. We can use social media to give easy reminders to our students, and even better to their parents. Recently I have been checking to see what kind of responses I can get from students and parents through social media, and I find that parents (some of whom I never talk to or see) are very connected with what I put on social media. I believe we must take advantage of it.
Whether we are checking on a student we haven’t seen in a while or we are sending out a reminder we need to stay connected. Social media can devour a lot of
our time if we aren’t careful, but if we are deliberate with it we can truly impact our students and their families through social media. Be a voice to your students that that don’t just hear or see once a week.
It is like a lot of things in life. We can either embrace this technology and further the Kingdom, or we can avoid it. I choose to further the Kingdom.
What about you? Do you have any great ideas to share about staying connected with students going back to school. We would love to hear about it. Share in the comments below.
This week I would like to encourage you to give creativity a try. I believe you will find this to be highly effective way to minister to junior high students. Here is a bit of creativity we used with our junior high students.
This was a preview we posted to facebook for a video we are using on Sunday!
How do you stay connected in Junior High Ministry?
The Life of a Junior High youth worker can be extremely frustrating when it comes to staying connected. We have to connect to students, parents, our volunteers, our church, and other youth ministers. It can be overwhelming to try to juggle it all.
I can tell you right now that I am organizing a camp for next weekend. I just helped kick off a small group campaign for our church. I got to preach to the adults on Sunday. I have a CIY event in a couple of weeks. I am working on a marriage retreat and decision weekend for our church, and we are revamping our bulletin, newsletter and website. Let me tell you communication and connection are definitely a top priority for me right now.
You’ve been there before. You work all day answering emails, texts, Facebook messages, and calls just to get home and keep on doing the same thing. It is difficult to stay connected to everyone you need to communicate with.
I would challenge you to prioritize your communication. Maybe you need to schedule communication. Scheduling this time makes it a priority and also gives you time to accomplish what is most important. Here are some areas you might want to schedule:
- Facebook/Twitter Time (limit your time)
- Emails (schedule time 1 or 2 times a day to read and follow-up)
- Phone Calls (as necessary, choose an appropriate time of day)
- In office Communication (schedule time to chat with co-workers about ministry)
- Blogs (plan time to investigate new strategies and best practices)
- Prayer (yes….schedule some specific prayer time with God)
These things may seem basic to you, but if you don’t schedule time for connection and communication then it can be extremely overwhelming. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to keep up, instead be proactive and plan ahead!
What do you think? How do you plan and schedule your connection and communication? I would love to hear your comments!