Written by Mike Sheley
It would be awesome if every youth pastor had an Administrative Assistant.
Ok, dream over.
What if I told you there are some tools out there that can take some of your workload off your plate and allow you to relax?
Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
What you do with your extra time is up to you.
I’ll give you a few suggestions.
But first, let’s get to those tools who can help you automate your ministry.
Email by MailChimp
I recently learned a lesson from our church communication team and it has made my life so much better!
I noticed that our regular church emails were being run through MailChimp.
So I checked into it. At the level I, and probably most of you, work at, you can use it for free!
MailChimp has allowed me to create great looking emails with responsive templates that are easily read on mobile devices.
I’ve also been able to see how many parents opened these emails and when they opened them, along with how often they clicked on links in the messages.
But the best part that helps take work off my hands is the scheduling feature. I recently was out of the office for four weeks.
My emails went out each week on their own. I simply created the emails and then scheduled what day and time for each to be sent.
And thanks to the subscribe/update feature, parents can update their email address on their own.
And others who have seen the email online or received a copy from a friend can automatically subscribe.
All this happens without me having to do a thing!
Email is still an essential communication tool for most ministries.
Use MailChimp, or a tool like it, to create great looking emails with helpful tools that will make you a more effective communicator!
There are a wide variety of options when it comes to social media.
For our ministry, and probably yours too, the big three are Facebook, twitter and instagram. Currently, instagram doesn’t allow you to use any kind of true automation.
So I’ll focus on the first two.
Hootsuite allows you to type up text posts or even include images and other attachments. Then, use the calendar to schedule which day and time you want the posts to go out.
Since posts are a little different than emails, you can use this tool to handle the increases volume that comes with posting to Twitter and Facebook.
You can do lots of research as to the best days and time to post.
The bottom line here is to figure out what works best for the parents in your ministry.
When do they check what you send? When do they like or share what you have posted?
For us, I have found that parents of junior highers interact most first-thing in the mornings once they have gotten kids off to school or arrived at work, along with during lunch time and then in the evenings as the day is winding down.
So, for us, those are the top three times I schedule posts. What works best for you?
What do you with the extra time?
Let me share a few suggestions of what you can do with the extra time you can have if you use these tools as virtual assistants.
- listen to someone in person
- reconnect with an old non-ministry friend
- evaluate your activity
In the month of October, using tools like these and taking some time to evaluate my activity showed me that most of my interactions are with people connected in some way to youth ministry. We need friends like that, but we also need friends with no connections to youth ministry to remind us there is more to life and the world than our work.
So, check these out or tools like them.
Allow them to help you to be more organized and more relaxed.
Then, grab lunch with an old non-ministry friend and take it easy knowing the work you’ve done up front allows you to live at a healthy pace throughout the week.
Mike is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he oversees their ministries for 5th-8th graders. He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 15 years with most of that time focused on preteens and junior highers.
Photo by Chris Blakeley and used under a Creative Commons License from https://flic.kr/p/7BtVA