Though there are many moving parts to a student ministry, the goal is pretty simple – walk with students and their families as they grow and become faithful followers of Jesus.
The programming, events, meetings and gatherings should all work toward this goal.
And your communication is key to supporting and making them effective.
In today’s world there doesn’t seem to be such thing as over-communication! Say it, repeat it, and say it again! Here are seven thoughts about communication and student ministry:
Be careful communicating
Make sure you have your details in place and accurate. Proofread your information. In this digital world, the first thing you put out there usually stays out there.
Use different ways of communicating
I remember the days of creating a student ministry newsletter once a month – mailed to each household, stuck to the fridge and done! Unfortunately, these days, effective communication requires multiple avenues, often changing from season to season. I believe it will always be worth the effort to send a physical mailing to the parents and the home. And it doesn’t hurt to send home the same info through the student. Additionally, social media channels can be effective in providing quick info and hype for a ministry, trip or event. A texting subscription service may be one of the best ways to accomplish communication with your students and families.
Be consistent in communicating
Consistency is a big part of communication. If at all possible, send your text, email or newsletter out about the same regular time. If you begin a student ministry social media site, don’t let it lay dormant. Use auto-schedule features to keep the ball rolling of announcements, events, questions, scripture and other information.
There may be others around you who can help you communicate with your families and students. Some ideas may include someone who can update your website, someone who can create announcement graphics or someone who can head up a physical mailing through the post office. One way to accomplish this is through an online calendar that each of your communication team has access to. You can list the main things coming up so everyone is heading in the same direction.
Communication with your pastor and leadership teams
Don’t overwhelm your pastor, but keep him informed of your ministry, goals and great stories. Share these stories through church publications and other sources. Keep the pastor and staff in the loop – it’s the job of the whole church to help disciple students, not just one lone youth worker.
Communication with the home and family
Do all you can to keep your students’ families in the loop. At our church, at least twice a year, sometimes three, all the parents are invited to come to the student ministry event/dinner/ kick-off to hear all that is planned for the next semester. This is one step toward connecting and communicating. Currently, it seems parents are on Facebook while students are on Snapchat and Instagram – so we try and tailor what information goes where.
Have fun communicating
How can you make it fun? Be creative in your communication. Video announcement, add a joke, make it simple, and have fun. Unfortunately, your people are inundated with info and messages – it’s the world we live in. Learn a simple picture editing program (I often use the free Picmonkey.com) so you can create some simple fun one point communication pieces and invitations.