Communication Avenues

We use all sorts of communication avenues in my high school ministry.

Text Messaging is our primary means of communicating with students. We text students at least once a week with reminders about events we’ve announced. We use a company called “Boom Text“.

Facebook is our second most used avenue. We have a “fan page”, which isn’t ideal. It doesn’t allow us to send messages to our students and parents that are fans, just “updates”, which they don’t see unless they click their Inbox and look at the updates. I am friends with all of our students on my personal account, and I have them in groups of 20 so that I can send them messages. So I set them up like “Mission Students 1”, “Mission Students 2”, etc… Then I just copy/paste the same message into group messages. I’d like to just set up a page for the ministry that behaves like a normal profile, but Facebook doesn’t allow it. We utilize a few tabs on the page too (Events, Videos, etc…). We also tag every student in our photos, which draws them to the page.

We use fliers for everything. How many of them actually make it home? Who knows… but I can’t give up on this one yet. We could probably go paperless, but I’m old fashioned I guess.

We create a quarterly calendar, on paper, which is also saved as a picture and pdf and posted everywhere.

We have a Twitter account, but only a handful of our students are on their, so we primarily use it to update our Faceboook. It also posts to our website.

Email is last and least. I use it as my primary means of communication with my volunteers, but I usually copy every email with a Facebook message to them too.

We also have an “Announcements” time during each gathering on Sundays- they sure do seem like they’re listening, but who knows!


blink blinkity blink

Hi, my name is Ryan, and I love me some Rob Bell.

Just this week I had someone say to me, “Well, I know you’re a fan of Rob Bell, so… I wasn’t sure where you stood on the issue.” What??

I can’t imagine how much it must suck to have so many people misunderstand you on a daily basis. I’ve heard people say the most ridiculous things about what Rob believes — stuff that he has repeatedly clarified over and over and over again (virgin birth, heaven and hell, are they prescription or just for looks, etc…). But anywho…

Rob was our guest speaker last night in my high school ministry. We watched his recent Nooma filmShe“, and then had a pretty sweet open forum discussion. We had the students break off into groups a few times to discuss a question we gave them, then come back and share their answers with the group. Our students are really sharp! They had some great insights.

After the video last night we had a little contest with our students. We had all of them write down how many times they thought Rob Bell blinked during the film. We can only see Rob for about half the time, so… how many times do you think he blinked while on camera?

508 times.

I wonder if he knows that he’s got that going on.

I watched myself teach one time on video with the audio muted. I was saying all sorts of things with my hands, eyes, and posture that I’m not sure I intended.

What do you do? Do you have any quirks that people have called you on? Do you love Rob Bell too? haha!

This post is dedicated to all of my English/Writing teachers and professors who told me that I needed to stay on topic. I’ll always remember your… oh look a butterfly!!!

rob bell



It took a few months of convincing, but Lindsay finally approved an iPhone purchase today! She’s the financially responsible one (see my student loan balance for proof).

Stoked to have everything I need in one device.

I’ve actually never really messed with one, so I’m learning about this thing as I go.

So I have no idea what apps to add.

So far I’ve got Twitterfon, Facebook, MySpace, Twitterific, Pandora, Zippo, Midomi, and Google.

What else do I need? Let me know what you’re using out there!

active listeners

bobbleheadI graduated with a Religious Studies/Communications degree at ASU, so I’ve taken quite a few classes about the art of communication.

I learned a lot about “active listening“, which is basically about paying attention to what is being said and being able to repeat it back to the person speaking. It’s about keeping eye contact, nodding your head in agreement, etc…

…and it drives me nuts sometimes.

I was recently in a room where one guy went completely overboard with his “active listening”. It was so stinking distracting…

He would do this humming thing, and not like a quiet personal hum, but a loud, “Hey everyone else, I just want you to know that I agree, and by the way I have experienced this, and I’m actually the only person this guy is talking to” kind of way. It would happen at least once, maybe twice, per sentence. And it was always partnered with a head nod. He was a humming bobblehead.

I just sat in the back of the room and watc hed him like a TV show.

Don’t judge me.

I try to avoid prolonged conversations with people like this. I’m just being honest. People that are super-listeners usually make me uncomfortable. They usually stand REALLY close to you when you’re talking, and I always have a suspicion that they aren’t ACTUALLY listening to me. They’re too busy humming and nodding.

I want to be listened to, and I want to be a good listener, but there are boundaries people!

Are ya with me? Is this a pet peeve of yours, or um… are YOU that guy?

Simply Text

I signed my high school ministry up for the text-messaging program with Simply Youth Ministry. Most of our kids are on MySpace still, almost as many are on Facebook, but 99% of them are text-messaging maniacs!

For $40 a month we can send up to 3 messages a day to our group members, and they allow you to have 1,500 members in a group. So basically we have WAY more than we’ll ever need.

We tried to get our students fired up about Twitter, but… it just didn’t happen.

Youth pastors: how do YOU communicate with your students? Newsletters, emails, blogs, text?