Utilizing Skype in Student Ministries

early computer

Last year I was an interim Freshman Bible Teacher at a local high school. Our students were reading through a book, and I thought it would be awesome to finish out the project by doing a Skype Q&A with the book’s author. The classroom has a smart board in it (which is basically a 6-foot iPad on the wall). That never panned out, but my dream… wouldn’t… die. Are you inspired yet? 😉

Years ago I flew in an incredible apologist to come and speak in my High School Ministry. After paying for the flight, hotel, food and honorarium it got a bit expensive. It was worth it, but it was expensive. I wanted to bring him back right away.

And then it hit me… why not Skype him in?

No flights. No meals. No time away from his family.

We have the technology available (laptop, strong internet connection, mics). SO WHY NOT?

And it’s working out. It looks like we’ll lock him in at about 1/4th the cost! He’ll have to do some prep and do two 30-minute Skype sessions, so I want to honor his time with an honorarium… but he’ll get to speak from his house, with all his resources right there in his lap, his family down the hall, while getting piped into our youth room hundreds of miles away.

Is anyone else utilizing this kind of technology in a ministry setting? It seems like such a win-win!

Q & A with High School Students

A couple weeks ago we asked our students to write down any questions they have about Christianity, faith, spirituality, and that sort of thing. I’m going to answer a handful of them from the stage over the next few weeks, and then I’ll answer the others on video and post them on our ministry blog. Here are a handful of good ones I am looking forward to answering. (Side note: I will do my best to answer them. I don’t want to come across like I’m some answer machine when it comes to all things spiritual).

  • What will heaven be like, specifically?
  • How does predestination work?
  • What makes this religion (Christianity) different from others?
  • Where do religion and evolution meet?
  • Are the stories in the bible supposed to be taken figuratively or literally?
  • Are only Christians going to heaven?
  • What does God say about dating?
  • Can God help me get better at something?
  • Does God believe in love at first sight, or is it a myth?
  • How do I know if God is mad at me?
  • Is it OK to be mad at God?
  • Did Jesus feed 5,000 people or 4,000 people? The gospel accounts don’t say the same thing.

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!

WHICH ONE(S) OF THESE DO YOU USE IN YOUR MINISTRY?