WHY Should We Use Social Media In Young Life

January 25, 2012

1. It’s a Contact Work Strategy, Not A Social Media Strategy

In YL, we’ve based our ministry model on the incarnation, going to where kids are. Kids…and parents are on social networks.

Facebook (800 Million users) tops Google for weekly traffic in the US. You read that correctly.

1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media. Wonder where your Young Life friends will meet their future spouse? There’s a good chance it will be through a social network.

92% of parents are Facebook friends with their children. (via Mashable, Jan 13, 2012.)

2. Social Media Changes The Way People Make Decisions

Think about the last movie you saw, the last books you read, the last show you watched, the last restaurant you visited. My guess is your decision was probably shaped by something you read on a social network.

We don’t trust commercials. We don’t trust billboards. We trust the opinions of our friends. Social media is where people share what they are passionate about. We used to hope things spread by word of mouth, but now things spread by word of tweet, in 140 characters, very quickly.

Do you think kids who are not a part of YL read their friend’s retweets after club?
Do you think they look at the picture albums on facebook?
Do you think those tweets and pictures influence their desire to ‘check out YL?’

3. As A Mission, We’re Behind The Eight Ball

The social media revolution isn’t coming…it’s here. We’re not trying to invent a new way of doing ministry, we’re trying to catch up. It’s not a fad, it’s a cultural revolution of an even greater magnitude than the printing press.

Martin Luther grasped the idea 500 years before facebook existed. Even he used ‘social media’ to bring about the Reformation.

We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media. The question is how well we do it. – Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics

Reasons Why We Don’t Use Social Media In Young Life?

…I’m scared to take the social media plunge, I have reservations.

It shouldn’t be scary, it’s something you as Young Life leaders are already good at, relationships. It’s something you already know how to do, communicate

…I’m too old to learn this.

You’re not too old. If we want our high school friends to be teachable, we must model a willingness to learn, to take risks, to admit weakness.

…I’m already too busy.

If you’re too busy for relationships, you need to restructure your life and job. God created us for relationships. Social media is just another way to engage kids relationally where they are. We don’t have a choice as to whether we do social media or not. If we want to be in youth ministry, we must engage. Not doing so would be would be like eating soup with our fingers when a spoon is on the table.

…I want to offer kids another way to look at the world and not just give in to the culture.

Let’s be a mission that isn’t anti-culture, but one that redeems culture.

…I can’t afford a smart phone, I’m a poor YL leader for crying out loud.

They used to say, “I can’t afford a radio.”
38 years after its invention over 50 million were purchased.

They used to say, “I can’t afford a TV.”
13 years after its invention over 50 million were purchased.

They used to say, “I can’t afford an iPod.”
3 years after it’s invention, over 50 million were purchased.

If you don’t have one yet, you’ll have one soon.


How has social media been a ministry tool for you? Please comment below.

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