Five New Ways To Use Technology (Part One)
Guest post by Paula Steinbacher from First Presbyterian Church in Arkansas City, Kansas
Editors note: This article appears in the new edition of Youth Leaders Only from interlinc. Click here to preview the box and check out the new youth-ministry-budget-friendly “YLO Select” membership.
Sure, you know about group texting and Facebook for scheduling and keeping on top of your students’ lives, but here are some new ways to utilize technology to build community, challenge your students, and stay in touch.
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Instead of insisting students put their phones away, find creative ways to utilize their favorite tool during meetings and events.
- Treasure Hunts: Students start in a designated place, divided into teams. Each team must have the ability to send and receive pictures on phones via group-text. Send the first clue as either a picture of the place or a text description they are to go for the next clue. When the team finds the place, they send backa picture or text back a key word hidden there. You then text the next clue to that specific team. (iPhones have a built-in group text app; for Android or other smart phones, sites like groupme.com or pay services such as txtsignal.com work great.)
- Bible Verse Text Challenge: Students work in pairs or on their own. Every student needs the ability to send and receive texts on their phone. Using group-text, send out a Bible reference. Students look up the verse in their Bibles (or in the Bible app on their phones) and text the verse back to you. First person to respond receives a prize. Do this activity together at meetings, or for an additional challenge, it can be done during the week with the winners announced at the next meeting.
- Text Me Questions: Give students the freedom to text you their questions or comments during lessons or prior to meetings. This will provide them a level of anonymity for sensitive questions they may not feel comfortable asking aloud.
- Facebook Lesson Plans: Post a question about an upcoming lesson on Facebook and invite students to answer. Feed off of their responses as you plan the lesson. For example, if you are planning on teaching about “stumbling blocks” you could post a question such as, “What is your greatest stumbling block?” or “What keeps unbelievers from ‘liking’ Christianity?”
- Auto-Tune Scripture:“Smule”, “Songify,” and “Talkapella” are all free apps that allow users to record speech, which is then turned into a rap song or folksy tune, depending on the app. Use this to record your group members saying a verse and let the fun begin.
We’ll post another five ideas from Paula for using technology in youth ministry next week (posted here on 12/26/12). In the meantime, share in the comments any new or fun ways you’re using technology in your ministry.