Youth Workers: 4 Ways Facebook Can Be Awesome!!!

Facebook is definitely not the total solution but it can be very helpful when you think of it as a tool for Student Care/relational ministry.  Think about how it makes you feel when a student posts on your wall “thanks for being there for me” or something like that.  You feel like God is using you. You feel like,  “Wow! I am really making a difference”. Well, times that by twenty and you get how a student feels when we leave something encouraging on their wall.  Here are four quick ways I use Facebook to interact with students:

  1. Encourage – Leaving a quick post of encouragement for a student or a volunteer on their Facebook wall can go a long way.  I went to a volleyball game this week and didn’t get to stay til the end and therefore I didn’t get to talk with the players that I knew. So when I got home I jumped on Facebook and posted on their wall some words of encouragement.
  2. Affirm – There was a student I knew and she had brought her sister to one of our services.  She introduced me to her after service.  An emergency came up and I had to make our greeting really quick.  So, later on that evening when I got home I friended her on Facebook.  I posted on her wall who I was and that I hated to have to be so quick with her and that it was great meeting her.  Well, later her sister told me that what I posted was such a big deal to her sister.  Her sister couldn’t believe that I would take the time out of my day to find her on Facebook and apologize. I had basically affirmed that she was worth someone’s time.  It was super easy and the benefit of her feeling affirmed out weighed the time I spent typing the post.
  3. Disciple – I get messaged all the time questions about faith, relationships and life in general.  Most of the time the questions come from students who would never have the courage to approach me face to face.  Also, I get the “hey my friend said you were someone I could talk to” message.  Facebook creates a veil for students to hide behind physically, but it also gives them the freedom to ask questions and have conversations that they normally wouldn’t have face to face. Also, I get to ask them “how’s their walk with Christ?” and their honesty always amazes me.  I definitely wasn’t that honest in high school but I also didn’t have Facebook either.
  4. Build Relationships – Facebook allows me to communicate with students outside of youth night.  I have had great conversations with students about everyday stuff that’s going on in their life and also stuff going on in their spiritual life.  I’ve been able to meet a student at youth group for the first time, become Facebook friends and by the time I see them again we’ve already had great conversations about life and God.

How have you used Facebook in ministry?

hope it helps

ac

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Youth Workers: Ministering to Students in Crisis!!!

Here’s a little training piece I wrote for our life group leaders.  Each situation can be different and call for a different response, but I believe the ones listed are super important as you support students during the time they need you the most.

  • INVOLVE PARENTS RIGHT AWAY

Be up front with students and let them know that their parents will need to be involved. Let the student know that you have the responsibility to make someone else aware of the situation. As a small group leader you can never agree to  “never tell anyone what I am about to tell you.”  Our first option is to always try and coach the student to tell their parents, but be firm in letting them know that either way their parents must know.  Offer to do it together if need be, but it must be done.

  • REFER TO A PROFESSIONAL

We are not professionals.  So if you feel for any reason that a student needs professional help, talk with their parents. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the parents you can call the Student Ministry office.  We will help you figure out a plan.

  • BE PATIENT -1 Thessalonians4:15 

There will be times when the student that is getting help will relapse.  The fact that you have spent so much time with them praying and talking can easily make you take their relapse personally and get upset.  Be patient.  Especially, if the student comes and tells you, don’t waste that opportunity to model Christ’s love to them.

  • PRAY CONTINUALLY -1Thessalonians 5:17     

Prayer should always be your first response. God has incredible plans for your students, and He wants you to be apart of it.  We must stay in communication with Him.  Connect with Him for the words to say and the steps to take, as you support students.

  • LISTEN WELL AND ASK QUESTIONS – James 1:19

Students that are going through crisis need you to do these two things more than anything else. I know it’s so tempting to give them advice because you’ve been where they are or you know the solution to the problem.  Taking the time to intently listen and ask questions says a lot.  You never know, you could be the only adult in their life who listens to them intentionally.

  • REMEMBER ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE THE HEART – Philippians 1:6

You are here because you like students and want God to do something awesome in their lives. God is going to use you.  We must remember that even though God uses us, He is the only one that can change hearts. So don’t carry the burden of this situation, thinking that you are the one that will change your students’ heart. God is faithful, He will fulfill His promise and complete the work that He has used you to begin.

  • HSM IS HERE FOR YOU

Know that you are not serving alone – You can call on us and we will help out in any way we can.

 

WHAT TO DO IF A STUDENT IS IN DANGER

1.ASSES THE DANGER

These situations are never easy to handle, and we want to help you through it. Our team can help you decide if this situation is, indeed, one in which a report to authorities must be made and discuss further action with you. Even if you aren’t sure this is “big enough” to warrant reporting to the authorities, let us know what’s going on so we can pray for you and help you lead your student back toward health.

Who to contact from your staff:

(contact info)

2.Report to the Authorities

You are a MANDATED REPORTER which means you must REPORT known or suspected instances of CHILD ABUSE to the authorities.  You do not have to check with us first.  Legal action can be taken against you if you don’t.  We are definitely here for you if you are not sure and want to talk with someone about the situation.  Also, we are not mandated to report self-harm unless it is life threatening.

3.Follow Further Instructions

The church team will instruct you on what steps, if any, need to be taken from here. Most likely, your role in the reporting of the situation will be complete at this point, it would be rare for your involvement to be required beyond the initial report. Continue to pray for the situation and that it will be resolved quickly.

hope it helps

ac

For Students: Youtube Video of the Week!!!

Here’s a new video from Jeff Bethke the I HAte religion but Love Jesus guy.  This new video is called “Counterfeit Gods”.  It is basically asking you one simple question: Who’s sitting on the throne in your life? I would encourage you to think about that question as you watch the video.

hope it helps

ac