Implementing media in your youth ministry

Chances
are, you’ve seen some of the filth on tv and in the music industry and
wanted to offer some alternatives to your youth. It is difficult to get
someone to turn from something if they don’t have anything to turn to


There
are doubtless countless ways to implement Christian media into your
ministry and I’d love to post below any suggestions you’d like to send
me. But for now, I’d like to offer up the model that my church is
working with and perhaps all or part may be useful to your needs.


Interlinc


Interlinc
is a quarterly subscription service that sends you a HUGE box of the
latest Christian music along with accompanying Bible studies that use
activities and music while remaining scripturally responsible.  Each
box also contains at least one DVD which could be about evangelism, a
documentary on finding God in a tragedy, just about anything. You get
large posters of Christian music groups to plaster all over the youth
room, information about upcoming concerts and conferences, and other
little goodies (if you ask nice they’ll give you a free t-shirt when
you signup but you have to ask.)


Cost
is about  $320 a year for the regular box and you have the option of
mainstream music or edgier stuff like Christian rap and hard rock. To
get both, you can sign up for the “Works” package for about $500 a
year. If you want just the Bible studies and about 10 songs you can get
a “Basic” plan for $34.95 a year and just download extra songs from
iTunes as you need them. I use the “Hot” box because my youth love
Christian rap and the hard rock has actually seen some sucess too.
Plus, we use up those CDs as incentives. For an example of one game I
did on navigating lifes’ obstacles, click
here and no I don’t get paid for the endorsement šŸ™‚


Point System


In order to encourage students to establish habits that will stick with them, we offer points for certain things.


Fill out the Christ journal each week:  375 points


Brought a friend who is not from another church: 400 points


Assisted on a service project through our church: 500 points


Memorized the scripture for the upcoming Sunday school lesson: 250 points


First one at the youth meeting: 50 points


The
Christ journal is the Student Life Sunday School journal that
corresponds to that weeks lesson. I am also implementing a “Who Want’s
to be a Millionare ” game where they can earn points by answering
questions about the devotions that week. I will be doing that randomly.
To get the powerpoint files that you can alter the questions in, click
below (this file originally hosted at egadideas.com)

EGADMillion.zip


With those points, they have the chance to win things from the Interlinc box.


DVD: 4,000 points


CD: 2,000 points


Poster: 1,000 points


Miscellaneous Items: usually 500 points


Rent from library for one week: 100 points


After
a CD has been sitting around for a while I start to decrease the points
necessary to earn it. You can try to decrease the “price” of each CD by
100 points for every CD that is acquired or drop them however you need
to based on group interests, age of the CD, ect.  Inevitably you’ll
likely see some CDs fly off the shelf while others sit there
indefinately. That’s normal (unless this happens for all of them and
maybe you need to switch from Mild to Hot or vice versa in your music
selection.) One thing I am starting to do is use swapacd.com to
purchasse some used Christian music for $3 and change with no shipping.
Yes it’s legal because you are buying someones’ old music CD and they
get credits to earn someone elses used CDs. You can even try and trade
some of your outdated music for new music. I’ve tried to trade in some
old discs from the 80’s for some things from last year but no takers
yet.  You can buy 3 “credits” on their site for about $10 good for 3
CDs. They operate a sister site too for used books if you want to trade
in that used curiculum for something more current!


If
you live in the right areas you may be able to get a box of goodies
each quarter for free. No it’s not as good as Interlinc but as someone
who works with youth I’m sure you agree that when it’s free it’s worth
a look. Go to youthpastorperks.com and look for a participating store
in your area. The closest one in our Association is in Wilmington. If
you happen to be in their community, you can get a free box of CDs,
demo CDs, posters, ect., on a first come first serve basis.


With
the DVDs I bring in some outside resources. What you get with the
interlinc box is more for teaching a Bible study and that’s great to
have on hand when you need it. But I also buy used DVDs of Christian
movies on Amazon for around $10 a piece shipped. If you’re a Netflix
subscriber you can sometimes grab a good deal from their site too. We
have a movie night for the whole church, entertaining and outreach,
once a month. Parents bring baked goods to sell which we sell with soft
drinks and any other fundraising we can slip in like photo calendars
and car magnets. At the end of the night, we give away the movie to
whatever youth wants it and has the points saved up to earn it. Now
you’ve involved the whole family because they’ve watched it together
and probably will again if you do this. Some movies we’ve tried you may
want to look into are: The Ultimate Gift, Evan Almighty, The Second
Chance, The Nativity Story, End of the Spear, and Facing the Giants.


There
is of course the music DVD that comes with the interlinc box. This is
great to play when youth are entering Bible study, especially if you
project it onto a wall as large as you can. A really cool option to do
is to rip the contents of the DVD onto your computer, put your
announcements into little VH1 style bubbles or boxes, and overlay that
on top of the music videos. Of course this requires time and the right
equipment. That is a much easier trick if you have a program like
MediaShout. If you haven’t forked over the massive amount of cash for
that program, but you use a mac, just use iMovie and go get some cofee
while it processes the video.


Moving
on to other media, nothing shouts youth culture lke a web site! You can
get one from Lifeway but you WILL be overcharged for a plain web site.
The cheaper and more effective way is to register at godaddy.com for a
domain name (this would be
www.yournamehere.org)
and a web hosting account (think of this as real estate where you will
set up shop.) Once you’ve got all that done, buy a program like Adobe
Contribute and follow the onscreen directions to 1) Create a new
connection 2) Enter the settings given to you by godaddy.com which are
ftp address, ftp password, and username. Contribute will let you choose
a template so all you have to do is replace their text and pictures
with your own and hit publish! (If anyone would like more details on
setting up a web site I’lbe happy to post another more detailed article
with screenshots.)


Third Party Add Ons


A friend of mine just tipped me off to Tuggle
which is a ministry specific alternative to MySpace that keeps you in
touch with your youth and even lets them sign up for events. You can
limit your network to only those you invite in as well. Another service
worth mentioning is
Event Wax
that lets you schedule events, take signups and payment, all online.
Finally, if you have any videos of your youth consider putting them on
YouTube under your youth groups name so long as you have first aquired
legal permission from the parents and youth (for an example form click
below and scroll to the bottom of the document.)

AnnualPermissionFormCluster.doc


If
you only want to do pictures, check out Flickr which lets you post a
lot of pictures for free and an unlimitted amount for only $25 a year.
For photo slideshows, see Animoto.com which gives you online previews
for free and downloaded files for a few bucks.

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