Graham Browne from Mobileyouth.org published this presentation of 50 Youth Marketing Trends for 2009. It is focused on people marketing to young people, but it is relevant for local church youth workers as well.
A few of my favorite thoughts:
- Let’s get it in our heads that youth don’t wake up thinking about our brands. Let’s get it into our heads that they don’t wake up thinking about our youth ministries, programs, or latest sermon.
- What am I if I’m not here to serve my customers? Shouldn’t we be serving the students in our ministries, too?
- Drivers: Can you help me be significant? Can you help me belong? These are the two timeless and culturally independent requests youth have of your brand. These two things are fundamental and thought about constantly by our students.
- Your young customers don’t care that you know unless they know that you care. This is an oldie but a goody. How much do we actually care?
What other trends mentioned in the presentation do you think are relevant to youth ministry?
Some of my best memories as a youth pastor in Dunedin, Florida, were going to a monthly youth worker meeting. I would sit in the youth room at Clearwater Community Church and talk shop with a bunch of like minded people. Every month it would be a little different, but I remember looking forward to this meeting, unlike many other meetings I had to go to in those days.
Leadership can be lonely. Often times, you go about your business, and it seems like nobody even notices what you do (unless it’s bad) or even the struggles that you have in your own personal life. Most of the time, ministry is difficult. But because we recognize the need that leaders have to connect with each other, we held the first ever youth leaders’ network meeting in northwest Mexico City.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel great after hanging out with people who share the same vision I do (like we did when we went to Ecuador). Networking is more than just seeing what you can get from other people or even how you can work together to extend your reach.
It’s about a shared vision and a shared passion. It’s about shared dreams. It is about identifying with other people so that you can understand that you’re not alone in ministry (and so they understand this, too). This type of connection is vital.
Yes, leadership is lonely, but we are doing what we can to encourage those youth workers in our area and let them know that what they do is important.
What can you do to help connect other like-minded people? You need it as much as they do.
I was doing some research for my talk today at Grace Christian School (the school I graduated high school from), and I came across a report that I had seen on Ypulse and had been meaning to read for a long time.
The Horatio Alger Report called, “The State of the Nations Youth” gives some information based on a phone survey of 1,006 students ages 13-19, and it touches on various topics that would be interesting to any youth worker in the US.
Some things I found interesting:
- As recently as 2003, 75% of teenagers said they felt hopeful and optimistic about the future of the country. This year, however, barely half (53%) of students feel hopeful and optimistic about the future of the country a 22-point decline in five years.
- 53% of those surveyed would describe themselves as religious.
- Only 46% report that their parents have rules about how they can use the internet.
- 64% of teenagers say that they spend some time each week practicing a sport for an average of 10.3 hours per week.
- Almost four out of five students (79%) say that getting good grades creates a problem for them. Fourty-five percent say that it creates major problems for them.
- 88% use the word “confident” to describe themselves.
You can download the PDF of the full report here.
With the addition of flickr video, there’s a new idea floating around called “long portraits. I posted about it on my twitter account yesterday, and since then I’ve been thinking about it and what we could do with it in youth ministry.
A long portrait is basically a video snapshot that lasts less than a minute (or around 30 seconds) where you capture a single moment of a person in that time and place. It’s like a photo that can talk, where the person answers a simple question (click here for some great sample questions.) Photojojo has a great post on what it is and how to do it.
Here are some suggestions I have for using long portraits in youth ministry:
- High School Seniors – Could talk about their last year in the youth ministry and what they learned, etc.
- Small groups/classes – Could use long portraits to capture a key idea from the series (or year, or however long the small groups meet). Students could also talk about the one thing they remembered the most about the group.
- Commitments or memories from camps/mission trips – Record students talking about their commitments. Have them send themselves a message to be watched again in 1 year or more. Have them tell stories about the impact the camp or trip had on their life.
- Recruitment of volunteers – Use this idea to record students talking about how their small group leader or other volunteer in your ministry has had an impact on their life. Then show it to appreciate volunteers or recruit new volunteers.