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Thinking Theologically About Social Media and Youth Ministry

We live in a world of constantly changing new media technology that complicates the perennial problem church adults have communicating with teens. As teens’ communication preferences shift with every new app or social media platform, youth ministry leaders must perennially review their communication strategies with an eye on new digital platforms. However, that’s only one reason to review how to use contemporary communication tools and social media in youth programs. Youth group leaders, camp counselors and other adults who form bonds with youth need guidance on what constitutes appropriate ongoing interaction with youth through social media.

To help those who work with youth and those who supervise youth ministry workers think more deeply and theologically about communication technology, the New Media Project, which helps religious leaders think theologically about digital technology, invited youth workers and scholars to share their experiences in an 8-week series of posts. Core questions included: How does social media impact on youth ministry? What do youth think about the opportunities and pitfalls inherent in social media? What lessons can we learn from changing communication patterns about worship in general?

It is one obligation of those who work with youth to help them understand how to harness social media for “a greater good” by guiding them into healthy boundaries and by demonstrating that authentic relationships also need non-cyberspace time. For more, see our feature article on how churches are using social media, called “Social Media Goes Spiritual.”

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