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Arriving at the Orlando Airport for my 7 pm speaking engagement, I checked my phone for a reply to my request for details. Neither of my emails to the 20-something coordinator had resulted in a reply. On the tram from the satellite terminal to baggage claim I tried the cell number again, but there was no answer.

In my frustration I shot off a text as a last desperation attempt to see if there was still intelligent life on the planet. I had no sooner pressed “send” when a reply scrolled across my screen. That’s when it dawned upon me…I was finally speaking a language that could be understood.

Every youth leader has probably experienced the frustration of Student Ministry Communication Failure. In your meetings you add music, media, drama, and anything else it takes to help communicate your message. But how do you communicate when you are not face-to-face? How do you get your message through then?

You probably know all the statistics about the number of students who use social media, cell phones and text messaging. Which one works best for connecting with your students or, for that matter, your other youth workers? I want to suggest five things to consider for improving your communication:

  1. Use multiple types of communication. Your favorite way of communicating is not necessarily the one that will get your message heard. Students and adults all have different forms of communication they favor.
  2. Communication is a generational thing. I know I run the risk of profiling, but if you study the demographics of your group, you will discover there are distinctive tools for communication with each generation. However, this does not mean one type per generation.
  3. What works today may not work tomorrow. Keep your communication strategy fluid.
  4. Don’t fight change. Look at social media for the ministry benefits. Yes, it can be a time waster, but you can turn it into a vital communication tool.
  5. Never stop learning, growing and stretching. If you don’t know how to use a media tool, ask one of your students! Swallow your pride and get one of your Jr. High kids (ouch) to teach you.

Communication takes place when the “hearer hears” not necessarily when the “speaker speaks!” If you want to improve your student ministry communication then make sure you speak to them using a medium to which they listen.


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  1. “Use multiple types of communication.” Yes. Yes. Yes.

    For my group I generally send a mass text, and post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all at once… and still have some of my students tell me they didn’t know what was going on that day. I’m still trying to solve that problem…

    • Nate, you may find some students who miss your communication regardless of how many various types of media you use simply because they do not pay attention. I applaud you for the great efforts you are making to reach out to them. Keep doing what you are doing my friend.

  2. Hi, I attended the pastor appreciation luncheon sponsored by Salem Radio in Tampa as well as your workshop this is a follow up request for copies/links to the information you referenced in your presentation.

    • Kevin, thanks for writing. If I understand correctly, you were at the WTBN Pastor’s Luncheon Workshop and would like to have the notes I presented. If you would just kindly subscribe to my website(you can do this on the homepage – top left or on the right side) then you will automatically be sent the notes. That is the easiest way to accomplish this request. I am glad you were there and hope you enjoy reading through the notes and checking out the links once you get them. Mike

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