This is part three of a series based on New being potentially better than Normal. You can find the other parts here and here. 

Look. 2020 was a wreck. We were forced to do some things that weren’t normal. But the new might be better. And that is especially true in the digital landscape as well. 

I’m not sure what digital stuff you tried or did during any lockdown you had to face. Maybe you shifted to phone calls. Maybe you prioritized handwritten notes. Maybe you stuck with Instagram. Maybe you went for the full boat and started streaming.  

Regardless, the notion that digital is impossible or unattainable went out the window when we were left with fewer ways to connect. The idea that we CAN’T do digital because it just seems like a hassle became less of an excuse when it was the best way to inspire students. 

All I’m saying is, we found that we could do SOMETHING on a digital platform and it could work and it can be powerful if you just do one thing digital. Here are two reasons and one simple list of solutions to doing something digital: 

  1. They are already there. Even in the most rural areas, students are engaged in some way on a digital platform. Maybe it isn’t TikTok, Snapchat, or Facebook. But it’s probably Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. And at the very least it’s texting and messaging.

It’s how they listen to music, it’s how they discover what’s going on, and it’s how they form their way of thinking. Why would you not want to at least inject SOMETHING into the space that they occupy? 

The statistics are overwhelming and reveals a very real opportunity to be where they already are. 

  1. Digital connection is a self-selected relationship. The people they follow, the accounts they turn notifications on for, the groups they align with are self-selected. Sure, there’s the random promoted posts that show up for everyone, but by and large, they have chosen to engage the accounts they are connected to.

If you are putting something out that inspires them, encourages them, or reminds them of the hope they have in Christ, it is one more way to inject light into darkness… and they choose to connect with it.  

  1. Doing something isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. Nobody has enough time to do everything they want right now. I come to this realization almost every week. But we can get something out there and it only takes a few minutes and you don’t even have to be super focused on it.

Depending on what platform you are using, scheduling apps and systems allow you to load up an automatic calendar and have it auto-post for you. And some of these are built right into the platforms themselves. 

So how do you do this? I’m so glad you asked. Here are a few simple solutions. 

  1. Buy a Social Media Pack or Texting Pack from DYM. I’m honestly not trying to sell you on anything. I use this stuff and it makes things so much easier. One of the most time-consuming parts of digital is producing high-quality stuff. DYM makes it easy for you.

I’m loading this Social Media Plan for January into my Instagram and Facebook feeds. They will automatically post and insert something into a platform that my students are on daily. You can even load devotionals into them like this one on the book of Ephesians. 

This year, we have a couple students selecting scriptures that we are texting out daily at 7am via Remind. The students receiving these signed up for the text messages and get a scripture reminder each day. We have also used this texting list and all we did was buy it, load it up, and then go play golf! 

There are seriously so many of these resources available on DYM and you should see if one fits your needs here. 

  1. Take an Hour and schedule a month of posts/texts. These days, if you have a business profile set up on IG or Facebook, you can use their “Business Suite” platform to schedule across both platforms. We use REMIND for texting students and they allow you to schedule as well. 

I run the social media for our church as a whole as well so I carve out an hour on Thursdays to load the next couple of week’s worth of posts. However, sometimes I have been known to be watching football and scheduling posts.  

You can also find a volunteer to help you. These don’t have to be super complicated or intricate. Often the simplest things are the most powerful.  

  1. Just be yourself. There is a stigma around social media and digital to be the absolute best of everyone ever that has ever produced something online and if you can’t be that, you might as well not try. The truth couldn’t be further from that. 

If you are a high production church group, then you probably should have elements of your digital platform that takes that experience online. But if you are one person staff and the kids love hanging out with you just because you love to wear flip flops and drive bright green mustangs from 1995, then let your digital presence be the same! 

I used to do this thing on my IG story where I would say “UPDATE!” at the beginning of each story. It was nothing more than me being me and trying to make insignificant things seem more significant. It caught on and people started messaging me wanting more “UPDATES!” 

You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. But doing something puts you into their world.  

So, I’m curious. What have you done digitally that you weren’t doing before? 

Geoff Cocanower is a husband, a son, and the Associate Pastor of Student Ministries at Hope Missionary Church in Bluffton, IN where he leads the team of adults who minister to high school students as well as young adults. In addition to contributing to the DYM blog, Geoff co-hosts a podcast focused on the issues, questions, and blessings of leaders who aren’t in the driver seat of the organization called The Backseat Leadership Podcast. An interesting fact about Geoff is that he is a high school football and volleyball referee in his spare time and is a legacy member and loves all things DYM. You can find Geoff online here!