Attempt to listen to students tell you that what they post online doesn’t make an impact. Tell that to tumblr user Swiked. Don’t recognize that name?

How about this dress:


Yup. That’s the dress.

On Wednesday, February 25th, this tumblr user posted this photo asking a basic question:

What colors do you see?

To use a phrase often associated with this news story “the collective internet lost their minds.”

Some saw white and gold. Others saw black and blue.

Still others forgot what colors meant altogether.

On Thursday, February 26th the dress was all over the Internet. On social media it was everywhere.

Jokes were abundant.

Major corporations were picking up on it and using it to advertise.

Youth pastors everywhere praised the Lord for another illustration on perspective.

Bear with me as I go in another direction.

This silly dress was news!

On the way home from work on Friday, February 26th, NPR (yes I’m an old man and listen to NPR) was doing a segment on it.

The National Public Radio broadcast cared about this important issue!

To me that was beyond nuts.

But people make culture.

Read that again: People make culture.

The dress will be an old joke by the time you read this (remember how cool the Harlem Shake was?) and our students will have moved on. If you bring it up at the end of April, they’ll probably moan and say “that’s so old!”

But it shows us that people can decide what matters and what is our collective culture.

Leverage this truth with your students!

Using their social media platforms and their collective voices, our students that we minister to each and every week have the power to decide the culture around them.

Let’s help them to shape it based on something much more lasting and important: The Gospel of Jesus!

How can you do this?

Why not give your students pictures to post on their instagrams that do more than promote your next event.

Why not get them to help make a quick video (20 seconds or less) that tells a story of transformation that happened in your group? Could you make a longer one to share later?

Why not get your students randomly encouraging friends on Twitter (more than man and woman crushes)?

I’m still trying to figure out how to leverage this new way we influence culture for student ministry.

What are your thoughts?

(PS – It’s white and gold.)

Ronald Long is the youth minister at a church in San Antonio, TX. He’s married to Bekah and dad to Sophie and Penny. He blogs a bit at and tweets at @ronald_long. He also runs, plays video games, and eats Taco Bell. Check out his resources in the Download Youth Ministry store!