If there’s one social network you should be on when it comes to youth ministry, it’s Pinterest. Except this network isn’t as much about connecting with students, as it is about finding hundreds of brilliant ideas and resources you can use in your youth ministry.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a relative newcomer in social media land, but it’s one of the fastest growing networks. If you’re unfamiliar with Pinterest, let me give you a quick intro. Pinterest is like a digital pin board where you can ‘pin’ stuff from websites you like, want to remember and want to share. That means that everything that’s pinned on Pinterest is ‘posted’ on some website, you can’t ‘upload’ stuff onto Pinterest directly. You can pin it, thus creating a visual link to that site.
Mind the ‘visual’ part here, this is a big difference between Pinterest and other social media. Pictures are everything here. It’s also what I love about Pinterest, since I’m a fairly visual person.
Pinterest works with ‘boards’, often topics or areas of interest. I have 14 boards for example, ranging from youth ministry stuff, to book wishlist, vegetable garden, low carb recipes and writing. It shows all my interests and I don’t have to limit it to just youth ministry.
You can follow people, meaning all their boards, but you can also follow specific boards. That’s where Pinterest is so brilliant. You see, when I follow people on Twitter or Facebook or Google+, I also get a lot of stuff on my timeline or whatever it’s called that I’m not interested in. With Pinterest, I can decide which boards are interesting and which aren’t. That makes Pinterest relatively focused.
Pinterest works with ‘likes’, but also with repinning, meaning you re-pin someone else’s pin. It’s the Pinterest version of sharing or retweeting so to say. The social aspect is relatively low, usually few people comment and you don’t really get to connect with people. In my opinion, that’s fine. I can live with a more topic-oriented social network.
Pinterest and youth ministry
The reason Pinterest is the perfect social network for youth ministry, has to do with all of the above:
- It has hundreds of ideas from various youth ministry websites, especially ideas for games and activities, but also for prayer stations, Bible studies, creative methods, etc. If you are looking for fresh ideas for your youth ministry, this is the place to go.
- I find Pinterest to be the least time-sucking social network so far. Of course you can get drawn in, reading thousands of pins, but it’s less distracting to me than for interest Facebook or Twitter.
- It’s funny and beautiful because it’s so visual. I have a board I titled ‘Funny’ and if you want to have a laugh, go check it out. Jon Acuff also has a board like that called ‘Laughter that is awesome’. Check it out of you need a bit of entertainment. But it can also be beautiful. Pinterest inspires people to make wonderful quotes, pictures, and more. Have a look at my board ‘Inspirational Stuff’ and you’ll see what I mean.
- I like that it’s more focused. On my Pinterest ‘timeline’ (I’m not even sure what it’s called officially) there’s usually only stuff that I’m interested in, because I only see pins from boards I follow. It also means I come across very little questionable content since I simply don’t subscribe to these kinds of boards.
- It’s organized. Because you work with boards, you can not only easily find the type of content you’re looking for (try that on Twitter for example, it’s impossible) but also digitally archive it. If I’m looking for ideas for my vegetable garden for instance, I simply check my Pinterest board to see what I’ve pinned there so far.
Of course, if you have a blog or website yourself, you really should be on Pinterest. It’s known to bring in tons of traffic if you do it right (and have content that’s worth checking out of course).
Anyway, I hope I’ve convinced you how perfect Pinterest is if you’re in youth ministry. Next time I’ll explain how to set up a profile, create boards, etc. to get you started.
In the meantime: if you’re on Pinterest, let me know in the comments so I can check out your boards!