Communicating With Teens

I have been looking at how I communicate information to our teens lately. Sometimes it seems as if no matter what I do, someone inevitably pipes up that they either didn’t hear it, or (sometimes more accurately) I didn’t offer the information to them. So I decided to sit down and list out the communication avenues that I take advantage of to ensure that our teens are hearing everything they need to know about programming, events, teaching, and growth opportunities that have been created just for them. Here is what I have been using lately:

Text Messaging
I use texting two different ways. There are a handful of teens that I communicate directly with text messages (my Journey group, several others who respond to me when I chat with them) on a regular basis, really more to keep up conversation and not so much for informational purposes. The second method I employ is a free service called Broadtexter. Broadtexter was designed for bands, and allows me to create messages online or from my phone at any time. It also allows me to set a message to be sent at a later time. I usually take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to program in reminders for the week. Teens can subscribe to the Broadtexter list on their own using an embedded widget on our website and our MySpace page. (And check out our Broadtexter page here).

Social Networking
I have recently migrated our Facebook group to a Facebook page, and use this once or twice a week to send out reminders and updates to our teens on Facebook. I also post our group’s prayer requests as a note for everyone in the group to read and remember. Our MySpace page has recently been overhauled to be more helpful to our teens. I send bulletins out once a week with Prayer Requests, and occasionally to remind students of events and programs that are coming up.

Video Announcements
I have actually suspended this method in the past couple weeks. For a time, it was a good method of keeping the announcements interesting, but after a while teens were focusing more on the fun stuff (YouTube Video of the week) than the information, and forgetting important dates, times, etc. It also became very difficult to get teens to star each week. You can check out all of the videos here.

Bulletin Boards
We have two bulletin boards (on in the Youth Room, one in the church Narthex) on which I hang multiple calendars (4 in the Narthex, 2 in the Youth Room), and this very week have been reworking how we utilize the one in the Youth Room. That particular bulletin board is actually connected to the next item…

Info Table
Resting underneath the bulletin board, the Info Table has items such as Medical Release Forms, brochures for upcoming events, take-home calendars, Fahim’s (our sponsor child) money collection box and more.

Slide Show, Bulletin & Newsletter
Each week there are slides in our Sunday Morning service slide show that runs before and after the service. I also put info in the bulletin about new or different programming. And each month our church’s newsletter has a page written from me to students and parents, as well as a monthly calendar with all that month’s activities listed.

Those are what we use, in addition to spoken word announcements on Sunday mornings and Wednesday Nights. How do you communicate important info to your teens?