Youth ministry tools that will be relics in ten years

Credit: Creative Commons (J E Theriot)

Yesterday, I posted a list of five youth ministry relics from the past (overhead projector, may you rest in peace). It got me thinking about some of the tools we might consider indispensable today but will be just a memory in as little as a decade from now. After all, I’m sure there was some youth pastor in 1972 who couldn’t imagine leading worship without the relatively new (at the time) technology wonder that is the Carousel Slide Projector.

So, what tools do we use today in youth ministry that we won’t even remember — or perhaps we’ll remember and laugh at — in ten years?

Facebook. This one’s first, because it likely was the first idea that popped into your mind. In fact, some of you would argue that Facebook already is past its peak in terms of youth ministry usefulness. (I, for one, am just starting to learn how to use Facebook. Don’t laugh.) While Facebook as a company may adapt and have very different products ten years from now, Facebook as we know it will one day join AOL Instant messenger on the Island of Misfit Online Tools.

Texting. In 2003, I had a friend (who now happens to be my wife) who taught me to use my first cell phone to send “text messages.” It was also about the same time I began my first staff position as a youth worker, and I discovered that a handful of high school students and leaders also texted, and it became a great way to quickly let them know I was praying for them or remind leaders of an upcoming meeting. Today, we use an online service to send out mass text messages once a week or so, and it’s by far the most effective way of reminding students about events, especially when a registration deadline is looming. In ten years, however, the only people who will still be texting are those of us who just can’t let it go. Phones will be far more advanced, and I’m willing to bet that teenagers will be using something far different to quickly stay in touch with friends, parents, and pesky youth pastors who want them to go to summer camp.

PowerPoint. Or Keynote, or whatever presenter tool you use while teaching and preaching. I use PowerPoint myself and think it can be an effective tool, but I doubt we’ll be as obsessed with PowerPoint in ten years. But let’s not go back to the overhead projector.

Lock-ins. This isn’t really a prediction, just wishful thinking for many of us.

Summer Camp. This one’s just a hunch. I’ve got nothing against summer camp; we will likely take our students to a summer camp in 2013. I just think more and more youth ministries are seeing the benefit of other summer trip/activity offerings that cost just about as much as a week at summer camp, such as local or nearby serving opportunities and urban mission trips. Summer camp won’t go away, but my guess is far fewer churches will be participating ten years from now.

QUESTION: What current youth ministry tools do you think will fall out of use within the next ten years?

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