While student ministry has its complexities and challenges, know that you’re not alone as you look ahead to the fall season. We want to walk alongside you as you ask key questions like, “what’s next in youth ministry? What’s the most effective way to care for my students even when we’re apart?” We also want to help you make the most of your social media presence so you can reach your students where they’re at. In fact, we’re here to demystify a new feature on Instagram, Instagram Reels. Here are 4 points to remember when using Instagram Reels in student ministry to engage with and disciple your youth:
Understand what’s an Instagram Reel
Let’s start by understanding what this new feature is all about. Instagram Reels are Facebook’s version of TikTok where a user makes 15-second videos set to music of their choice.
Basically, if you know how to make a TikTok, then you know how to make an Insta Reel.
But if you don’t know yet, we’ve got you! To make your first Reel, open your ainstagram app, go to the stories icon and press the Reel button (the button you’ve never seen before). You can film a new video or select a previously filmed video from your phone. Next, on the left side of your screen, you can add music, use the timer to select how long the Reel will be and add effects your teens will find interesting. For an in-depth visual tutorial of Instagram Reels, go to this page.
Use Instagram Reels for student ministry info
Now that you know how to make an Insta reel, let’s focus on why. You can use this new feature to keep students updated about the latest information. For example, if you’re having a guest speaker on your Wednesday Zoom night, you can announce this on the Reel. You can also use Reels for information pertaining to discipleship. For example, you can share 3 ways to talk to a friend about faith. Or, share 5 verses that are an encouragement in hard times.
Use Instagram Reels to show you care
You’ve spent the past few months away from your students and the future of youth ministry is still uncertain. This requires us to find creative ways to show students that we care about them, even if we’re apart. One way to do this is by using Reels as a gateway to interacting with students. Ask them to leave a comment about some questions they have for the guest speaker. Or, at the end of the “5 verses” Reel, you can ask students to leave a comment on a verse they turn to when they’re feeling down. Once again, the why behind these simple actions is to take a genuine interest in students’ opinions and day-to-day lives.
Let students take the lead
Many years ago when I was a student in youth group, my youth pastor guided and helped me animate some games during youth night. Today as a youth worker, my job involves animating activities for youth at-risk. My pastor didn’t know it then but his investment in my life was one of the ways God brought me to where I am today.
Who knows the impact you’ll have on a student when you trust and empower them to lead in ministry…
When announcing the launch of reels in the US, Instagram said, “Reels gives people new ways to express themselves…and [helps] anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator.” Do you know a student who wants to become a content creator? Of course you do! To make this happen for one of your students, one suggestion is to have only one phone for Instagram. When you’ve developed a trusting relationship with and have mentored them, you can lend them this phone so they can be the one creating and sharing information online.
Of course, this is risky; they might not create content exactly like you want them to. Or they’ll make something better and your pride will hurt. In these moments, remember that the why behind using Instagram Reels in student ministry is to have a real impact on students’ lives; sometimes, that requires humility and trust on our end.
Ultimately, we encourage you to pray and ask the Lord how He wants you to use this feature to impact students’ lives. And if you do create some Reels, be sure to share them with the Voke team on our Instagram…because we’d love to see and celebrate your impact!