January 31, 2012

Why Youth Ministries Are Moving into FaithVillage


FaithVillage is an online community for Christ-followers, but just like any other village, we are a diverse community of affinity groups—people who share the same passions and seek the same types of experiences. Growing out of our energetic conversations with youth pastors and students at events like Catalyst, Youth Ministry Conclave, and Rock the Desert, here’s our take on the top 10 reasons youth groups are making plans to move into FaithVillage.

1. FaithVillage is a faith-friendly social network.

There is a time for Facebook, and there is a time for FV, just as there is a time for going to school or work, and a time for gathering as church. In FV, you and your youth can share your faith and be understood without worries about creepers, scandalous sidebar ads or security issues. That’s good news for parents and youth workers. We ensure a safe and faith-friendly atmosphere for people who are passionate about following Christ or exploring Christ for the first time. FV promotes encouraging content geared to build people up—not tear them down. We will launch with a user-driven flagging system so that users can flag any inappropriate material some hater may have posted.

2. We will have resources for youth pastors and volunteers.

FaithVillage puts community and content in the same place for youth workers. Whether you’re searching for that perfect hilarious video or movie clip to demonstrate your third point in Wednesday night’s message or you’re simply getting your daily tip for communicating with youth, FaithVillage will provide insight on working with the leaders of the next generation. In the Revolution Rec Center, you’ll find topical training articles, videos, podcasts and links to social media groups for conversations on youth ministry and idea sharing.  Pastors and volunteers will find more leadership resources in Momentum and the Watermark Workshop.

3. We will have resources for youth students and members.

One of the greatest components of FV is the fact that you can let your students explore the village whenever or however they want. They can find their own resources in the Revolution Rec Center or you can direct them to specific blogs, articles or media. Topics will be geared especially for teens, so they may watch an inspiring video about someone their age, upload their own videos and podcasts, read a how-to article on starting a movement in their school or download a devotional for their Bible study group. Students can also follow topical blogs in the JavaJuice Blog House and post their own.

4. We will entertain your youth.

Reading can be inspiring and educational, but music and videos are way better, at least according to the youth we hang out with. CityPod Studios will give students Christian music and podcasts they can listen to while exploring the village. Students will absolutely love the Grove Theater, where they can watch video after video without concern for inappropriate ads or content. We’ll be rolling out other games and interactive activities later in 2012, after our beta launch.

5. Youth members can share and respond to leaders’ messages through FV.

Social media has been a game-changer for communicating with this generation. More and more students are going online to keep up with their friends, share ideas and learn. By integrating FaithVillage’s unique community-with-content platform into your ministry, youth pastors will be able to communicate more efficiently with their students in their primary form of communication. Since you’ll be making the effort to come to them, students may be more apt to receiving your message, responding online and sharing it with others.

6. Youth ministries will be able to create their own grade-specific or age-specific groups.

When you move your whole youth group in to FV, you will have the ability to organize all your students, staff and volunteers. Whether you create one big group with all your students or you differentiate them by age or grade level, every youth group can be unified under one umbrella. Groups can be open to the public or private for confidential sharing. Groups are a great way to introduce one student to another, engage in conversation and send out updates or announcements. Groups are part of the social media side of FV, and could be an invaluable communication tool for youth ministries.

7. Both leaders and students will be able to share their own resources with each other.

Uploading the handout you forgot to distribute to your group on Sunday will be quite convenient for youth pastors and leaders. Other options include sharing the Bible study you did with your small group with your students or other leaders. Since community is so important in FV, you not only can share content or comments within FaithVillage, but also to Facebook and Twitter.

8. You will be able to connect your group with service opportunities and other church groups.

You can use the communication tools within your groups to easily share information about local events or service projects and even update the group on the success of a project. Networking with other local youth groups or youth leaders in FV only enhances this opportunity, giving you more resources to plan your next weekend visit to the homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

9. You will be able to learn about causes and missions.

In the Engage Mission Center, leaders and students can learn about a nonprofit organization they could start supporting or even plan next summer’s mission trip. Youth pastors can periodically visit Engage to acquire information on preparing students for their first trip out of the country or simply down the street. Leaders could direct students to a specific cause that you’ve decided to support as a group.

10. We will have resources to help youth move from high school to college.

We want FV to remain an integral part of students’ faith lives, even after they’ve graduated high school. FaithVillage University (FVU) will house collegiate content on topics such as admissions, choosing your college, finding your place in such a big space, etc. Epic House, which focuses more on cultural topics for college students, will also be a point of direction for older youth students. Additionally, some Christian colleges and universities will even have their own buildings in FaithVillage.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s even free, dude.

Rally up your students, volunteers and leaders and move in to FaithVillage. You can fill out our simple application online to let us know you’re down. You can also make sure you and your students are signed up as Charter Members. You’ll get a premier invitation when we launch our beta site and a chance to win an iPad 2 if you sign up before October 31.

Youth pastors, if you’re producing content on a blog or on your own site, we’d like to invite you to become an FV Free Contributor.

Please let us know if you think of anything else we’ve left out or how you plan on using FaithVillage with your youth group or ministry. We’d love to hear your feedback through a comment below.

Originally Published: January 31, 2012
Category: Youth
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