The Best Ways to Use Instagram for Youth Ministry

Posted on Posted in Strategy

It’s 4:00 in the afternoon. Do you know where your students are?

Odds are good that they’re on Instagram.

Their parents have started using Facebook, so students have moved elsewhere: Instagram.

According to Pew Research, as of October 2013, Instagram was five times more popular among the youngest age group measured (18-29 year olds) than any other group. Huffington Post has documented the rise of Instagram among tweens too.

That makes Instagram a great place to share key messages directly with your students.

By the way, if you really want to raise your social media impact, you should check out the book that I wrote about this topic. It’s called, Social Media Skills for Youth Pastors. I think you’ll like it!

Social Media Skills for Youth Pastors

Here are the best ways I’ve found to use Instagram for youth ministry:

1. Make a video.

Don’t settle for pictures. Record a video on your phone and post it to Instagram. Just remember, it has to be 15 seconds or less. Here’s an example:

2. Post a Bottom Line.

You spent time crafting a creative bottom line for your message. Don’t just say it and forget about it. Post your statement the next day for your students to remember and share. Here’s an example:

3. Post about a new teaching series.

One of the best times for students to invite their friends is when you’re starting a new teaching series. Post a picture of the new series and remind them to invite a friend who needs to hear it. Here’s an example:

4. Post about an upcoming event.

You have an event coming up in two weeks. You’ve told students about it from the stage, but do you really think they’ve thought about it again? Probably not. Remind them with a simple picture. Here’s an example:

5. Highlight students’ achievements.

When you come across a student’s name in the newspaper, or a story that shows the local team winning the big game, take a picture and post it. Tag the students whose names or pictures are included. Here’s an example:

6. Tell them what you’re singing.

Getting students to sing isn’t easy. It’s even harder when they don’t know the songs. Make a simple graphic on and post the songs in advance. Here’s an example:

7. Ask a question.

One of the easiest ways to get interaction is to ask a question. After all, social media is supposed to be social. Here’s an example:

8. Post a prize.

When you’re giving away a great prize, let your students know about it. Post a picture of it. For this example, I added text to a picture using the Font Candy app on my phone:

9. Post a Bible verse.

If your students are like mine, most of them don’t read the Bible very often. Even with the Bible app and other tools that make the Bible incredibly accessible, they just don’t open it up. Use Instagram to post Bible verses that are relevant to their lives. Here’s an example:

10. Post something fun.

Students like to laugh. When you come across a funny picture, why not share it with them? Your ministry doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Neither does your Instagram account. Here’s an example:

11. Spotlight your volunteers.

The people who serve with you every week are the real heroes of your ministry. Take a few minutes and shine a spotlight on them. They’ll feel appreciated and students will get to know them a little better. Here’s an example:

Your Move

If you haven’t set up an Instagram account yet, take two minutes and do that. I wouldn’t recommend using your personal account for ministry stuff. It’s best to set up a separate ministry account. You never know what the future holds. If you move on, the ministry account will stay relevant for your students.

Start to post consistently. Ideally, you will post at least one time every day, but if you can’t keep up with that pace, then try to post at predictable times each week so students get used to seeing your stuff.

These 11 ways will definitely get your students liking and regramming your Instagram posts, but more importantly, they’ll get your students informed and excited about what’s happening in your youth ministry.

If you liked this post, you’ll love the book. Check out it today!
Social Media Skills for Youth Pastors

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Trevor Hamaker (DMin, McAfee School of Theology) is an author, adjunct professor, and youth ministry coach. He helps youth pastors see their potential, develop their skills, and reach their goals.

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