Written by Aaron Helman
If your youth ministry is like most youth ministries, you probably have a Twitter account.
You use it to share updates and news from your youth ministry and check in on whatever’s going on in students’ lives.
But if you’re like me, you probably feel sometimes like this Twitter thing – and all social media – is a tool that’s capable of doing a lot more than you’re using it for right now.
Enter the Twitter Scripture Bomb, a thing we invented to help students share their faith, evangelize to friends, and to make sure every Twitter-using teenager on Twitter is touched by the Word of God.
It’s exactly the simple kind of idea that requires almost zero prep, almost no work, and will actually make an impact.
Too good to be true?
Here’s how you build a Twitter Scripture Bomb.
It starts with a Bible verse that’s of tweetable length.
Every week, we include a Key Verse in our youth ministry message.
This verse is applicable, encouraging, and brief enough to be memorized (and therefore, also brief enough to be tweeted).
Sometimes we’ll have to paraphrase or trim the verse to get it in under 140 characters, and that’s okay, so long as we’re not stripping the meaning or intent from the verse.
During the message on Sunday, we memorize the verse, talk about the verse, and teach on the verse.
In small groups, we’ll discuss the verse and apply the verse.
Students leave clinging tightly to this verse, and the goal is that if they forget everything else, they’ll remember the Key Verse.
Then, tweet the verse.
Your youth ministry account tweets that verse at some point during the week it.
Do it whenever you feel like it or use Hootsuite to schedule the tweet for a point later in the week.
I don’t like to schedule tweets to go out during school hours because I don’t want to tacitly encourage students to break school rules about cell phone usage, but that’s up to you.
Offer some sort of incentive to those who retweet the verse.
You could enter all of your retweeters into a drawing for a small prize.
You could send them all a Thank You with a coupon for a free donut.
Or you could do what we do.
Every week, our students raise money for a missionary project that we support in Tapachula, Mexico.
Our goal is to raise $4,800 annually to support a children’s home and to sponsor two children at that home.
Our students write and receive letters from those children.
They exchange photos.
Our upperclassmen go on a mission trip to that children’s home in the summer.
It’s a project that our whole youth ministry is massively invested in – financially and emotionally.
So when I share that tweet, I’ll tell students that we’ll donate $0.25 toward our project for each retweet we get.
If 40 students retweet the message, that’s ten more dollars for Kevin and Marleni in Tapachula, Mexico.
Depending on the size of your group and of your budget, you may need to adjust that number.
Hopefully, you’ll generate a good number of retweets and continue to make Jesus and His Name famous.
What happens next?
So, here’s the thing.
Clicking a retweet button doesn’t constitute Biblical evangelism.
And while it’s very cool when a message goes viral and God’s word trends throughout an entire school, school system, or community, there’s still work to do.
We train our students that sharing God’s Word over Twitter is only a start, but it does have positive consequences.
Students learn to be just a little more bold about sharing their faith, about pulling their light out from under that bushel basket.
Sharing Scripture on Twitter is a baby step in a process that ends at sharing their faith and making disciples of the students in their schools, and this next part is key:
A student who’s not ready to share a Bible verse on Twitter probably isn’t ready to boldly witness to their faith.
That’s the most important outcome of the Twitter Scripture Bomb.
It’s just the first baby step toward helping students become bold and fearless, proclaimers of the hope and salvation of the risen Christ.
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Written by Aaron Helman.
Aaron has been in youth ministry for over 15 years and is currently a youth pastor in South Bend, Indiana.