3 Phygital Student Ministry Events for the Spring

Tom Pounder
April 13th, 2021

Before COVID hit, most of our ministry to students was primarily conducted in person. In fact, some of the online work student ministers did before COVID was looked down upon, especially when you played video games with students. That wasn’t “real” ministry back then. But times have changed and online student ministry is a very effective way to reach students for Christ. 

However, our world is not just an online world and our ministry is not just online. It has become a combination of an online and in-person world. We call it Phygital. Phygital is a marketing term that is used to describe a blended digital experience with physical ones. As student ministers, to do ministry effectively in this new world we are living in, creating phygital events and environments are really important. Students are comfortable with online now, but they need the connection that in person ministry creates. 

As we are entering into the Spring season, here are 3 phygital events you can do with your students. 

Scavenger Hunt.

Here you strategically place items of your choice around your community and encourage students to go out and find them. You can even incentivize it by giving away a big prize for the winner. This could be done as individuals, groups, grades, male vs. female, or even for families. The way you make it “phygital” is that you create a specific Social Media Account or Group just for this activity. You could use a Facebook Group or create a new Instagram or TikTok account that will be used to create community, share hints, and place where people can post or share their pictures of them finding the items. Create a hashtag for this scavenger hunt and go around sharing the posts and liking them. It’s a fun way to get people outside while sharing the fun online. 

Graduation Gatherings.

Graduation is traditionally a fantastic way to celebrate students moving on to their next stage in life. While you may be limited to doing big group parties to celebrate, you can try some new ideas. For instance, if you can’t do a big gathering in person, try doing yard signs. Here you bring a yard sign, Bible, and gift bag to students at their home. You can make it “phygital” by taking pictures when you do the in-person yard sign drop off, take a few pictures, or even a video, and highlight them on student ministry or Church social media pages. You could also do either a live video when you drop off the yard sign and gift so that everyone can celebrate with you and the graduate. You can also take pictures of students, highlight them during the Church service, and have students come up on stage to get a round of applause. 

Memorial Day BBQ Gathering.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. Usually, there is warmer weather and BBQs throughout the 3-day weekend. However, while there are a lot of BBQs that happen over Memorial Day weekend, that isn’t why we celebrate Memorial Day. We celebrate it to remember all those who sacrificed their lives for our country. So, use Memorial Day as a way to gather people together and recognize those who sacrificed their lives. Gather people in person for some food and community building. But then take time to have people share about a loved one in their family who gave their life for our country. The food part can be done in person, but when the sharing begins, live stream it on your Church’s platform so that others can participate and even share their stories online. For some people, you could have them record a short video about their family members prior to the gathering and include it in part of the presentation. It would be a great way to recognize fallen loved ones and connect with people in your community, especially the older generation. 

These are just 3 examples of phygital events you can do this spring. They aren’t the only ones you can do and honestly, you don’t even have to do these 3 the same way.  You could use these ideas and modify them to meet your context of Church or ministry. The key is to look for ways to combine Spring time in-person gatherings with a digital component. 

The way we used to do ministry was primarily in person. Now, after an extensive time of getting comfortable with tech, we can creatively and effectively combine the two platforms for youth ministry.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Student Minister and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.