Introducing The YSnetwork
The majority of my two decades in youth ministry have involved travelling to churches and cities around the country. I’ve come to realize many things about youth ministry as I’ve enjoyed those long distance friendships, youth ministry can be a lonely.
Isolation makes finding those people who can be the iron that sharpens our iron difficult. I think this is why I have always had a deep love for ministries like The National Network Of Youth Ministries and Youth Specialties. They bring people together so they can learn, share, and create. If you weren’t at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta last week, you missed some announcements I made about Youth Specialties’ commitment to networking. At the convention we announced two initiatives we are launching in January 2012 and invited people to the “beta” experience.
When we first cooked up this idea many of us felt we didn’t really need another social media tool. But as we thought about the limitations of community building online, we felt we needed a niche experience for youth workers that would allow for more robust interactions without parents and student lurking in our discussion. Using the Table Project platform, we were able to create a custom online community for youth workers. The focus is not on giving status updates, but the horizontal connections between members of a community. The platform is designed to allow us to share resources, share ideas, and pray for one another. If you haven’t already signed up I encourage you to check it out at YSnetwork.com. Right now we are in beta mode, we’ll officially launch in 2012 with a
mobile app coming soon.
In just a week and a half we have several networks that have formed. Some are virtual, like Lars Rood’s network for those over 40, and others are local like the NNYM San Diego chapter. I’ve even created a book club network that will be reading David Kinnaman’s new book “You Lost Me” together and meeting over Skype. It is easy to join networks and to create them. There is also access to many content providers so you can read your favorite youth ministry blogs and newsfeeds in one place.
Meeting Guides For Networks
One of the challenges of getting a group of youth ministers together is making sure the time is valuable in the midst of our busy schedules. Beginning in 2012, YS is launching a free networking resource to help make the most of your meetings together. Each month we’ll offer a guide that will give tools for facilitating great conversations, and connections to current issues to discuss. This will be a free resource for your network.
YS Commitment to NNYM
We are excited to work with our friends at NNYM to give a virtual community to networks meeting in person locally. YS joins NNYM in their vision to have a network within reach of every youth minister in America. So consider starting a network in your area if you haven’t already. You can see NNYM for more information.
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.