Youth ministry and the digital revolution: The engagement of young people through the medium of social networking

Digital technology currently permeates nearly every corner of society, a change that has taken place over the last fifty years. This development has not left the church untouched, as we read of churches meeting online in computer games, courses of Christian education and discipleship available online and most if not all churches here in Northern Ireland utilizing audio visual technology within their Sunday services. These changes have brought both swathes of opportunity, but also possible threats to the practice of youth ministry within our churches. Of recent many people have continued to ponder how the church and their youth ministry should react to the digital revolution; should they all-out embrace it, or is it something to be treated as worldly and completely spurned? I would contest that most youth ministries meet somewhere in the middle, opting to embrace the technology to a point but being unsure how to take this further. There are three different areas within which the digital revolution has changed youth ministry and will continue to impact it. This is through its: delivery; how the youth ministry is carried out, through engagement; how youth workers come into contact with young people and engage them day-to-day and through the Issues it creates; the new problems and considerations coming out of young people’s digital lives. As all three of these areas are relatively big I have narrowed my research down to that of Engagement through the medium of Facebook.

Andrew Bill

Andrew graduated from CYM Ireland in 2011 with a BA Honours degree in Youth & Community Work and Applied Theology.