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Relationships. It’s a topic every youth pastor has to do a series on at least once a year.  So the question arises, “How do I keep it fresh? (since we’re really saying the same thing every time). Here’s one way…ask.  A couple weeks ago I posted about Poll Everywhere, a text voting service that we use. Here is one way we are using it.

Next week I’m starting a relationship series and for the first 5 min. of the sermon will give an introduction on “relationships”. During this time, students will VOTE for which question about relationships they want to hear about (see pic, click to enlarge). The poll will animate in real-time and I will then proceed with the most popular answer. At the close of the talk, I will again open another poll for questions that they now have as a result of this sermon (see next pic). And, just like that, there is complete interaction between the “Pastor” and the “congregant”.  How many times have I sat and said, I want to hear more about THIS or THAT. Well, these students will now have that option! I’ll let you know how it goes! Or you can watch our LIVE broadcast on May 19th at 7pm. Click here for our LIVE BROADCAST link.

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We use this idea at least every 5 weeks in our youth group, Uturn. One of my recent epiphanies has been that I do a lot of reading about what this “next generation”  needs to hear and not a lot of asking.  So, we have TEXT ANYTHING nights. It involves a panel of experts on stage who will answer anonymous questions that are texted in and show up on the display screen. So, how do you do this…for free?
Simple Steps.
1) Sign up for a free account at http://www.textmarks.com/.  This will allow you to have anyone send a text to 41411 + (your keyword that you decide on, name of your organization, etc.) their message. It will collect all answers, completely anonymously, and then…

2) You can copy/paste them into your presentation program of choice: PowerPoint, Media Shout, Pro Presenter (my favorite) and send them up on the display screen so that your panel can answer them.

3) There really isn’t a step 3, but since most pastors only speak in 3 points, I’ll make one up (they’ve been known to do this too).  Another application for this technology. People can text in questions throughout the presenter’s speech or sermon and then the presenter can take a few of those questions at the end of his message.

Well, that’s it. Text Anything. Look for more “texting” ideas. I’ve actually stopped asking kids to put away their phones during service, they have become such an incredible tool for engagement.

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