Using Social Media and Video for Teen Faith Formation

This one is especially for all of you who work with teens — or if you love new applications for digital media in the parish setting.

We belong to a parish named after the Apostle to the Apostles, St. Mary Magdalen (Germanic spelling), and help with the teen faith formation program. Eighteen teens returned home from Steubenville Atlanta conference last week, and our parochial vicar gave a few of them a chance to speak on Sunday.

One girl said, “My experience really made me want to stay close to my faith and to the Church.”

My brain gears started turning, since I was scheduled to lead a formation night for them that Wednesday. I hadn’t decided the subject matter — a rare last-minute lack of planning on my part. However, I came to see that God was working.

Monday morning, I recorded a “plea” video to my Facebook friends, asking them to record a short video introducing themselves, and sharing one way that they stay in touch with their faith in everyday life. By Wednesday, I had received eighteen videos from across the United States and even Brazil.

Here’s an example thanks to Tom Pringle:

Here’s the outline I created; it’ll explain what happened during our faith formation hour, and how you can re-create it. The night was lots of fun! The teens came away knowing…

  • complete strangers who share their Catholic faith had cared enough about them to make a video just for them
  • people of all ages, locations, and backgrounds are actively working to strengthen their own faith, and the faith of others
  • TONS of practical ways to live and strengthen their faith daily

If I were to do this again, I would definitely give more notice to my friends. I’d also give more straightforward guidelines about video length; keep it to 1:30 min. max.

Overall, I highly recommend this type of project for others working with teens in a parish setting, for the reasons listed above, as well as…

  • Teens of this generation are all about video!
  • My game asked them to do something they may not usually do; focus and listen to just one thing! Great practice for them.
  • Because the videos were short and personal, and from strangers, the teens were more likely to listen and remain engaged vs. some people they know talking about the exact same subject matter.
  • Making a “thank you” video completes the ‘circle’ uniting the teens with all of the video-makers; bringing universal Church members that much closer to each other.

You can switch up the content of the videos, and adapt to your own purposes. Let me know if you try it out!

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2 comments

  1. This is super cool! I might try this with my confirmation class I’ll be teaching in the fall. It would be really cool to get some of our priests/deacons/teachers/other ministry leaders on video as well.

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