This is Part 1 in my series, How to Best use Social Media to Enhance your Church’s Mission Trips. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.
High School Trip: aka “The Trip where I HAD NO BARS!”
I will say that finding good ways to use social media on our trip up to Klamath, CA to work on the Yurok Indian reservations was much more challenging, for a variety of reasons. First of all, these were our high school kids who had been on numerous other mission trips, and so the “no cell phones…..EVER” rule was very ingrained into their idea of what a mission is. And the fact that we were in Klamath, CA – where AT&T apparently has no signal – didn’t really help either.
However, upon arrival, I checked in with the Site Director, let her know about our church’s mission blog and why we do it, and she was very supportive of me using the staff computer to post updates. Every day after we got back from working, after I showered, I sat down for about 30-40 minutes and uploaded all the photos from my iPhone and digital camera (make sure to remember your own cords!) and posted updates via Posterous’s website.
So, for this trip, it wasn’t so much about real-time updates, as I never had any cell phone signal. And with the nature of the trip – manual labor and roofing, I wasn’t all that interested in trying to fiddle around too much with my new iPhone 4 on top of a roof. So the nature of the posts were different. But I think it was still an effective way to share about the trip. We did these types of posts:
- End of the day recaps
- Funny videos
- Fun pictures so parents could see their kids enjoying their time
- Posts about the program – with suggestions for parents on what to ask about when their kids got home
What I wasn’t prepared for, however, were the comments I would get on Facebook for updates related to this trip. College students who were previous veterans of this specific trip couldn’t understand why I felt the need to put updates on the web while I was there on the mission trip. Some of the comments were pretty intense, and I even got some personal Facebook messages from some of them saying that I must not get the point of a mission trip if I couldn’t give up my phone for a week.
However, parents chimed in on Facebook and others supported the way that we were now doing mission trips and people on the whole were very appreciative of the way that we were sharing about our experiences throughout the trip.
In the next and final post, I’ll share with you how our church continues to use our Posterous Mission Blog with a variety of different missions currently happening at our church.