What is "Things to Come" and who are "Austin" and "Leila"?
We're always looking of ways to keep our High School youth program engaging, creative, and relevant. Our goal is to have our high school youth excited about our upcoming youth nights and want to invite their friends all while making disciples of Jesus Christ. During the summer, CORE team members and HS teens met to discuss a new idea. It is in this meeting that "Austin" and "Leila" were created. "Austin" and "Leila" are fictional teens whose life is going to play out on Instagram and Twitter throughout the school year. What these teens post during the week are what the upcoming youth night is about.
In order to make this real for the teens, we have developed a cast of characters and a story line with pictures and video! Think of it as Netflix for HS youth ministry. We have given the name "Things to Come" to this story line. Teens with an Instagram or Twitter account would simply need to follow @austinandleila.
Why is High School Youth Ministry taking this approach?
It is hard to see how Jesus Christ is present in our everyday lives. High School teens have full schedules, huge expectations, and deep struggles in balancing everything they have going on. "Austin" and "Leila" are no different. The teens have created them to be someone they could walk by in their hallway in their schools. By using "Austin" and "Leila"'s life struggles, the teens will be able to identify similarities in their own lives.
The story line has been written and the filming has been completed for our first semester. It includes many aspects of our diocesan approved curriculum. When the curriculum is presented in this way, teens will be attracted to it. Teens will want to be a part of it out of curiousity at first and then they will keep coming out of a thirst for more.
Does my teen NEED to have an Instagram or Twitter account?
No. There are several avenues to participate in this story line as it unfolds.
One option is to subscribe to the Twitter feed on on your teens cell phone. If the teen texts - 40404 - and type the message "follow @austinandleila", they will get everything that is posted for this account on their cell phone like a text message. They will be able to see the posts, pictures, and videos.
Another option is to go to our Youth Ministry web site - www.getitliveitpassit.org. We have the entire Instagram and Twitter feeds running live on our High School page. No social media account or cell phone required!
Final option is to simply keep coming to youth nights! Each night at the start if the youth night, we will have teens come up to give us updates on what happened this week - "Previously on Austin and Leila"
What if my teen does not have a cell phone?
Not a problem. There are a couple options to keep your teen plugged into this story line.
Our website for "Things to Come" will have the live feed streaming for Instagram and Twitter. Please take a look at it HERE! If teens are not able to follow it during the week , simply continue coming to our youth nights! Each night we will do a "Previously on Austin and Leila" segment to get all caught up!
As a parent, Can I follow @austinandleila?
Absolutely. We want parents to feel like a part of what we are doing.
However, PLEASE don't participate in the teen conversation online surrounding the posts. In other words, please don't like, comment, or re-tweet. Our goal is to have our HS youth own this experience. Many times parent involvement can be a turn-off at this age.
As a parent, How can I participate?
We want parents to be involved in "Things to Come".
We have set-up at Facebook Group - "STGA HSYM Parent Group". The ministry staff will post the large topics of the upcoming youth nights in this group. This will be a means of informing parents, but also a safe place for parents to dialog regarding the topic. We will also be posting questions to the group as a whole. Some may be from us and some may be from other parents. This will be a closed group. Only parents of registered HS youth will be allowed to join. The only exception are parents of a registered 8th grade parent. We feel that there may be great benefit to 8th grade parents in this since the transition to HS is normally a challenging one. The Facebook group is available and active NOW. Please join!
Will i be notified of potential controversial topics that will be brought up at youth night?
Yes. We will post in our parent Facebook group AND email all registered parents of our HS youth about any upcoming controversial topic. Many times the teens will not know that these topics are coming up since "Things to Come" is similar to a TV show and it will play out in real time. Our intention is to keep our parents well informed at ALL times.
Can I have input on future "episodes"?
Absolutely. We have purposely only planned, scripted, and filmed the 1st semester. We will be writing the script in December for the Spring Semester and filming in January. This will give us a chance to incorporate any feedback that we receive from our youth as well as our parents. Is there a topic that you would like to see covered? Join our Facebook group and please email staff.