Beloved DYM Authors,
If you want to be published quicker, increase your side-hustle income from DYM, and impact more people, this email is for you. It's LOADED with insights and tips for the upcoming publishing season that you won't want to miss.
We want to help you provide relevant resources that people actively look for on downloadyouthministry.com. Your time is valuable and you want to invest it wisely. If you want to benefit from insider information in developing your next submission for maximum impact, grab a cup of coffee and take this in. ☕
The more relevant and valuable your resource,
the quicker you will be published,
the higher your earnings, and
the more people you'll impact.
We shared insights
You shared your creativity in response
the result...big Christmas 2020 wins! 🎄
When we shared insights for Christmas 2020, you responded with incredible resources that the youth worker community LOVED. To highlight two:
- Elf on a Shelf: We know games that are easy to use, can get everyone involved, have humor built-in, and take a unique twist on a common theme (in this case, Christmas) are valuable. "Elf on a Shelf" nailed those things and was the top selling resource of Christmas 2020.
- Christmas Trivia Party Online / In Person: Youth workers threw Christmas parties and many needed to pivot in-person parties to online - cue "Christmas Trivia Party" with both an in-person and online version that was a done-for-you HIT, saving so many people time and stress!
Relevant Resources As We Begin 2021 👇
So what about now as we head into 2021? We want you to know exactly what youth workers find helpful. Great Games are ALWAYS valuable, but in this email, we'll highlight five specific things we're hoping you'll send our way for the store this winter:
- Resources to help create momentum and make your ministry attractive
- Experiences that create bonds with students and leaders in a relational and spiritual way (in lieu of a typical Winter Retreat)
- Ways to keep students engaged and participating online
- Grow On Your Own devotional resources that are intentionally participatory
- Helpful HOW TO PLAY guidance for all resources, especially when you can guide a user in how to use your resource in-person AND online.
To help illustrate these points Doug, Josh and Jessica recorded a 10 minute video to give you additional context around these ideas. This WILL BE your best use of 10 minutes this month! (watch video above)
1. Create Momentum and Make Your Ministry Attractive
For the majority of 2020 it felt like youth workers worked week to week, pivoting with each change that came their way, without a chance to intentionally plan ahead. We sense ministries needing a breath of excitement and energy in the new year. Youth workers would benefit from fresh, fun ideas to help them build momentum this winter. We know that building momentum now sets youth groups up well for the year ahead.
👉Catch Doug and Josh talking about 10 Ways to Build Momentum in Your Ministry This Year on "Facebook Live" recorded January 7th.
Youth workers who want to build momentum need ways to create unique, unexpected moments of fun/energy that make something feel special and out-of-the ordinary!
- Crowd Star: The entire audience is involved in creating a Guitar-Hero-esque fast-paced clap/stomp beat that absolutely brings energy into the room!
- Impossible Shot: A unique, creative opener activity that you can use to generate excitement around bringing friends to group!
2. No Winter Retreat This Season? Alternate Ways to Create Bonds with Students and Leaders
This time of year, a winter retreat not only serves as a momentum-builder for your ministry, it also creates a unique opportunity for students and leaders to bond with one another in relational and spiritual ways.
If a typical Winter Retreat experience isn't possible this year, what are alternate, creative ways to accomplish similar goals?
It could be a "camp in a box" (like this alternative designed in COVID-19 season this past summer) resource OR a program element that could be combined with other things to create a meaningful alternative experience.
💡Creative Rec alternatives for a safe and socially-distant setting. Digital Escape Rooms (like this one with a Christmas theme or this one with a summer theme) are a great example of a competitive event you could use with teams that works SO WELL in an online (or modified in-person) context!
- Mountain to Valley Retreat - Great retreat lessons/guide for building unity in your group(s) while helping students develop habits to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.
- Search My Heart Worship Experience - Prayer stations that can be done anywhere, church or a home.
- 100 Creative Prayer Ideas - Easy to hand to a small group leader for an element of a “retreat” experience during COVID-19.
- 5 Intentional Small Group Activities - Great ways to equip leaders to add depth to their small groups.
3. Engaging Students Online
This is a tough nut to crack - how can youth workers bring fresh, engaging content online that will continue to connect people to the hope of Christ's message and to each other? If you've got a clever way to 1) engage students over a live video platform like Zoom OR 2) over social media throughout the week, send it our way!
- Insta-Escape Mini Game for Instagram - This is totally unique and absolute gold! It's an "escape room" for your instagram stories, designed to help you hack the Instagram algorithm with a fun, engaging game that will make your students stop and look through your profile and stories. This video explains why this can give you a serious boost to your social media presence in your students' feeds.
- Color Chaos - It's hard to simply call Color Chaos a game. It's a creative and fun way to get your students working together to solve challenging puzzles! Play in person or online, in a small group or large group...this game works in any setting and the replay options make it possible to play more than once!
- Zoom Byee - This game brings energy and excitement to say bye to your students on a Zoom meeting. Students compete against one another like the popular Survivor TV show through trivia questions. The top-selling game of 2020! Coronacation Elimination is another creative way to close down your Zoom meetings.
- Digital Escape Room - At the time of this writing, there are 50 reviews on this resource...we'll let that speak for itself. If you haven't tried one of our digital escape rooms already, seriously...what in the world are you waiting for. 🙌
4. Grow On Your Own Resources that Engage Students
We all love a great "Grow on Your Own" resource that helps students develop spiritual habits in investing personal time with God and His Word.
But in 2021, we're not looking for your mom's devotional of just printable content, we think the DYM Community would value devotionals that offer additional elements to the user in addition to biblical content:
- Utilize social media
- Include elements of accountability
- Include incentives for participating
For making your devotional engaging on social media, include:
- Top notch graphics: Partner with a graphic designer if you aren't one! Your investment to punch up graphics is one we think you'll see returned to you in sales because more people find your resource attractive and valuable.
- Captions and interactive elements: Consider a plan to have the youth leader and/or volunteer leaders be involved (ex. leader reads a passage of Scripture on Insta (post or story), leader presents a challenge for the day on Insta (post or story, adds a question box for students to respond to, includes quizzes of the devo content in their stories, etc), leader leads a prayer for the day on Insta (post or story).
- Accountability/Incentives: Include a plan that rewards students for not only completing the devo guide but also gives credit for interacting with Instagram content (question boxes, quizzes, social shares, etc).
This is not something you post and forget about, it's an intentional tool in your discipleship plan this season.
- The Stories of Advent - An easy, adaptable, plug-and-play Advent devotional designed to leverage your social media presence and engage as many students as possible.
- Day & Night Devotional in the Psalms - social graphics here will help you engage students online with the 30 days of devotional content, but the more interactive and "how to use" guidance, the better!
5. How to Play Guidance, Especially for Online/In-Person Pivoting
"How to Play" is important for ALL resources. Include your suggestions on how someone can best implement your resource in the product description and the download, whether in an instructions slide or a written Word Doc.
In this season, an additional value for your resource is guidance on how to pivot between an online and in-person context. How would you modify this for Zoom? Or, how could you take an online hit and make it work in-person?
The more contexts in which your resource can be used, and the more you provide for the end-user, the more valuable it becomes.
Helpful Information to Provide:
- How to Play: Tell people how you recommend they play your game, and how you might make its gameplay more versatile! How would you make this screen game more exciting to involve the whole crowd, or adapt it to work for up-front contestants too?
- COVID-friendliness: Customers want to know details about whether or not your resource will work in their context. Can this resource be done socially-distant, are there any shared objects between persons, does it work outside, etc.?
- Group Size: What size group does this work for? How could you adapt the resource depending on your group size?
- Time: How long do you anticipate play will take? Could you adapt it for a shorter period of time, or extend it to make it longer?
- Additional Supplies Needed / Cost: Give people a heads up if your resource will require additional supplies they may need to purchase.
❗PRO TIP: Ask a friend to review the product description you've written before you submit it to the Pipeline. Does it make them excited about playing the game? What questions do they have, is anything unclear?
- Actin' Sus - An in-person, socially distant / no-contact "Mafia style" game, playable inside or outside, based on the "Among Us" app/game. Check out how detailed and helpful this product description is!
- Sudden Death Word Guess Scramble Christmas Edition - Three different gameplay options are listed, one of them being online.
- Storyline: The Author Video includes fantastic "how to use" tips that paint a great picture of what it could look like to implement the series - well done, Tim!