Why This Youth Pastor Deleted Snapchat

Every Wednesday, I would send out a Snap to the teenagers in my Youth Group of me with a silly filter or picture, and a random phrase ending in #HHD (Happy Hump Day). For me it was a way to engage with my students. I didn’t have Snapchat to keep the teenagers accountable for their actions. it was merely a way for me to see what my students were doing in their young lives.

In August, my wife and I went on a 2-week trip to Colorado. During that time, I went on a social media detox where I deleted all of my social media apps so I would not interact with anyone in the known world except my wife and those I physically came in contact with. I have to say it felt great, and it really showed what you don’t need in life. However, when I got back, students were asking if I saw their “story” or why I haven’t sent a Snap lately? (…is that even the right lingo?) And frankly, I had forgotten about “ChapSnatting”. After I reinstalled it, I wasn’t putting in “the time” for it. When Snapchat first came out, I had heard the reasons of its foundings, and knew the negative implications it could have on a teenager (and adult for that matter). It was fun while it lasted but…

After thinking about it for a few weeks, I have decided to DELETE SNAPCHAT and to never go back.

Ooo! – big commitment you’re making there…

Here’s why –

Reason #1This article and this podcast episode. No, I am not basing my entire decision off of ONE article and ONE podcast interview. Both of these media findings presented interesting cases for anyone, and they helped solidify the deletion

Reason #2 (i.e., the REAL reason) – I want to be a better all-around example to the students in my Youth Group. Sometimes that may mean not giving in to the latest trend in Social Media. I don’t need to be a cool hip leader to grow a large youth group. I just want to have authentic, meaningful relationship with these students. Really, what I have seen from my students is they want somebody who listens and someone who cares. I have seen a trip to Krispy Kreme, a text message, and even a high-five go a much longer way than a 10-second filtered picture of myself to a group of students.

Here are two ways I hope to lead better by example:

  1.  Declutter Social Media – I have been reading a book by Jeff Goins and another book by Mark Divine that deal with two unrelated topics but shared a common concept. BOTH of these authors early on in the book expressed that we need to declutter as much excess in our life so we can function, work, and be positive to our absolute best potential. For me, I have to take out the things that may distract me. I have had some form of a profile on almost all the big social media platforms (except Vine – does that even still exist?) Even on the big platforms, I currently have 2-3 separate accounts just to monitor different work projects. For now, I am sticking with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram because I use these three outlets for communication within my areas of work. That being said, these three sources are also enough for me to know what is going on with students, parents, family, and friends.
  2. Foster Authentic Long-lasting Relationships – This may be hard to do, and it may be even hard for a student because they were born in the digital age. The fact that elementary kids have their very own iPads and iPods blows my mind. I am not condemning the use of technology by any means. I certainly enjoy and embrace it and the positive uses it brings to all facets of life. I will still text the students, like their Instagram posts, comment on their tweets, etc. But at the end of the day, a one-on-one conversation is truly going to flourish. If I can have that with a student or adult of any age, I guarantee they are going to embrace that type of relationship much longer than any relationship with their phone.

Did I tell my students I was deleting Snapchat? No, I just did it.

Will it bother my students that I’m deleting the app? Probably not.

Do I still want to be a part of these student’s lives and have an impact? You betcha!

And I hope this deletion of Snapchat will make me do that very thing in a more authentic way.

What are you thoughts? Is this an extreme commitment? Is it not a big deal at all?
I would love to hear your thoughts!

Comment in the section below or you can email me to continue the dialogue.


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