In this episode, Stephen Law reveals the tips and tricks he developed for middle school ministry using Discord as a platform for engagement. Stephen also shares some of the ways their student ministry has adapted to the ever-changing reality of church needing to be present in-person and online.

Stephen Law

Connect with Stephen online at Harborside Students and his personal website.

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Pre-COVID Ministry:

  • Three services for middle schoolers on Sunday mornings
    • One service – bible study (ask anything)
    • Two services – regular middle school service with a large group and small group experience
  • Wednesday nights (Connectors), sometimes on Monday nights
    • 8-week rotations in-line with adult Connect Groups
  • Some overlap of engagement from different service options
  • Online with Instagram (prior to COVID)
  • Moved to YouTube LIVE during their middle school services (prior to COVID)
    • Post-COVID – began running full service from his house on YouTube LIVE


Post-COVID – Regathering:

  • Initial weeks of regathering – 70-75% of normal attendance
    • Fun fact: for the first time ever, more middle schoolers than there were kids in services
    • Tried ZOOM, but not a lot of traction
    • Moved to using Discord App (began developing in July 2019) but launched after COVID


Using Discord server:

  • Originated for gamers
  • Many schools and church began using
  • Ability to create profiles and roles within the platform in a safe environment
  • Created webpage and guide for kids and families to learn how to use
    • **Cannot go on and find everyone's server; you must be given the server's specific link
  • Used “automated moderated” to assign roles and verify “rule acceptance”
  • Assigned specific roles for students, leaders, parents, etc., with settings for involvement
  • Ideas for events:
    • Minecraft Monday
    • Wednesday night groups – discussions in chat or voice or video
    • Friday Night game nights – family involvement
    • Sunday services – streamed to YouTube, then students interacted through Discord
  • **Ability to see messages even after deleted
  • Because students log in, there are immediate attendance/engagement numbers


Action Items

  1. Check out Discord
  2. Find a digital way to connect students – that's safe
  3. Start with leaders

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