Stuff Youth Ministers Like #15: Exclamation Points

One of the most important tasks of any youth minister is to market the ministry through a variety of means: facebook, pulpit announcements, or flyers with out-of-place clip art that end up coating the asphalt of the parish parking lot. Marketing is a huge part of youth ministry, and, like any good marketer, it’s important to show excitement or passion about your product. Unfortunately, we, as youth ministers have taken this to a new level. Enter: the exclamation point!

What is it about our use of exclamation points? Do we have something against a single period? Is everything in youth ministry just that exciting? Do we think that if we fail to write a vertical line above a dot that teens will just magically disappear? Was that too many questions in a row? Are some of you suffering from exclamation point withdrawal as you read this blog?

If you ask me, we’ve given in to punctuation discrimination! And that just isn’t right. In the world of youth ministry marketing, one, single exclamation point came in like David and destroyed the period like it was Goliath. In fact it seems that our mindset is that if you’re using periods instead of exclamation points, well, you’re just not passionate enough, and maybe it’s time to talk with your pastor about discerning another ministry for you.

Oh, and forget about it if you only use one exclamation point. If you really want to express how great an event is going to be, you must use a minimum of three!!! Period. Seriously, what teen would look at a deluxe, Print Shop-designed flyer with only one exclamation point and get excited for the next youth ministry event? Not many that I know!!!

But, let’s be honest, it’s out of our desire to get teens excited that we use so many exclamation points. I mean after all they are meant to convey strong emotion or indicate shouting. But could you imagine what our everyday conversations with teens would look like if we spoke like we punctuated?

“Hey Guys!!!”

“What’s going on? Why are you shouting?”

“I’m not shouting! Anyway, you should come to our awesome retreat!!!”

“Okay, but can you dial it down a notch? We can hear you loud and clear.”

“Dial what down a notch?! Am I really too loud?!”

Hmmm . . . Maybe we should use 3 periods in a row instead of exclamation points. But, wait a minute. Some of us struggle with that too. I guess we’ll just save that for another blog. Until then, let’s just all agree that it’s time to make the exclamation point the unofficial mascot of all youth ministry!

Question: What’s the most effective way you’ve marketed a youth ministry event? (Share below)

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