"Everything this generation deals with is based on technology," says Marquis Boone, director of Real Anointed Worshipers (R.A.W.), the youth ministry of New Mercies Christian Church in Lilburn, Ga. "To be relevant, we have to use video, multimedia, Internet, social media, text messaging - anything to do with technology - because that is how kids today relate to the world."
Marquis Boone, youth minister director for New Mercies Christian Church, invited groups of 13- to 19-year-olds to planning sessions that started in September.
"We got the process going by asking them who they would like to see, what speakers and what artists."
Participants were involved in promoting the conference as well.
The group created glossy handbills that looked like club fliers, which kids were asked to circulate at their schools.
"This year we also did a lot of stuff with YouTube and Kyte.TV with commercials and things of that nature," Boone says, in addition to advertising the conference on Facebook and MySpace.
Every year the kids come up with a theme song and dance for the conference.
This year's song was called "Access Granted.
A version produced and sung by one of the youth ministry's members is available on iTunes, and revenue generated by the sale of the song has helped defray conference costs.
The demand to be in the know at the R.A.W. youth group is so high that Boone
has gone a step beyond mainstream social media networks to create a Web site for the church's youth ministry, therawyouth.com.
The robust, well-designed site has many features, including discussion forums, photo galleries, videos, polls and an eztexting.com account that permits members to sign up to receive mass text messages.
"The eztexting feature allows us not only to send messages about events but also birthday reminders," Boone