Did you watch church from home this past Sunday? Are your Sunday service and youth group meetings cancelled for the next few weeks? We are in interesting times aren’t we? As in all things, we must find the blessing. Many have said, and it is true, you can’t quarantine the gospel.
Many years ago, I accepted a position at a church where a few month later a tornado rolled through and destroyed our church. We rallied and met at various churches and eventually found a new place right down the street from our old church. It was a long and sometimes difficult journey, but in the end, it mobilized the church and drew people closer together.
The chaos forced the church to reexamine itself and some changes were made, but eventually things went back to the wrong kind of normal. Crisis invites change, but we must maintain it.
You have a different dilemma. How do I stay connected with my kids when I can’t have a youth meeting or our church is not having service? That is the right question and I have seven opportunities for you to do just that and all you have to do it hit record or go live.
Before you hit record or live, remember what your kids and families need. Hope. They need encouragement, wisdom and scripture to remind them that God is still in charge and He has a plan. He makes good out of bad. So, keep your tone positive.
Go live often
Your students need to see you live, or recorded, a couple of times a week so they know you’re still out there. This more about being personable vs just putting out information. Students need a personal touch, even if it’s on video.
If you struggle to go live because it makes you anxious, record something and post it or text it out to your students. They need to see that you want to be a part of their lives and not just waiting until this all blows over and waiting in the next youth meeting.
Have a live youth service
Yes, you can keep continuity in meeting by having a live service. Jesus said, Where two or more are gathered, there I am in the midst of them” So glad he did not say “in person” or “Must be physically present”.
Jesus was talking about a gather of hearts and mind, not bodies. So, how do you put tougher an online service, the same way you put on a physical service, but you have two way you can do it.
First, you can have a service where it’s audience based. You are having music, etc and people attend too observe, as normal services would be. Watch and consume.
You can use any social media platform to go live and kids/parents can watch. You can also pre-record the service, if you have any anxiety about going live or if you want to edit it, and then post it when you’re ready.
The second way you can do it, based on the sized of your youth ministry, is to use something like Zoom. Zoom is a platform that allows dozens of people to join on the same screen. People can join via video, on their phones or though audio only.
Tuesday March 23rd, 2020, I am hosting mini webinar on how to use Zoom for creating a youth service online and I’d love for you to join if you want to learn how to put together an online youth service. You can register here.
Game – play a trivia game or guessing game.
Announcements: Talk about future plans and things to look forward to and try not to use the word cancelled (if an event is just not current feasible) use the word postponed instead. Give your students hope.
Message: Keep it simple, may be 5-10 min and keep it positive.
Daily encouragements – Post quotes, scripture, etc. to remind kids, daily, that God is in charge.
The one another’s the Bible is filled with one another’s. Love one another, pray for one another, be kind to one another, etc. Ask students to tag one another to be an encouragement. You are not just trying to keep a connection between students and yourself, but to increase connection between students and strengthening the bond of Christ between them.
Text and video responses – Text is given, but try using video responses as well. Remember, this is a time to be personable and to show kids you are still in their lives.
Preparing to meet again – You will meet again, but how will you meet? You have an opportunity to hit the reset button on your youth ministry. I’m not talking about the branding, logo, etc. I’m talking about coming back together with a new attitude and a new appreciation for the Body of Christ.
If you are absent during this pandemic, don’t be surprised if kids are absent from your youth ministry when it’s time to return. Do what you can, not what you can’t. Don’t let the fear of technology or the fear of failure keep you from jumping in when kids need you to be there for them, even if it is virtually.