Ways to make sure your students stay connected.
As we all deal with COVID-19 and how we serve our congregations and communities, I know many youth ministries have been thinking about how they will serve students and parents during this season as well. Many have already started and have been doing a great job making sure students stay connected with Christ during this season and know that God is with them. Here are some thoughts around a youth ministry game plan during the quarantine.
• Prayer: The first thing that is essential, like the businesses that remain open, is your prayer life and the prayer schedule for students. During this season you have to make sure that you are continuing with your prayer life and connection with God.
In the same way, you want to make sure that you’re providing your students with opportunities for corporate prayer—online or over the phone. You can look at a free conference call number, calling them all from your phone or software like Zoom. The main point is that the game plan won’t work as well and won’t have as much impact without covering it, your students and yourself in prayer.
• Meetings: You need to also set up consistent times and ways to meet with the leaders of your ministry. Your team should have been meeting at least once a week to go over how things are going in addition to what is new in the life of your leaders and the students they serve. Whether you were or weren’t hosting consistent team meetings during this season, you have to do this now in order to be as organized as possible when reaching out and planning to impact your students.
You can have these meetings through video on Zoom, FaceTime, BlueJeans or some other video software. You can also have the meeting over the phone, but I think video is best since you can’t see your leaders face-to-face as freely as you would have before.
• Content: During this season, you need to be creating consistent content for your students. You can create Bible studies as if you had your weekly worship times and send them out via YouTube or Vimeo, or even post them to your Facebook group. You can also create a daily devotional for the students to go through on their own. YouVersion has made it easy to do Bible plans with friends, so you and your students could go through a Bible plan during this season. The main point here is to create moments to encourage and push students toward God’s Word. This is also where that team that you have been meeting with can come into play to help you create and manage this content.
• Fun: Our students also need moments of fun, moments to get their minds off of where we are and back on fun. Maybe you can host a video game night when everyone gets on the video conferencing system or online to play games or just chat. Many games allow for group play. Here’s an example of an NBA2K tournament and Fortnite Friday event Elevation YTH set up on Twitch.
• Coordinate: You also need to make sure that you’re coordinating with your senior pastor and what they have been doing or plan to do for the adults of the congregation. There might be plans that you can add value to by identifying ways to engage students with ministry programs or opportunities. For example, many churches will be sending emails, text messages and phone calls to the adults of the congregation. However, what would it look like to have a personal call, or even a robocall, from the youth pastor to the students of the congregation saying that we’re praying for you and your parents? The main point here is that we have to make sure we’re in accord with what the senior pastor has planned to reach the congregation. Yes, teamwork makes the dream work.
• Last, but no way is it least, you need to take care of yourself. Many of us as leaders will find ourselves working more hours from home than we were before the quarantine. However, we need self-care because if we burn out we can’t help anyone else. Find something that you can do for you from reading a good book to finding a good show to watch, working out or just creating something for you. At the end of the day you need to find ways to press the stop button in this season so you can press the play button after you rest. We all need rest.
I am praying for you and I hope this list is helpful, please let me know what you would add. Comment below and share this article with some friends.