Youth Ministry in a Time of Urgency Part 1: Communication

My heart behind this series is to try to create a few small resources to help my fellow youth workers as we walk through this together. Once again, this is not only a chance to streamline my thoughts into something more coherent, but to help give you things to consider as you seek to lead your student ministry through this crisis.

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“We’re in uncharted waters,” many have said, describing our current situation. I think this phrase is an understatement in many ways. I’ve spent most of my day sending out emails and in meetings trying to figure out how to do ministry as the recommendations for the number of people who can gather together become less and less.

My heart behind this series is to try to create a few small resources to help my fellow youth workers as we walk through this together. Once again, this is not only a chance to streamline my thoughts into something more coherent, but to help give you things to consider as you seek to lead your student ministry through this crisis.

Which leads me to my first reminder: communicate! Our schedules are anything but normal right now. In fact, I just had two weeks worth of planning wiped away in the blink of an eye, but that’s okay! With new information coming out every hour, we need to be on top of our game as well. Find ways to communicate with parents and workers the changes ahead. Consider finding time each and every day to update everyone you work with. Give them a clear plan of what’s ahead and clear ways for them to participate. We may be separated, but that doesn’t mean our ministries are on hold. I’ll share more about how I’m adjusting my plan in the week ahead, but first- let me share my parent email from today. I hope this helps give you some ideas about what to consider when communicating with parents, and maybe even gives you some ideas for your ministry.

Hey Parents,

This week’s update looks a little different, considering everything that’s happening right now around the world. Before I get into the details of how we’ll be adjusting some things in the ministry, I just want to encourage you all with this truth: Jesus is still Lord of all. It’s incredible to me how I’ve been challenged to grow in my faith in the last week as all of this has started to unfold. If I’m honest, I’ve found myself living as if Jesus wasn’t Lord at different points in the last few days. However, this is an opportunity for me to be reminded of the truth I’ve been teaching in Colossians for the last two months: Jesus is Lord. No virus can challenge the authority and sovereignty of our risen King. As one of my favorite songs, In Christ Alone says: “No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand; ‘Til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.” And one more word of encouragement, this time from Martin Luther: “The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.” 

What follows is some details regarding the plan of student ministry in the next couple of weeks:

What will student ministry look like going forward? All of our normal gatherings and activities are postponed for now. We won’t be meeting on Wednesday Nights or on Sunday Mornings for Bible Study. In its place, we’re going to be planning strategic times where we can come together for a time of teaching. Tomorrow night at 6:30pm, we’ll be hosting a YouTube Livestream called Youth Night Live. This Livestream will be on our church’s YouTube page. I want to encourage you to join your students and interact via the comment section. My hope is to still make this as interactive as possible, even though I’ll be sharing via video. 

What about youth events? As of right now, we are going to pause all youth events for the student ministry. Since the goal is to keep people at home as much as possible, we’re going to keep things down to a minimum. However, we will continue with summer camp as originally planned. LifeWay has said they will give communication to all youth leaders the moment any details regarding Fuge Camps changes. As soon as any adjustments need made to our summer plans, I will be sure to let you know.

What can we do as a family during this time? My heart for student ministry is to partner with parents in the discipleship of their students. In many ways, having this season where we cannot gather as we normally would reminds us of the importance of family discipleship. The formation of our teens comes down to parents discipling their kids. I want to do everything I can to help make this task as easy as possible. This is why I’m hosting Youth Night Live on Wednesday night, and it is also why I’ll be sending resources to help you encourage your students to spend time in the Word and in prayer. I’ll also be providing questions to go along with tomorrow night’s devotion. I understand how this task can be seen as daunting- but it is possible. I will be available to you for whatever you need. Let me encourage you to redeem this time! We can do this together! 

How can we stay in touch? Please feel free to text, call, or email me. In addition, I want to strongly encourage all of you to download our church communication app and make a profile, if you haven’t already. From the app, you can interact with my updates, communicate with me via chat, and it’s all streamlined in one place for your convenience. Let me know if you have any questions about setting it up!

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