By Holly Kilfoyle
Student ministries director
Avondale Baptist Church
A week and half ago it was youth ministry “as usual” or at least as “as usual” as 2020 gets! This week, enter the COVID-19 quarantine, and everything is turned upside down. What is a youth pastor to do?
Well, members of the AZSBC Student Leaders Facebook group got together for a Zoom meeting to discuss the possibilities. The meeting was facilitated by Chad Murrell, lead pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale and Tyler Trusley, student pastor at Cross Church in Surprise.
In a round-table style discussion in front of computers, tablets and phones, the consensus of the group was that we must stay connected to our students, but how?
Social media is probably the biggest connection. Leaders are posting live worship, short Bible study videos, and hosting Q&A times where leaders and teens can interact. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are the apps of choice. Zoom video conferencing allows teens and leaders to see each other live and to hold a Bible study or chat session.
One great idea is to hold a photo scavenger hunt where students receive a list of items to photograph and post on a social media platform. In one instance, the youth pastor had a pizza delivered to the winner’s home! Also, a virtual movie night can be accomplished via Netflix and a Chrome plugin.
Fun and games are great, but keeping students connected at a spiritual level is the goal. There are many ways to share Bible studies including recording your own teaching. There are also many livestreamed or pre-recorded options. RightNow Media has Bible study videos that can be streamed and shared with students.
Youth Ministry 360 is offering free of charge “Youth Group at Home” on Wednesday nights. It is a livestream Bible study on the book of Colossians. Download Youth Ministry is a great source that offers interactive games, devotionals, teaching and training videos. YouVersion Bible app has a new prayer platform and lots of devotionals and ways to read the Bible together online.
One key to keeping connected is to interact with parents as well as teens. Texting, FaceTime, and old-fashioned email and phone calls can help keep families in the loop and close to leaders and the church on a personal level.
We’re living in a tough time, but that doesn’t mean that ministry comes to a halt. On the contrary, there are so many ideas and new ways to stay connected. The Zoom meeting concluded with a prayer time lifting up our churches, students, parents and leaders. We all look forward to the time that we can resume ministry “as usual.” I wonder what the new “as usual” will look like.