Did anyone out there have the same thought I did back in April? This pandemic should be over by the end of summer, and we will be ready to start the new ministry year running full speed. But here we are, knocking on the door of September and things aren’t normal. What do we do now?
Here are some options you might consider for your youth ministry meetings, depending on your situation:
Full Start – Maybe you are in a place where you have permission to meet (from both the health department and your church leadership) and the space to social distance. That is great, but I still encourage you to have a plan that includes spacing plans, mask wearing expectations and guidelines about personal contact limitations. A plan will show parents and your church leaders that you are taking this seriously. It also helps parents make the decision as to whether they are going to let their teenager attend your youth meeting.
Small Groups in Homes – If a full start won’t work because of numbers and/or distancing guidelines, consider meeting in small groups in leaders’ homes. For the same reasons as above, I still recommend having a safety plan. If choosing this option, provide the following for each small group leader:
- Small group game ideas
- Lesson plan to teach or video to show: when meeting in small groups, a 25-30-minute lesson probably won’t work. Consider a 10-minute abbreviated lesson followed by some intentional discussion starter questions. The lesson could be taught live or you can utilize a video lesson.
- Lesson discussion questions.
Zoom Meetings – If meeting in person is still not possible, Zoom meetings are a great alternative. I would structure the meetings very similar to small groups. A Zoom friendly game that lasts less than 10 minutes (there are a ton available online now), a 10-minute lesson and then break into small groups for discussion. For the 3 months that our youth group met over Zoom, the small group time was the most valuable and is what kept our students coming back each week.
Parent Lead at Home – If none of the above options are going to work for you, equipping parents is a great plan. Provide parents with the same resources you would a small group leader; after all, they are the primary disciplers of their teenagers.
There are more options, but these four are a great way to get your creative thinking rolling.
Coming Soon: Fifty1 REMIX! If you are a subscriber to the Fifty1 Student Ministry Curriculum, we are working on an extra option for you this year. We’re reformatting our lessons into 10-minute segments to be provided in both video and lesson plan forms. That way, you can either utilize the 10-minute video we give you, or teach the 10-minute lesson yourself! Don’t worry– we are still providing the normal teaching notes for a full lesson of 20-30 minutes so that you can use what works best for you. Check out our Facebook page for more information on REMIX.
Brian has been in youth ministry for 23 years. He is passionate about communicating truth to young people and the leaders that work with them. Brian loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. He and his wife Lynn have three awesome teenagers and live in upstate, NY.