I just wanted to send out a quick email to encourage all of you! I know that doing ministry online can be challenging and definitely a learning experience but I want you to know how much I appreciate you and your willingness to participate and be present with our students digitally! Here are a couple of quick reminders as we weather this very different season of ministry:
- This is temporary: At some point, we will go back to regular ministry at church but for now this is just simply a fun, interactive way for us to stay in contact with our students and each other.
- Our students have grown up in an online world: Although this type of format can feel challenging, awkward, and difficult for us who aren’t as familiar with online interactions, remember that our students are very familiar and comfortable with being in community online. I have received several positive responses from parents and students who are really loving this format and opportunity to connect with each other online! So hang in there and know that it will get easier each time we meet up!
- Connection > Content: I know that it can be difficult to get some students, especially introverts, to open up in small group discussions. Don’t get upset or frustrated if you don’t cover all the small group questions in the breakout rooms. What I am hearing from parents is that our students just need to feel connected to our group and have some sense of normalcy in life right now. They are really appreciative to just have some regular meet-ups especially when so much of their regular activities and schedules have been cancelled. They really need community right now, so I would encourage you to use your time together to ask them personal questions about life right now and simply engage in casual conversation. Some sample questions to ask could be: What shows are you watching? What movies are you watching? What foods are you wanting right now? What activities are you doing? How are you feeling about everything going on right now? How have you seen God in your life lately? A tip with any student is to find that specific thing that they are passionate about and they will talk about it a lot! For me as an introvert, I can talk passionately about sports for hours so use this an opportunity to really get to know our students and their passions. Once they open up a little bit, you can close your time with 1-2 questions about the lesson. Remember that all of us are lacking community and connection right now so that is probably the best use of our time together in this season!
- Finally, some fun and simple connection ideas: Here is a link to 30 Ways To Digitally Connect With Students during this season. I would encourage you to try a few as we discover new ways to do ministry with our students together! Although this has been different and challenging, I am really loving this experience because it is allowing me to connect with students in ways that I have never tried before! So allow this to be an opportunity to grow and expand the ways that we love and encourage our students!
Hopefully this is an encouragement to you as we do ministry together! I am so thankful for each of you and the many gifts that you bring to our youth ministry! Thank you for weathering this unique season in our lives and being willing to try new things! You are so amazing and I could not do this without you! Praying for you and your families as we wait for life to go back to “normal” again!