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Youth Group Online: Taking your programming to the next level

Doug and Josh share what’s next for their ministry’s weekly programs and what might be next for yours in this 45 minute video training. Hint: it’s less about improving production quality and more about improving the quality of their interactions with students.

Whether you are using video chat tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts, or live streaming tools like Youtube live or Instagram live this video is for YOU.

More Interaction > Better Production

THIS IS A TIME FOR CHANGE! You don’t have to necessarily transport the same youth group experience to the online world. You don’t have to do the traditional programming! This time is a time of change, a release from the pressure you are putting on yourself. Ministry is going to (and SHOULD!) look and feel different in this season. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just connect with students, encourage them, let them be heard, spend time together as a group. It reminds me of what youth ministries do in the summer months. Highly relational, quick teaching, less structure, more hang time.

You already know this — students’ biggest need right now is for connection and community. This is one of the reasons why many of you are choosing to use a platform like zoom — to connect face to face with your students. We are focused on keeping these ideas simple so literally anyone can use them.

We think there is SO much you can do with these platforms that may give you an even bigger opportunity to create powerful moments with your students! We want to help you capitalize on this unique opportunity.


  • FUN: Make each service unique and memorable, beware of ruts / order of service format you get stuck in really quickly. This is what DYM is best at, simple easy fun for your screen and your stream. Silly, over the top, it all works online.
  • CONNECTION: Plan for time to socially connect (before, during or after your program) Encourage interaction. Everyone here has a keyboard & mic now, not just the YP. Prioritize being REAL over delivering a WOW. After your “show” break into Zoom small groups. Start a “watch party” on Netflix. Connection is king.
  • MESSAGE: Get students moving around the location they’re watching from. Active vs passive listening. When you talk about darkness, have them turn off the lights in their room. Don’t do what we’ve always done. Think interviews, panels, testimony, quicker/shorter teaching snippets. Teach the word … don’t think what worked offline will work online. ((saw a 50m teaching from a youth worker, she was great but it was too long, saw another that would impress his seminary professor with his knowledge, but kids were dying the chat and dropping off)
  • CHALLENGE: Give them a couple ways to grow on their own. Point them toward a YouTube video, give them a downloadable resource to use until you meet again.
  • SPRINGBOARD: To post something on social media. To serve in their neighborhood. To invite a friend to next week’s interaction. Use your stream as the BEGINNING, not the end. It’s a shot in the arm (can we say that?) to continue to grow in their faith.

Theme the Stream/Program

  • Prioritize being REAL over delivering a WOW
  • Make each service unique and memorable
  • This may be the first time you’re in their space. Program time for them to share.

Find entire programs designed for running youth group online on

Pre-show / Countdown

  • Keep it simple
    • Google “Countdown timer” then click full screen
    • Point the camera at your microwave or coffee pot… when the microwave beeps, or the coffee is done brewing the show starts.

Find relevant countdowns you can use on


  • Get students moving
  • Encourage interaction. Everyone here has a mic now, not just the YP.
  • Make space to socially connect (not just programming).

Find games designed for running youth group online on


  • less is more
  • doesn’t have to be musical

Find worship elements designed for running youth group online on


  • Use your camera point at different things. Invite them into your space.
  • Use the chat to invite discussion.
    • Use scales (“on a scale of 1-10”). This encourages people to think about the intensity of their feelings/thoughts.
    • Ask students to post an EMOJI of how they feel right now. The chat will be FILLED with simple emojis, each telling a story.
  • Have your students use objects around them for your object lesson
  • Write on something like a whiteboard or large piece of paper that they can see.
    • tip: there is a whiteboard app built into zoom
  • Hand teaching/moments over to students (testimonies, “how have you felt about ____, [name]”

Find teaching resources designed for running youth group online, many that include small group discussion material, on

Small groups

  • This is the most important part of the whole program, so prioritize the time spend on that and cut other elements of your program short if needed
  • Set your small groups leader(s) up to win
    • share this post and video with them

Find curriculum designed for running youth group online on

Attn: Become a contributor!

You are doing great stuff in your ministries… we are looking for creative ideas that align with these values listed above. If you have created a resource like this for your ministry, we want to publish that on!

We are looking for killer, relevant, trench-tested resources to share with our youth ministry community.

This is a unique opportunity because in this season we are publishing days after a resource has been submitted, rather than weeks. Join the DYM author community today! More detail on getting published here.

In this unique season we may bend some of our rules, so if you have any questions about publishing shoot them to the queen of the DYM “pipeline”, Michelle on the DYM team.
– Doug Fields

Learn how to run your program online, technically

Our team has put together a few tutorial videos to help you get the tech set up for running your youth group online. We made these videos for the LEAST tech savvy… so if you need help with that, check out these videos below. We will be adding new videos throughout the next few weeks.

Setting up your Audio in Zoom




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