COVID-19 is here at it has completely changed the way we are doing youth ministry, church and relationships in general. Do you have a plan? Have you taken time to be strategic with how you are going to stay in front of your students, to engage them spiritually, to help them have some human interaction. There are students who are going to feel more isolated than ever before and need someone to reach out and care about them. This is a time in our world that is going to change how we do things, I believe for the better! Let's be honest, this quarantine is not for the faint of heart. Let's get into it!!
Your communication has never been more important than right now! Do you have a newsletter, do you have an email list of families to communicate with, are you clear and concise with your information, have you asked for feedback on your communication to families? All of those questions are important. It's time to communicate better.
Does your ministry have a YouTube page, Facebook Group, Instagram, etc? Use it consistently but not to much. If you were used to meeting on Wednesday nights with your crew. Go LIVE on Wednesday nights. and engage with your students. My recommendation is to use Zoom. (www.zoom.us) It is a video conferencing tool that offers a free basic account that gives you a lot of great features to use to interact with a group of people.
Using Zoom, here is what your live service online could look like:
Play a Game - get creative (home hunt - contest to see who can bring the home item to their screen first)
Have a devotional to share, do a S.O.A.P. study with your group over a passage of scripture, show a video
Have some discussion questions ready about the devotional
Ask for Prayer requests
For an awesome tutorial on how to use Zoom and the Sidekick App from DYM (downloadyouthministry.com) check this out: https://blog.downloadyouthministry.com/how-to-use-zoom-and-sidekick-for-youth-group-online/
Be consistent with your LIVE events. Make sure you let your students and leaders know well in advance when and how they can access the event.
Think of fun ways you can engage your students in a fun way throughout the week. We are doing a quarantine challenge. Each week we have a different challenge for our students to record themselves doing.
Week 1 - The Impossible Shot - video record yourself making a trick shot at home
Week 2 - Epic Blanket Fort - video record yourself giving everyone a tour of your blanket fort
Week 3 - Chopped - video record yourself making a delicious gourmet meal, mandatory ingredient is hot dog
We will vote on the best one and then I will probably find a random object laying around, spray it gold, wear a hazmat suit and deliver it to the student who won!
You can have fun in so many different ways. Do not stop trying to help students have fun things to do to engage in your youth ministry. Middle school and high school students are bored, give them something fun to do!
Another thing we can do is set loose our students to do ministry to each other. Why not let your students lead out and give a devotional online? Have students record themselves with a devotional thought, a passage of scripture that has been teaching them something and what they are learning through it. When they send you the video, post it on your social media platforms you use for your social media. Don't stop there, put it out on your churches social media platforms and allow students to lead the way through this weird time. You can leverage students in a lot of different ways. Do not think it all has to be on you!
This gives you, the youth pastor, the opportunity to really minister to students. Phone calls, emails, group chats, zoom hangouts, live events and a myriad of other tools are in play and your students need you to care about them in a way they didn't even realize they needed. Just because you can't be physically in front of your students doesn't mean you can't be relational, care about them and minister to them effectively.
Use this time to kick your ministry up a notch. Pray a lot for our country, for your students and for God spirit to move powerfully in our world.
This deep dive focused on your message presentation and your evaluation of your messages! Lane Jones works with communicators all over the United States and helped write the book, “Communicating For A Change”, with Andy Stanley.
You have to stop thinking about what someone hasn’t ever heard and focus on what they need to hear again!
"Its not the thing we need to hear but the things we need to hear again that make the most impact on our lives”
The Goal of Communication is Life Change! How can you develop content, present that content and give action steps from that content to help people see Jesus more clearly to it changes their life?
"Experience is not the best teacher, evaluated experience is" - Howard Hendricks
"IF you watch yourself preach you will get better or you’ll quit" - Andy Stanley
One basic, easy to implement tip is If you simply just watch or listen to your messages you will at the very least get 50% better. That is easy and everyone can do that right away if you want to.
Lane gave 4 Questions for Evaluating your presentation/message:
Did I Connect?
-Presentation Trumps Information - Content is the medicine - presentation is the instrument to deliver it
-Was I engaging?
-Did I relate to the audience? Have a person in mind as you present & bring the energy!
-if you speak to quickly you’ll lose people
-speaking to slowly will disconnect people more faster than if you are talking to quickly.
Did They Care?
-Adults learn on a need to know basis
-Did I address a felt need in their life?
-Did I apply the tension to as many as possible?
Clarity Questions to develop content:
-What do I want them to know
-Why do they need to know it
-What do I want them to do
-Why do I want them to do it
Was I Clear?
-Don’t raise a tension you’re not ready to answer
-Did I answer the tension?
Can They Change?
-Transformation requires application and recollection
-DId I inspire them to change?
As you develop content, use the word Imagine to help you get where you want to go. Ask "imagine if you would apply what you just talked about, how would your life change? Can you imagine?”
Hope that helps you be a better communicator and gives you some things to think about as you continue to learn and develop that gifting!
Have some thoughts? Comment below to keep the conversation going!