Father God, I come to you right now with so many different emotions going on inside of me. I look at what is happening in this world right now and it feels like a bad dream. I don’t know what’s true, what’s actual reality and what isn’t. I find myself going to worst case scenario in my head and it leaves me with this weighty uncertainty.
My heart hurts for my kids who don’t get to go back to school and be with their friends and amazing teachers
My heart hurts for the seniors in our ministry who were robbed of their final months together as a class
My heart hurts for senior athletes in high school and college who don’t get to play their last year at school
My heart hurts for my grandparents who have to be away from people right now to stay safe
My heart hurts for elderly people who already feel overlooked that they must stay even more in the shadows right now
My heart hurts for people who are experiencing anxiety and depression because of the isolation
My heart hurts because there are so many people that lost their job
My heart hurts because there are a lot of people sick and hurting
My heart hurts most because there are so many people who are losing hope!
God would you be with those people right now, would you draw near to them, would you reveal who you are to them so that they can experience what true hope looks like.
In this season God would you do a good work in me. There are so many blessings and ways to be thankful right now Father.
I am thankful for a wife who I adore
I am thankful for more time with my 4 kids
I am thankful for a roof over our heads and food to eat and the basic things we take for granted
I am thankful for the weather changing and the warmth of the sun
I am thankful for our health
I am thankful for bikes, baseball, pop a shot and other games we can play right now
I am thankful for technology to still stay in touch with friends and family during this time
I am thankful for the encouraging people in my life that keep me going
I am thankful for my church and the way we are trying to do whatever we can to help people with this season of life
I am thankful for a lot of the distractions that were in my life not being around right now
God I am so thankful for the cross, I am so thankful for the empty tomb and I am so thankful for the grace, mercy and love you pour out over me!
God, this week I am reminded of the purpose this life has, the call you have placed on my life and the reason I live.
Help me be gracious, patient and kind to those I interact with. God give me wisdom and discernment to help however I can with any situation that comes up.
God most of all during this season help me be more like you. Help me see things in my life that need to change and give me the courage and strength to make those changes. God continue to prune the things in my life that need to be pruned.
God maybe most of all help me, during this time, to spend time WITH you. Help me grasp how wide and long and high and deep is your amazing, unfathomable love.
Do immeasurably more right now than I can even imagine. You get the glory for everything God.
Mom or Dad, how do you respond to uncertainty and confusion in your life? When things that are happening in your world, in your personal life, in your work life that you don’t understand, how do you process and how do you respond? Your response to uncertainty in your life will more than likely be your child’s response to uncertainty in their lives. As you parent your child you responsibility first and foremost is to be a reflection of Jesus and show them the Gospel. Your teenager is trying to process through a ton of situations and circumstances all while figuring out who they are. How you parent in times of uncertainty may be some of the most important parenting you will ever do.
Now that you feel the pressure, relax! God would not have given you this task of parenting in the first place if He didn’t think you could do it. He will give you what you need, when you need it, however you will need it. Helping your teenager through uncertainty is a big deal and there will be some common responses you will see and probably feel yourself.
On response is selfishness. I am sure you are fighting self centeredness with your teenager regardless of whats happening in life. Especially when things are crazy around you, self centeredness is a common response because it is a way to have control. Usually uncertainty and confusion means a lack of control. Being selfish is a way to bring everything in to control whats going on. This attitude is the opposite of how God calls us to live.
When you react selfishly you start caring more about your well being than anyone else.
When you react selfishly you make decisions that are all about you.
When you react selfishly you become callus the needs of those around you.
When you react selfishly you relinquish trust in God and act like everything depends on you.
Our selfish response keeps us from living the life that God calls us to live!
Another response to uncertainty and confusion is fear. Being fearful can be paralyzing and hold you back from living the life that God intended. It is natural for teenagers to be fearful of the unknown, the uncertain and the confusing. As a parent, leaning into that fear and uncovering “the why” behind it is so important. Help your teenager realize that our God is the God of hope, not fear. Fear consumes and holds you back, hope multiplies and propels you forward!
When you react in fear you paralyze yourself from what could be.
When you react in fear your focus is on the wrong thing.
When you react in fear your trust is misplaced.
When you react in fear your eyes are closed to what God is doing all around you.
Our fearful response holds us back from living life to the fullest as God intended.
Here are a few passages of scripture to read with your teenager and reflect on with them:
Some questions to help you engage with your teenager:
What things in life are you afraid of? Why?
If God was standing right next to you when you are afraid, would that change anything? Why or why not?
How did Jesus respond to His disciples fear in the passages of scripture above?
What is one small step you can take to be less fearful and less selfish?
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.