So what do we do if “youth ministry” is cancelled? I know many churches are cancelling classes, many are cancelling worship services. A big part of my job has been to visit kids at their sporting events, but those have been cancelled. As youth ministers do we have a job left to do? I would say a resounding YES!!! So many times we focus on what happens 1 hour a week during youth group, but the teens live 167 other hours during the week. Now is a great opportunity to focus on some aspects of ministry that at times get pushed to the back burner. Instead of focusing on the 1 hour a week we have them let’s focus on how we can influence them the other 167 hours. I think this is a good idea! I came up with a pretty complicated formula to explain:
167 > 1.
167 is greater than 1. Pretty profound huh? We have the opportunity to make a big impact during these very uncertain and scary times. Here are a few ideas:
– Encourage Calm and Peace through Social Media
Social Media can be a place where the bigger, the badder, and the scarier something is, the more attention it gets. People love to work others up into a frenzy. We need to be a “non-anxious presence” in the midst of a time of extreme anxiety. I have included two Instagram Scripture pictures to post to help remind people we can have peace and we can trust in God even in these uncertain times.
– Help Teens Not be Anxious
There will be certain teens who will take everything going on in stride and will handle all these changes going on like a rock star. Some teens will not even know anything is going on because they are in their own little world. But we also know teens who are probably freaking out right now. Go through your list of teens and pick out the ones who need some encouragement, who might need a little calming down. Text them, DM them, call them, or pick them up and take them to get ice cream. Spend some time with those teens helping to reassure them. Remind them God is in control and you will be there for them.
Now is also a great time to help parents help their kids who are anxious. I have included a short e-book I made about how to deal with anxious teens. Read it for yourself and give those tips to parents or give the e-book to parents so they have some resources to help their anxious teens.
– Do online lessons
We live in an amazing and incredible time. With so much technology at our finger tips, there is no reason we can’t get God’s message of hope and love out especially during these troubling times. We may not be able to have our regular class or worship times but we can still do a lot of teaching. I know I plan to be on social media putting out devos and thoughts and minute lessons so they will reach my teens.
Some of us may not have equipment to record videos or don’t want to for whatever reason, but there are some pretty awesome lessons, sermons, and devo thoughts online from incredible Christian thinkers. Post links to their videos and send your teens to some awesome quality content. Here is a great 3 minute devo from Tony Evans on “The Spiritual Battle of the Mind.”
– Partner with Parents
This is one of my favorite! As youth ministers we need to be partnering with parents. However, many times this is one of those jobs that can get put off and pushed back. Many teens will be staying at home. Many families will be cooped up together staying out of public spaces. Now is a great time to partner with parents and equip parents to be the spiritual leaders of their homes.
Family Worship – If church services are cancelled, families might be called to do family worship instead of worship at a church building. Some families may not know how to do this at all! Donald Whitney has a fantastic 6 minute video, “How do you do Family Worship.” I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve showed it to my parents at my church and they thanked me for it.
Warn Parents – Many teens sports have been cancelled, for some, school has been cancelled. These teens will be staying at home much more than usual and will have a lot more free time than usual. While some teens might be super productive and use it to catch up on school work and study for upcoming tests, YEAH RIGHT! Extra unsupervised time can be dangerous. Many teens will be flocking to social media and Netflix binging. With the extra time, chances increase exponentially our teens will encounter harmful content or engage in inappropriate behavior.
We need to warn parents of these dangers and equip them with the resources they need to successfully navigate these issues. I have surveyed plenty of resources and I think Covenant Eyes is one of the best.
Another way parents can be proactive with their teens is to set up Parental Controls on their teens phones. Here is a great video for the Iphone and here is one for Android devices.
Just because some youth ministry events have been cancelled or your schedule has changed dramatically because of the corona virus does not mean we can’t still be doing some awesome ministry to our teens. In fact, we have been given some special and unique opportunities we must take advantage of. Good luck and God bless!
 Both pictures are copyright free. I made them myself and used copyright free images from unsplash.com
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