If you are like most of the US, large gatherings are going to be a rarity for the next 2-8 weeks. How are you adjusting your ministry to fit the new cultural context? What are some ways that you can continue to disciple your students in a manner that is both effective and faithful to your calling as Youth Director?
The R3 staff has been thinking on this for a few days, and we have come up with a list of ways that you can continue to invest in the lives of your students in a less than ideal context.
1. Social Media.
We all know that if there is one constant in our students lives, it is social media. One way to utilize this tool is to offer short, concise, devotionals and challenges that can be watched in a minute or two. Take a two minute video, one each day, that gives them a short "Ted-Talk" about the Christian walk. Then, leave them with a passage to read, and a challenge for that day. Don't make these too long, and be consistent on when you push them to your students. (We are currently filming our 14-Day Challenge series that will be sent out to our subscribers for free later this week!)
We don't recommend lots of one-on-one texting with students, especially with those of the opposite sex. However, we do think that a daily group blast with Scripture is a great way to keep in contact and to remind your students that you are thinking about them and praying for them.
3. Digital Q and A.
Have your students text/email in any questions/fears/concerns/what-ifs that they have. Choose one each day, prepare an answer, film it, and send it out.
4. Zoom/Google Meet/ Etc
Plan a time for all your youth join you in a digital video chatroom. Plan to teach, eat a meal over the cameras together, or simply just catch up with your students. You kids are dying to spend time with you, and this may be the closest they can get for a while. There are many free digital options to choose from, so research which is best for your group.
5. Video Games.
If you aren't a gamer, this may be the time for you to become one. You can chat and play games with your students online. If you don't know how to get started with this, I'm sure you have a youth who would LOVE to get you set up!
6. Write a note.
We don't do much handwriting these days, but there is nothing more special than a handwritten note. Write your students and let them know how much they mean to you and the group. Tell them how you've seen them grow in their walk with God, and encourage them in other areas.
7. Facebook Live.
I know: most of your students don't use Facebook. But, their parents do. This one can be really neat if you have the creative people to make it happen. In place of a physical youth group meeting, have "Youth Group Live!" Run a youth meeting like a late night comedy show (Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, SNL, etc). Plan a monologue at the beginning, have the band play you in and out, talk about what's going on, and give a lesson; all this while streaming on Facebook Live. Your parents will LOVE it, and your kids will as well.
What creative approaches are you taking to stay connected with your students?