As October comes to an end, and we contemplate ministry this fall/winter, we are still faced with the difficulties of living during this pandemic in a very devasive political climate. For many church leaders, especially youth leaders, not much has changed in twelve months except the number of children and teens who are suffering from this virus. So, where does that leave us? How do we navigate a ministry when so many factors are in play?
While being out talking with youth leaders, many are struggling with similar roadblocks. Here are just a few:
- It is difficult to know who is even a part of the youth group.
- Volunteers are gone or those around do not want to give of their time anymore
- Feeling weary and tired. Being creative and finding new ways to reach teens is exhausting
- There has not been a break in 18 months
- Do we meet face to face? Outside or inside? Wear masks or not? Social distance at youth group?
- What does the future look like for youth ministry?
Here is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give right now. Through all of these questions, exhaustion and uneasiness. Keep the main thing the main thing. Work on relationships. Reach out to teens, their parents and volunteers. Do not worry about how many are showing up for face to face events at the church, keep track of how many interactions (text, social media, phone calls, cards and conversations in the community) you have in a week. Use your time to reach out to them and even meet them where they are (if policies and health permits). Do not keep the expectations we had prior to March of 2020 that our “youth group” happens at the church. It is time we move away from the old model for ministry and start to shape what discipleship with young people will look like post-pandemic.
We address some of these questions in this podcast. But I will continue to address these complications in this blog as we move forward into 2022. Please subscribe and check back.