Youth gatherings provide young church members with the guidance and support they need to continue growing in Christ. This is especially so in the new normal when there’s a greater need for stability. Christian youths need to stay engaged as this helps them to navigate the challenges and cope with the fears brought about by the pandemic.
However, making youth gatherings more interesting may have been easier in the past before social distancing became a thing. But now, it requires Youth Ministries to be more creative than usual. Thankfully, there are several new normal practices that any church in Brandon (or anywhere for that matter) can incorporate successfully.
Use Social Media
Social media is one of the best youth-friendly ways to do the Lord’s work in the new normal. The fantastic news is there are many platforms that allow the youth to gather in one place virtually.
Since the young generation spends most of their time on their smart devices, Youth Ministries might as well utilize the social media opportunity. Reaching out via the youth’s favorite channels keeps things exciting and ensures students remain engaged throughout.
For instance, YouTube is a hotspot for daily vlog videos, which can also be shared via Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, TikTok and its short-form videos are popular for delivering a quick devotional message, humorous skit, or updates about future gatherings. Then there’s also FaceTime, Facebook, Snapchat, and Discord.
These have proven to be reliable vehicles for keeping the youth engaged and spreading the light they need to adjust to the new normal.
The Youth Ministry should embrace technology in the new normal. Thankfully, the world was already moving in this direction, so the software and hardware needed to facilitate youth gatherings online are already available. For starters, any church in Brandon can sign up for a free Zoom meeting or WebEx account. This allows the hosting of video conferences and live services with students without worrying about social distancing and sanitizing.
Students can engage with each other in the comfort of their own home, and if the church is able, they can also invest in software that monitors and tracks attendance. The data collected can be used to determine what needs to be changed when attendance drops and what students need more of to remain motivated.
Provide Additional Resources
In this new normal, it’s imperative for the church in Brandon or elsewhere to provide the youth with any additional resources they need. Youth gatherings can only be kept interesting if everyone participates with a hopeful and optimistic spirit.
Adjusting to the new normal isn’t as easy for everyone. Research has shown that social distancing and quarantining can cause stress, irritability, fear, frustration, boredom, plus other negative emotions. Those who are particularly vulnerable need more words of encouragement, assurance, and prayers.
Therefore, the Youth Ministry can benefit from initiatives like a dedicated call line for those impacted by the pandemic or extra group video meetings. These prove that the Christian community and God’s love and support are not limited by distance. Additionally, the youth should constantly be reminded that God never wants his people to fear, but to trust in him, always.
Organize Events to Reconnect
The Youth Ministry has had to spend a lot of time apart, but, thankfully, there are always opportunities for physical youth gatherings. When such “reunions” come up, it helps to organize a special event or two that involves oodles of fun for all. This goes a long way towards relieving any negative emotions caused by the new normal.
After all, young people thrive on social interactions, and seeing their friends up close will keep them from becoming disconnected. In addition, they get the chance to share their pandemic experiences and the critical lessons they learned through God’s love.
Incorporate Fun New Normal Activities
Besides fun physical gatherings, there are still plenty of opportunities to make youth gatherings fun online. For example, there are many multiplayer games the Youth Ministry can incorporate to keep things lively and exciting. This is important because young people should understand that serving God and doing his work doesn’t mean people stop doing the fun stuff, even when there’s a pandemic.
However, it may take some creativity and research to discover games or movies that are clean and enjoyable for everyone. The best thing is to have the youth come up with their own ideas, and take turns to choose what movie to watch, game to play, or music to listen to during screen sharing time.
Stick to the Core Teachings
It’s important to consider the youth during these challenging times and ensure that their church life is still fun and interesting. However, it’s also essential to ensure there are as few disruptions as possible to doing the Lord’s work. Therefore, let the Youth Ministry focus on the core teachings – consistently preaching God’s work and spreading his love, with a bit of fun as the cherry on top.