With all the Coronavirus/Covid-19 health scare going on right now in the world, I thought it was time to resurrect an old series of blog posts here. Today on the “Things You Don’t Learn in Bible College” series is the doing ministry in the middle of a health crisis.
When I was in Bible College, I learned a lot of amazing things. While I’ve heard some say their experience was a waste of time, I really enjoyed my schooling. Though I learned a lot about putting together a great ministry strategy, how to translate Biblical Greek and Hebrew, and how to craft a great Bible study. But we never heard anything about how to minister to people in a health crisis like the one we are currently experiencing. In all seriousness, though, who would have expected we would need to know that?
Fast forward a few years (not willing to say how many), and we have quite the situation on our hands! As the world makes really difficult decisions to adjust, the main concern is keeping people safe and healthy. But what does ministry, specifically student ministry, look like at a time like this?
The other day, I had the opportunity participate in a webinar with about 100 other youth workers across the country to discuss how we’re all adapting our ministries during this season. I was asked to speak about how to do games online, so I shared my knowledge on the topic. It was a great time of learning from each other.
I’ve also been in several online video conferences and online groups with other youth workers, where we have helped each other brainstorm innovative ways to minister but also prayed for each other as we all struggle through this.
One thing that I love about all of this is that it’s bringing the church together in a new and fresh way. The youth ministry networks that I am a part of are leaning on each other more than ever, and I believe we will all benefit from our networking and partnership!
As far as the student ministry of my own church, I wanted to share just a bit about what we’re doing to meet the needs of our students, parents, and leaders. Our focus continues to be on the 4 pillars of our ministry:
Here is specifically how we have adjusted during the quarantine:
- Stepping up our social media & YouVersion Bible app presence to share devotions, games, encouragements, & quick video encouragements/devos from other students and leaders.
- Emails and social media posts to equip parents with resources and encouragements that will be beneficial to them during this time. There are some great resources out there from organizations like Orange.
- Both high school and middle school small groups are meeting online through video chats. We are also equipping the small group leaders to make additional “touches” throughout the week through texts, social, video, and phone calls. Some are even going “old school” and writing cards/letters.
- Online Game Nights to have fun and connect with new students. (Click here if you want some suggestions on how to do this.)
- Urging students and families to attend the online worship services our church is posting online.
- Encouraging students and families to reach out to their neighbors and community to meet needs and look for ways to share Jesus in the middle of this crisis and confusion. Our church has several community partners, but we’re also encouraging students to look directly around them for needs.
On top of all this, we’re asking people to be praying for our students as they adjust to doing school online, especially those who are seniors. Many of them are struggling with anxiety in these rapidly changing times as they try to figure out what is next in the middle for them regarding their senior milestones and life after high school. We also have a couple leaders who have respiratory issues and another one or two who are at the “high risk” age, so we’re also praying for them.
And know that I’m praying for you. As you navigate these difficult waters, remember that God is with you. In fact, I’m excited about what God is going to do through all of us during these times. Instead of living life from one Sunday or Wednesday to the next, now we are freed up to really focus on true ministry. Just remember to take regular breaks and rest, as it can be easy to run out of gas during a time like this. Take moments to check your “gauges” and continue to lean upon God instead of your own strength and understanding! Through Him and Him alone, we’ve got this!!
Hey, if nothing else, maybe something like this will teach some of those middle schoolers about proper hygiene. Am I right?!? Ha!!
How are you adjusting to ministry during this time? Share some of your ideas in the comment section!