In this article your Cadre Missionaries friends (including Mark, Rachel, Dave and Rennie) are going to frame out a plan to keep youth ministry running during this COVID-19 crisis.
Our world is scrambling to figure out how to convert their business and lifestyle onto a digital platform. A lifestyle that includes the requirement of this new reality—social distancing, isolation, and sheltering in place. This is also true for churches and youth ministries. Regardless of your position on live-streaming youth group or church services, we must think beyond simply re-creating what was and look to what is…
Our role has not changed from what it was two months ago. We are shepherds. We are to live, model, and multiply a disciplemaking way of life. Jesus modeled for his disciples the identity of a servant. The identity we embrace impacts what we multiply.
Live, Model, and Multiply a Disciplemaking Way of Life.
1. Live disciplemaking with those you are sheltering with today.
2. Model for others connected to your ministry. Remember this includes students, youth leaders and parents—help them to lift their eyes above their current circumstances. Help them to see how they can leverage this new reality to become friends who follow Jesus together. Invite them into your disciplemaking way of life and find ways to stay connected.
3. Multiply a disciplemaking way of life as we step out of the spotlight. Encourage, resource and support students and their families to follow Jesus together in the new patterns of their COVID-19 life. This includes both their shelter in place buddies as well as those they can reach out to digitally.
Here are a few ideas for living, modeling and multiplying a disciplemaking way of life even in a season of “shelter-in-place.” Pick one that fits you best—then model and implement this as a disciplemaking strategy. Then pick a second one and repeat the process. Begin spreading your own disciplemaking virus.
• Learn from your students: What are they already doing? Let them teach you. A teenager’s drive for community and ingenuity can be an amazing resource. Discover what they are already doing and help them to connect this as a disciplemaking friendship.
• Connect with your students: Don’t miss the daily opportunity to reach into a virtual connection with one or more of the students Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call not just a text or message app.
• YouVersion Bible App: Start a new reading plan. Listen to it with your shelter in place community. Invite students, volunteer leaders and families to join you. Utilize the comment and prayer features.
• Breakfast & Bible Study: Start inviting people to join you for a virtual meal. Use FaceTime groups, zoom, or your favorite video messaging platform. While eating and catching up, share a verse or two that God is using in your life right now. Pray together. Encourage them to invite someone to join them for a future meal.
• Pray: “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3). Pray through your contacts. Message them—tell them you are praying for them. Share with them your prayer. Ask them how you can be praying for them. Encourage them to pray and reach out to their contacts.
• Group study sessions: School is hard enough for some students, shifting to online classes has made things even more difficult. What if you were to host a digital study hall. This allows students to get help from each other on assignments. What if your students were to host virtual tutoring sessions? They could FaceTime with families who have middle school or grade school kids, and help them with their assignments. There are parents out there would would appreciate some extra help with teaching.
• One Another Secret Missions: Each day take a one another command from the Bible and text it as a secret mission to your contacts. Tell them to be creative, and to come up with ways to overflow with God’s love through this one another command. Ask them to report back. How did it go living this out with their family and digital friends?
• Don’t forget to have fun: Years ago, Rachel and I dated long-distance. We played boardgames, watched movies, got McDonald’s ice cream together – over the phone. What could it look like to do this today? Be creative, have fun, and encourage students and families to host long distance gatherings.
• What additional ideas has this list sparked? Add them to your list by writing them down and sharing them. More importantly—give them a try.
Remember, your role has not changed. You are a servant-shepherd who is to live, model, and multiply a disciplemaking way of life. Keep following Jesus with your list of contacts and circle of influence. Equip them to see this world through Jesus’ eyes. Send them to follow Jesus together with their shelter in place community and their circle of influence. Yes, we can spread disciplemaking even as we shelter-in-place. Thanks for joining us, as we follow Jesus together.