What Does Youth and Young Adult Ministry Look Like During a Pandemic?
I’ve been thinking about what youth and young adult ministry looks like during a pandemic. First, this whole experience points out how connected we all are. How our choices impact others. How, in a time when we‘re asked to distance ourselves, we crave connection.
For our young people, this may add a greater level of anxiety, too. While getting extra days off from school may sound fun at first, it does bring big questions about teaching and learning strategies, sadness over sports and events being cancelled, challenging family logistics (I now have both my sons at home with me, yes they are 17 and 19, but still, what a change for me and for them), and uncertainty that puts everyone on edge.
This led me to ask, how might we continue to or begin to minister to our Eastern District Youth and Young Adults during a pandemic? Which led me to connect via email and then Zoom with one ED regional youth and young adult to ask, what do you need right now? We shared ideas and decided we needed to connect. It didn’t need to be perfect, it didn’t need to be programmed, it just needed to be.
Last Friday a group of Eastern District Youth and Young Adults gathered via Zoom for a virtual campfire. We sang our favorite songs as suggested by many via our youth and young adult Instagram account, connected with each other in small groups for Bible study led by one of our Young Adults, and shared our joys and concerns before praying together. We enjoyed it so much, we decided to meet every week. This week’s theme is Show and Tell, show and tell us something you care about, we’ll show and tell you something about what we care about, the Bible and YOU!
What questions are you asking about youth and young adult ministries:
What do our youth and young adults need from us right now?
You are a consistent voice in their lives. Now is not the time to be silent just because church programming has stopped. If you do not have youth programming, now is the time to start again. What words might they need to hear from you? Encouragement, assurance, a prayer from you? Go there with them. Let them know that though they’re physically distanced they are not socially distanced.
What resources do our youth and young adults need?
This is a time when youth and young adults may need some hand-holds to navigate the experience. How might you help them deal with fear, grief, the unknown, family relationships, friendships, etc? How might you help them talk with God?
How might you continue to or begin to minister to youth and young adults beyond Sunday morning or youth and young adult group programming? What if you ...
- Set up a dedicated blog or group for youth and young adults to connect, share their thoughts, and pray for each other?
- Create a space where your group could discuss and pray for the world and those impacted by this event (the poor, the marginalized, the most vulnerable)?
- Consider ways to support the most vulnerable in your faith community-the elderly. How might you encourage them and provide for them? What might it feel like to be especially impacted by this disease?
- Email questions to parents that they can discuss with their kids along with a prayer they can pray together?
- Set up a dedicated group video meeting to talk with youth and young adults? Use Zoom, a basic account gives you up to 40 minutes per gathering and is open to 100 participants. And, it’s free and offers free online training. Other platforms include GroupMe, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
- Give your volunteer youth leaders online tools to continue to minister with their students (and you check in with them)?
- Do fun types of gatherings online, there are actually great classic games that you can play with your youth and young adults via phone apps – like the UNO card game app and even light competitions like connect 4.
- Playing multiplayer video games with your youth and young adults can also be a way to fellowship without meeting in a physical space, but again, as the medium is the message, we always need to be careful about this.
- Sending out little vlog videos to your youth and young adults via TikTok or Instagram stories can also help youth and young adults engage with you and your leaders. They’re going to be spending a lot more time on their devices, so we should aim to be where they are in this regard.
- Help your youth and young adults put together media watch lists and music playlists. Perhaps there are shows that you recommend to your youth and young adults that could help foster really good conversations with them, or specific music that you think could be helpful to them during this anxious time.
- Call them, text them, message them. Remind them where their hope comes from.
- Keep in mind that Lady Gaga’s latest music video, Stupid Love, was shot entirely with an iPhone 11 Pro. You don‘t have to watch it to understand the fact that you’ve probably got most, if not all, of the tools you already need to do this!
Don’t feel the need to do everything or feel discouraged by your lack of experience in this arena. We are all new at this! Remember that at the end of the day your personal communication with the youth and young adults is what matters most.
If you have questions or thoughts about how I can serve you better during the Covid-19 pandemic, or want to share Youth Ministry Ideas contact Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at [email protected].
Did You Know?
The energy grows as young children and youth, along with adults, are welcomed and gather as a community at Estamos Unidos, an emerging ministry of the Moravian Church, SP, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Their stated goal is: “We strive to build a supportive community that reaches beyond the barriers of language and culture, allowing us to discover God at work in the world around us.”
Their time together opens with a short story from scripture, song and prayer. Then the age groups divide up and go to their respective areas to play interactive games, do craft projects, receive tutoring in math, learn and practice English and Spanish, learn to play the keyboard and guitar, and receive GED instructions to obtain a diploma. They also facilitate other services such as personal money management, visiting with people who are part of the surrounding community, taking part in summer programs, as well as assisting with the food and clothing services, which are housed in the Sunnyside Ministries building, in which Estamos Unidos meets. The evening closes with a snack and beverage.
This ministry continues to grow, which increases the need for volunteer assistance with the variety of activities that are offered year round. The requirement for volunteers is a “desire to serve and share God’s faith, love and hope with the Latino community”. You do not need to speak Spanish – simply come with an open heart to meet people of different cultures. If you would like to join this dynamic community, please contact Rev. Angelica Regalado Cieza at [email protected] or by phone at 336-770-9708. If you live further away from the Winston-Salem area, or outside North Carolina, accommodations can be arranged for you and others to stay nearby and take part in support of this ministry and the many ways it serves the community around it.
Mondays & Thursdays, 6-9 pm
May 7 – June 8, 2020 (Except May 25 & June 4)
Bahnson Center or via Real-Time Distance Learning
Instructor: Rev. Maggie Wellert
Pilgrimage Toward Racial Justice and Healing
All active clergy are invited to register for the province-wide pilgrimage in Atlanta and Montgomery, September 22-25, 2020. Registration deadline is June 1; cost is only $250 per person. The pilgrimage will feature spiritual guides Frank Crouch discussing the Moravian Church’s relationship with slavery and racism and Dr, Catherine Meeks bearing witness to the sin of racism and offering encouragement to work toward creating beloved community.
Participants will visit the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, both in Montgomery. The time will be infused with worship, prayer, and fellowship. All pastors are urged to register now. Registration materials have been sent to every pastor or ask Betsy Miller ([email protected]) for more information. For lay leaders; please encourage your pastor to participate in this groundbreaking event.
Funding God’s Work: A Call for Grant Applications
By Vince Holbrook
Thanks to the generosity of donors to the new Moravian Field of Interest Funds, your Moravian Ministries Foundation in America (MMFA) is now in a position to make grants for ministries that provide:
- Housing & shelter
- Healing & health
- Prison ministry
On Valentine’s Day, MMFA awarded 13 grants totaling $6,500 to ministries associated with feeding the hungry. This new grant cycle focuses on areas of ministry where the core purpose is not providing food.
Application & Timing
“We encourage US Moravian congregations, agencies, fellowships, and ministries to apply for grants to support their work aligned with Jesus’ Parable of the Sheep and Goats from Matthew 25,” said MMFA President & CEO Chris Spaugh.
The first step in making an application is to schedule a consultation with Chris Spaugh. His email address is [email protected]. His office phone number is 336-725-2589. If your project meets the basic criteria, Chris will provide you with an application. The consultation should assist you in making the strongest application to the most relevant fund for your project.
The deadline to submit a completed grant application is June 1, 2020. The Grant Advisory Team will review the applications, along with any supporting materials, and make recommendations. MMFA will announce grant awards on July 6, 2020 (anniversary of the martyrdom of Jan Hus). The funds will also be provided to the recipients at that time.
During these times of isolation, the IBOC is offering some ideas to keep your spirits lifted, and your outlook bright! Shop at the Store.
MORAVIAN MUSIC CDs
Definition of Play: 1. to engage in recreational activity; to amuse or divert oneself; frolic; sport. 2. to perform on a musical instrument. The woodwind Parthien of David Moritz Michael (1751-1827) convey delightfully both of these meanings. The works are technically challenging enough to interest both the capable amateur and the professional performer; and they are works containing humor and whimsy, even in their most serious moments, to engage the mind and heart of both performer and listener. David Moritz Michael (1751-1827) was born in Germany, and became a member of the Moravian Church when he was thirty years old. He taught in the Moravian school at Niesky and came to America in 1795. His official church position was as a worker with the young men of the congregations in Nazareth and Bethlehem, PA, but his contributions to the musical life of the settlements was great.
LOOKING FOR SOME LIGHTER, BUT INSPIRATIONAL READING?
Check out these books from our own Bishop Kay Ward and enjoy some discounts too!
PARK BENCHES, Bishop Kay’s fourth offering is filled with reflective, funny and inspiring stories that can be used as daily reflections, or just a good story to share! The Psalms lead us through Kay’s reflections, reminding us how the Bible writers also shared their personal reflections on life. As Kay notes: “These are events in my life that make me smile or laugh out loud. Sometimes they make me tear up or make me stop and take notice. Each story is a blessing because it reminds me that God lurks in the ordinary moments when I begin to pay attention.” Don’t miss any of Bishop Kay’s books! Paperback, 120 pages $12.95
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AND THESE PRETTY, PASTEL WINDOW DECORATIONS WILL FILTER THE SUN THROUGH YOUR WINDOW IN A COLORFUL WAY.
These stained-glass Moravian Star Suncatchers are designed to be hung in a window, are flat on the back with star points on the front. Handmade in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Available in blue, red, yellow, purple and light blue. Approx. 4″ high.