Lately we have been finding ourselves logging a lot more screen time. Who knew that was possible? Youth ministry has definitely not been immune to this.
The explosion of screen time has not been all bad. Often times it has meant we are staying connected, albeit virtually, and often even connecting with more people and more often than we might have in the past. For many of us it also meant finding innovative ways to continue to try and reach students, engage with them, and disciple them.
We want to applaud you for the work you have been doing during this crazy time.
You may have noticed yourself and your students though starting to get video fatigue. While sometimes this does have to do with not having the will to sit through another zoom call, it typically has to do with fatigue that is related to non-interactive video content. This could be video Bible studies or even in person movie nights because your church was able to open up and you are unsure of how to do that and social distance.
Please know there is no judgment here. We are all scrambling and learning on the fly in order to meet needs, keep our ministries going, and continue to let students know they are loved. However, I did want to let you know of another shift you can make in your ministry to rejuvenate your time with your students.
This is a shift that we made prior to the pandemic because we felt it was the direction youth ministry needed to head, but have found it to be extremely beneficial since this season began.
This shift was a move to digital sermons and curriculum. What this means is that whoever is teaching and wherever they are teaching from can login from their own device to access curriculum, outlines, and small group questions.
This has allowed us to do several things.
First, no matter what situation we find ourselves in we can continue to have actual lessons and Bible studies. As I alluded to before this has helped with the video fatigue that was creeping in because our students know they will be receiving a personal lesson from someone they know and trust. Plus, they will have the opportunity to connect and interact.
Second, it has saved us a lot of time. No more copying, re-ordering, re-distributing, etc. Time is always one of our most precious youth ministry resources, but recently it has become even more valuable as we never know what new challenge to overcome or problem to solve each day will bring. We now have more time to handle those effectively and creatively and to most importantly stay connected with our students.
Finally, at least for this post, it is just a good look. We are not about worrying what others think of us all the time. But right now when we are trying to set a good example of social responsibility and make people feel more comfortable about a possible return to normal services(our opening just got pushed back another month) this is just a little way we can say we are trying to help. Meaning, “We are not going to hand you a stack of papers that you are going to wonder if it has germs every week.”
I do want to re-emphasize that while a shift to digital curriculum has great benefits right now for youth ministry, you can see clearly, especially in my second point, that this has benefits far beyond a global pandemic. This can free up time and financial resources that could be re-invested other ways and transform your youth ministry.
We believe this so much that we built this into the Youth Ministry Toolbox. Our site , https://youthministrytoolbox.com , digital retreat/Disciple now curriculum, Sunday School/Bible Study curriculum, and sermon outlines with small group questions. This means you can have the same great benefit of you and your leaders having access to engaging curriculum whoever is teaching, wherever they are, and whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
I encourage you to check it out and start transforming the way you do youth ministry today.