Maybe you are like me, but it feels like I have worked harder in the last two weeks than I have in a long time. I don’t know if that has to say more about me or the season that we as a capital “C” Church are in. Maybe it’s because we never have had to pivot as hard as we have in order for ministry to happen, and to make sure our students and families are okay and ministered to.
I see in the DYM Facebook Community how hard and diligently everyone is working to make it happen. I see people sharing ideas of how to pivot to online and be willing to help each other out. I mean, just look at the COVID-19 resource page from DYM! It’s awesome.
I also have noticed something else I see right now, and it could be a trap for youth workers in a season like this:
I don’t know what youth worker needs to hear this, but… stop it.
I have always heard Josh Griffin say, “When you compare, you lose.” What I have seen (or if we are honest, most of it is internal) is this: we see what some others are doing right now and we think, “If I only had the nice equipment, I would have the reach they have.” Or, “If I had staff I could put out a bunch of things too to keep students engaged.” Or, “If I knew how to edit, or go live online and make it look more polished, I would reach more.” You name it, you’ve probably thought it. I know I do sometimes.
My encouragement to all of us in this season is not to worry about what others are doing.
Don’t worry about being flashy… be frequent. I don’t think this is the season for a spectacle. This is not the time for that big, eye-catching event or video. It’s a season of connecting frequently with your students and leaders. Many of them are probably struggling or just needing someone to be consistent in their lives right now. Reach out daily.
Don’t stress about being high production…be highly present. Zoom calls. FaceTime. Gaming. Encouraging leaders to reach out to their students multiple times a week while they are at home. Would it be awesome to have all the nice things to make the online presence look better? Sure. But students want your presence more than that.
Try not to just be hype… have a heart for your students. My friend Jon Rush did this bit on his Instagram story about how some youth workers will try to be so hyped on their Instagram like it’s a live event, when online it comes off as inauthentic. All students want right now (and always, to be honest, because Gen Z values authenticity) is for someone to be REAL. I don’t think students want our hype right now; they want to know you have a heart for them, are a real person, and can share life/struggles/questions and pray with them.
Students want connection more than ever right now. So engage. Lean on your leaders to minister alongside you and keep on ministering to your students like I see many of you are.
Praying for you.
Side note: The Youth Ministry Hacks Podcast has some episodes coming out weekly in this season talking with people about how to best minister during the COVID-19 crisis. So if you are not subscribed, do it today. Click HERE.