Most of the country is still closed down. Some of it however, is opening back up again! If your leadership is anything like mine, they are stressed out. There’s a whole bunch of new guidelines they are trying to follow while hearing from congregations that they are too afraid and don’t have enough faith or opening up too soon and putting everyone at risk.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, it’s going to be essential that you have a plan in place for how student ministry comes back.
The best way to make sure you are communicating to parents and your community at large that you care about the safety of your students is to make sure that you are following the guidelines. Whether those are CDC, state, or local guidelines, making sure that you are on the same page as the rest of your church and community communicates that you aren’t the irresponsible chubby-bunny-playing youth pastor of the past.
Whatever guidelines your church is using is best. Show that you’re on the same page!
Some stereotypes aren’t bad! The student ministry is typically the area where a church innovates the fastest! Even though you have guidelines to follow, you can get super creative working within that box.
Some churches have done drive-in worship services. What would drive-in student ministry look like?
Does everybody have to stay in their own 6 ft square? That sounds like an awesome game of life-size bingo or battleship.
Just because there are guidelines to follow, it doesn’t mean you are prevented from getting creative!
Hold it loosely
The first plan we made and presented to leadership got shut down. Hard. That’s OK! Like I said, your senior pastor is probably very stressed out. So whenever you make a plan, hold it loosely.
You might think it’s the best thing you’ve come up with since they invented quarantine baking. But your senior pastor may disagree. That’s alright. If they are in the mood to give feedback, ask what you can change or if you need to start from scratch. Remember, leaders aren’t at their best when they aren’t rested and are overstressed. Chances are your senior pastor is both.
Make a plan, but hold it loosely.
You are probably sick of online services. Justin Knowles is. He wrote a great blog about it last week. But you doing online services for students might be the best thing you can do for your pastor and your community. It may even be that right now, the online youth group is working and not rocking the boat.
Give your pastor the gift of not worrying about something that isn’t broken if that’s what they need. Just ask “Is the best thing I can do for you and the church just to keep having online youth group and zoom meetings?”
The answer might be yes (and you might NOT like that), but remember that you’re a part of a team. One that is going through one of the wildest seasons we’ll ever experience.
Make a plan. Follow the guidelines. Get creative. Hold It loosely. Keep going!
What would you add?