I know 2020 is not quite over yet, and I still feel like we are in the final stage of Jumangi awaiting the final boss, but from a ministry standpoint, I don’t think I have ever worked so hard in a year than this one. There were so many emotions and decisions and pivots and brainpower used in order to pull off youth ministry this year.

Anyone with me?

Even with all of that I would not take back or wish this year was different from a ministry standpoint (yes from a health and wellness of people point of view, of course). Even though so much happened the amount of innovation, creativity, forced engineering of online services and more, we are FAR better off to reach more students for Jesus than we were before 2020. And I bet, if you look at your ministry now, you could say the same thing too.

Here are some things that have come out of this year that has set us up for the better:

  • Online focus – Like everyone else, we had online as something that was on our list of things to get to but 2020 forced us to make it a priority. There was a time where we did 24 weeks straight of online only ministry. We were forced into it and had to come up with an online strategy in the matter of a few days. Everything went to online because we had to. Now moving forward, even wit meeting again, we are keeping online a main priority. Even to the point of hiring a full time youth lead to own it and make it happen.
  • Put our money where our mouth is with small groups – I have always said in trainings, “If we only could do one thing, it would be small groups” and while we were online only, small groups were really the only thing we could do. So we had to move and shake and rally our leaders to have them take ownership of their groups to continue to minister to their students… and they did in a big way. They did in such a way that most of our leaders have changed up how they minister because they have seen how much intentionality goes in youth ministry.
  • YouTube engagement – YouTube before al this was at 8 subscribers. We just passed 700 now which is awesome. You can see it HERE. But with going online not only would we put our service and messages on there, we came up with fun bits, challenging conversations and videos to be engaging for students. This is something even as we are back we have made a priory in our ministry as we move on.
  • Intentional training with leaders – It’s not like we were not intentional before, but we have become like… really intentional and have come up with some great systems in order to make sure they continue to do so in the future. We came up with EASY WINS and a FOLLOW UP SYSTEM for new students lead out by the leaders.
  • TikTok – I mean, I’m old, and I ran and got out TikTok started and thankfully someone way cooler and younger has taken it over. But we know this is where our youth are and we started it this year in the pandemic and we have it high on our list for engagement in 2021. You can check it out HERE.
  • A new studio – Out of all this, our entire church has rallied and invested into a full blown, legit studio for the church. It started as a makeshift one that was thrown up in 4 days from the awesome digital media team, but now it’s a real-life, professional studio that we just found out we will have for 2 full days a month to use as we wish to film all of our things. You can see an example of what we can do now moving forward HERE.
  • Team buy in – I can say that leading during this time has never been harder. But when you go through something like this last year as a team, I can say there is a team dynamic that I would not change for the world. We all worked really hard, sometimes got frustrated, but rallied together to create some great content I am super proud of. And I can say we all had fun doing it and we are better off as a team for it. And I would not want to change that at all.

Even though this year could have been the worst on a ministry level, if you were to look back, I am sure you will find some great things that have come out from this year that will only better set up your ministry for the better in the months and years to come.

What would those be for you?

@justinknowles3