The world has been thrown into a confusing and chaotic time with the spread of Corona Virus. Our daily lives have changed dramatically, and our perspective has shifted. I watch television shows from two years ago and see two characters hug. I then think, “Wow. How irresponsible of them.” But then I remember, we are in a much different place today than we were two years ago.
Ministry is About People
This pandemic has drastically changed how Ministry is done. I spoke to a check out woman at Walmart last week, and we started discussing that I was a Youth Pastor, and she asked how that was going. I told her, “It has been a transition. I became a student pastor to help people and we are in a situation where we are not allowed to see people”. With all this said, we have all adjusted the way we minister to our students. Your days are probably filled with zoom meetings, and Facebook live sermons. The problem is that we might be putting a lot of content out, but we have to also make sure that we are still connecting to the hearts of our students, and that comes with us getting information from them.
Whatever Way You Can Connect
I continue to remind myself throughout these weeks that the heart of what I do in ministry is connecting with students and their families. These are some things to think about while we are connecting with our students. These ideas are not exhaustive, they are not ground breaking, and I tried to stay away from discussing the specific technology we are using. There are articles and videos all over the place talking about what technology you can use, and I encourage to look at those if you need inspiration. However, when thinking about ways to connect with your students, don’t reinvent your ministry. You should connect with students in platforms you were connecting before, and in ways you know your students will be able to see your attempts to connect. Whatever works for your ministry is the correct approach, and every student might not be able to connect the same way. I have students that would die if they had to talk on the phone, so those I text. I also have students who need to have face to face or voice interaction. You know your students and their families. Figure out what is the best way to get in touch with them. Once you are connected, what should you talk about? Here are some ideas you can keep in mind when you are connecting.
Find Out How They Are
First, ask your students how they are doing. This process of staying home has had a completely different effect on every person. I have talked to students who are thriving in isolation. There are also students who are going out of their minds. There are some that are scared or angry at the things that they are missing. The first place to start when connecting is to get a picture of where they are at, and figuring out how you can best pray for them.
Have Some Fun
Something that I have tried to do in my connecting is to talk about more that just being at home or the corona virus. The best way I have found is every week I come up with a fun question that any one can have an answer to. For example, one week our question was, “What are your top 3 favorite Disney Movies?” Whatever you talk about, make sure that it is fun and encouraging.
Talk About The Bible
I do not know to what extent you are still teaching. I am still teaching live stream lessons on Sundays. Then throughout the week I try to ask my students questions about the lesson. I try to give them bite size chunks of verses they can read. I want to stay connected, but I also want to help them to continue to spiritually grow in their relationship with the Lord.
Don’t Do It All By Yourself
If you have volunteers get them involved. You can ask them to make calls or have them be on Zoom Small group meetings. Whatever kind of team you had before this pandemic, you should still use them to help minister to your students. Whenever they connect to a student, remind them to keep you informed with what they talked about so it can lead you when you talk to that student. You are a team, and even in this situation you can work together to help the students the Lord has placed in front of you. It can also be important to make sure you are also connecting with your volunteers. We have to ask them how they are doing and help them where we can
Make Sure Parents Are Involved
When you are connecting with students through any form, it is always best to make sure parents are fully aware of the ways you are communicating to them. One thing that could be helpful is to ask the parents for students contact information, and ask the parent when is the best time and way to get in touch with their student. An effective minister is always connecting and communicating with both the parents and the students.
Whatever ways you have found that work keep them up. We have to make sure that our students can rely on us, this can be hard and time consuming, but connecting is such a huge part of ministry. Find what works for you (Add period and start new sentence with “it”) it might be contacting a couple students a day. It also might be setting aside a whole day every week to contact as many students as you can. You know your ministry. Whatever works for you is what is best. Just be consistent.
Show The Love of Jesus Even Over the Phone
The thing that should define our Christian life is the way we love others. 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” The thing we must remember when we are connecting with others in these confusing times is that we must always be showing the love of Jesus Christ. This may look different over the phone, or on a zoom call, but whatever you can do to show your students love, do it. We love others, because Christ loved us first, and that love should drive the way we connect with our ministry.