Youth Ministry in a Time of Urgency Part 2: Resources

At this point, many of us have had a couple of days to think through how we’re going to adjust our normal gathering times. I know that Wednesdays are a popular time for student ministries. At my church, Wednesday night is our main worship gathering. As we are considering how to find new ways to accomplish the purposes of this gathering, I wanted to take some time today to compile some of the resources I’ve been looking at to help make decisions for my group.

If you don’t know where to start, I would encourage you to start here. Doug Fields and his team at Download Youth Ministry created this webpage last Friday, and they’ve been updating it with a steady stream of resources ever since. There are free interactive games, social media graphics to help you interact with students, and even lessons you can use in a pinch. You can also check out their blog post with great ideas here.

This video is from a gaming perspective, I believe; however, the principles still apply. His explanation is clear, and the software he discusses is completely free. If you’re looking to start with YouTube streaming, watch this video! (As a side note, we’re looking at streaming on YouTube this evening, so I’ll share more about how it goes and why we chose this platform tomorrow.)

So, how does all of this play out on the most practical level? I’ve attached the link to our Covid-19 page on our church website. Here, we’re updating our people on the latest information regarding service times and posting resources for families to use in their homes. This page is going to be updated often, so feel free to check back from time to time to see how our strategy changes.

What about you? What resources have you found useful? Feel free to share them below! Remember, we’re in this together!

Youth Ministry in a Time of Urgency Part 1: Communication

“We’re in uncharted waters,” many have said, describing our current situation. I think this phrase is an understatement in many ways. I’ve spent most of my day sending out emails and in meetings trying to figure out how to do ministry as the recommendations for the number of people who can gather together become less and less.

My heart behind this series is to try to create a few small resources to help my fellow youth workers as we walk through this together. Once again, this is not only a chance to streamline my thoughts into something more coherent, but to help give you things to consider as you seek to lead your student ministry through this crisis.

Which leads me to my first reminder: communicate! Our schedules are anything but normal right now. In fact, I just had two weeks worth of planning wiped away in the blink of an eye, but that’s okay! With new information coming out every hour, we need to be on top of our game as well. Find ways to communicate with parents and workers the changes ahead. Consider finding time each and every day to update everyone you work with. Give them a clear plan of what’s ahead and clear ways for them to participate. We may be separated, but that doesn’t mean our ministries are on hold. I’ll share more about how I’m adjusting my plan in the week ahead, but first- let me share my parent email from today. I hope this helps give you some ideas about what to consider when communicating with parents, and maybe even gives you some ideas for your ministry.

Hey Parents,

This week’s update looks a little different, considering everything that’s happening right now around the world. Before I get into the details of how we’ll be adjusting some things in the ministry, I just want to encourage you all with this truth: Jesus is still Lord of all. It’s incredible to me how I’ve been challenged to grow in my faith in the last week as all of this has started to unfold. If I’m honest, I’ve found myself living as if Jesus wasn’t Lord at different points in the last few days. However, this is an opportunity for me to be reminded of the truth I’ve been teaching in Colossians for the last two months: Jesus is Lord. No virus can challenge the authority and sovereignty of our risen King. As one of my favorite songs, In Christ Alone says: “No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand; ‘Til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.” And one more word of encouragement, this time from Martin Luther: “The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.” 

What follows is some details regarding the plan of student ministry in the next couple of weeks:

What will student ministry look like going forward? All of our normal gatherings and activities are postponed for now. We won’t be meeting on Wednesday Nights or on Sunday Mornings for Bible Study. In its place, we’re going to be planning strategic times where we can come together for a time of teaching. Tomorrow night at 6:30pm, we’ll be hosting a YouTube Livestream called Youth Night Live. This Livestream will be on our church’s YouTube page. I want to encourage you to join your students and interact via the comment section. My hope is to still make this as interactive as possible, even though I’ll be sharing via video. 

What about youth events? As of right now, we are going to pause all youth events for the student ministry. Since the goal is to keep people at home as much as possible, we’re going to keep things down to a minimum. However, we will continue with summer camp as originally planned. LifeWay has said they will give communication to all youth leaders the moment any details regarding Fuge Camps changes. As soon as any adjustments need made to our summer plans, I will be sure to let you know.

What can we do as a family during this time? My heart for student ministry is to partner with parents in the discipleship of their students. In many ways, having this season where we cannot gather as we normally would reminds us of the importance of family discipleship. The formation of our teens comes down to parents discipling their kids. I want to do everything I can to help make this task as easy as possible. This is why I’m hosting Youth Night Live on Wednesday night, and it is also why I’ll be sending resources to help you encourage your students to spend time in the Word and in prayer. I’ll also be providing questions to go along with tomorrow night’s devotion. I understand how this task can be seen as daunting- but it is possible. I will be available to you for whatever you need. Let me encourage you to redeem this time! We can do this together! 

How can we stay in touch? Please feel free to text, call, or email me. In addition, I want to strongly encourage all of you to download our church communication app and make a profile, if you haven’t already. From the app, you can interact with my updates, communicate with me via chat, and it’s all streamlined in one place for your convenience. Let me know if you have any questions about setting it up!

This Week’s Top Three (March 3, 2020)

This week, the stories of Rhett and Link from the hit YouTube show Good Mythical Morning started to make their rounds in Christian circles. I’ve been watching their videos for a few years now, and while it’s nice to have some answers about the events from their past that they swept under the rug, it breaks my heart to see what’s happened. When people walk away from the faith, it can be hard to understand what’s going on. This article, by D. Michael Clary, helps shed some light on the situation and how to think through it.

Since I’m touching on the hot topic issues of the week, this article by Todd Wagner gives his take on how to think through the COVID-19 outbreak in the world. It’s hard to tell right now how much is media hype and how much of this is a real threat- only time will tell- but as Believers, we need to think through all of this with an eternal perspective. Wagner leads us to do exactly that.

Tim Challies wrote this article a few weeks back, so I wanted to share it with all of you. Challies is part of the inspiration behind this blog, so I think this article is a good chance for you to get an inside look behind why I started this side project. Even though I still have a ways to go in consistently posting and sharing new content, my hope is to inspire others to take the leap and start writing for themselves. Challies’ article shows a great place to start.

This Week’s Top Three (February 26th, 2020)

I’m starting this week off with a short and sweet article from Ed Welch about hospitality. As I think about these issues in terms of the big picture, I’m reminded of just how much of these things are fixed in the small, every day things. Gospel-centered hospitality is rooted in the conversations shared between people. Welch summarizes it well, “The extroverts among us seem to make it look easy. The more shy might be intimidated by the potential awkwardness or silence. But loving pursuit is neither easy nor natural to anyone. All of us need both humility and help from Scripture in order to navigate the early stages of a helpful conversation.”

As I’m just a few months out from my daughter being born, this article really touched me. What does it look like to bless our children before bed? How can we make sure the last thing they hear from us is a word which stirs their heart’s affections for the Lord? John Piper gives us things to think about in this episode of “Ask Pastor John.”

This week, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission released a summary of research conducted by the Barna institute concerning the issues facing many U.S. Pastors (you can find the original report here: The ERLC report helps distill some of the information, but the point is still the same: the biggest concern facing pastors today is a concern over the gospel. If you’re a pastor, or if you’re a church member, this article is worth taking some time to read- the insight into the issues facing pastors is incredibly useful!

Tim Challies shared this on his blog this morning- it’s a great deal. If you need a new Bible, this is hard to pass up!

This Week’s Top Three (February 19th, 2020)

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times about the roles of men and women in society. Despite culture’s best attempts to redefine gender roles, it seems there is something wired deep within us which causes men and women to prefer specific roles within the home. Here are a couple highlights:

  • “The fact that home life doesn’t look all that different from half a century ago surprises researchers, because in most other ways, attitudes about gender roles have changed a lot.”
  • “If young people can’t even envision a model of what men’s time at home might look like, that’s evidence that our beliefs about gender are really strong and sticky,” said Joanna Pepin, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin and an author of the recently published study, with Brittany Dernberger, a sociology doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland. “That’s yet another thing that’s getting in the way of social change.”
  • “Norms about what men are supposed to do also have an effect, researchers say — starting in childhood, when boys do fewer chores than girls do. Masculinity is strongly tied to earning an income and avoiding things that are considered feminine.”

God’s truth shines through, even in a time of confusion in our culture.

I love coming across new things which challenge what I’ve always taken for granted in my understanding of the Bible. This article was one of those resources. Pop quiz: Did it start raining when Noah brought the animals upon the ark and God sealed the door? You’ll have to read to find out!

When we talk about “preaching” the gospel in Scripture, does it mean only pastors are qualified to share with others? By evaluating a sermon from Charles Spurgeon out of Acts 8, Denny Burk reminds us that all Christians are to be known as those who proclaim, or preach, the gospel (even students!).