Staying Connected – Ministering to Youth When You Can’t Meet Together

WMCNZ AdministratorCOVID-19, News, Youth Ministry

Tēnā koutou katoa to all my dear friends, who are ministering to youth in these strange and unsettling times,
I am writing to you from my small home in Onehunga (Auckland) while Josh, Maddie (3) and Jackson (2) are eating breakfast in the other room. I want to check in to see HOW YOU ARE & pass along some helpful resources I have been gathering from different ministry leaders I am in touch with/facebook connected to. 
I wanna encourage each of you to think about ways that you can be connected digitally with your youth.
It is an unprecedented time in our history. Now, more than ever, connection is so important. The resources I am including here are intended to be an encouragement and a resource, no need to trouble yourself with trying to “do too much” – I am sure some of you may have your own whānau or others locked away with you. Perhaps you are trying to sort out how to work from home or how to not to go crazy (or both!). So it can make things challenging to make space. Any contact you have with your youth I am sure will be well received, some might be really excited that you thought of them.
I want to emphasize a couple of things: 
1. Be kind to yourself (and those you are in the bunker with)
Everyone is stressed trying to figure everything out. Give yourself grace to adjust and do what you can.  Meditate on God’s peace that is available to us through his Spirit. If you are keen for some self-care resources for this season, please get in touch with me. I’m here to help. If you are feeling particularly anxious or low there is a service where you can text 1737 and speak to a counsellor for free, woohoo! 
2. Have a look through Resources: 
I’ve compiled a range of resources I have found that may be of particular use to you as you search for new ways to remain connected with the young people you are working with and ministering to.
Did you know there are ways of PLAYING GAMES via zoom online with the kids (as a part of a youth connect time?) Here are a couple of ideas of fun stuff to do… 
If you need some ideas and inspiration the Facebook groups linked below will give you some insight into how other youth leaders are connecting with their youth: 
Youth Ministry Collective (This is NZ based group) 
Stuff You Can Use (American based, but global participation, on the cutting edge of resources)
Women in Youth Ministry (This one is particularly to support the women in ministry and is packed with resources.)
There’s also a wealth of excellent resources on these sites:
3. Make a tentative plan
Have a think around what kinds of communication you are able to use (FB messenger, text, google hangout, zoom). I know have included a lot of ideas, but keep it simple. At this point, I would encourage you to make contact. Not everyone will need games… so let your conversations with your youth inform your plan. 
If you want someone to be a soundboard with, I am here. I had a lovely chat with two of our youth leaders yesterday, thinking through the possibilities before they “met” with their volunteer team to make a plan. In the next few days I am attempting to contact all our KEY WMCNZ youth leaders… if I don’t call you first, ring me! 
I would love to chat, pray with you, be a soundboard, find any resources that you might use…please be in touch.
God’s peace be with you! 

Rev. Stephenie Couch

WMCNZ National Youth Consultant