Certainty feels like an illusion at the best of times, but that’s especially true these days.
2020 has been filled with so many waves that the turbulence has left us all feeling a little seasick. Even the most experienced youth ministry leaders are feeling the constant pressure to keep the ship upright, and we have been brought to our knees. We have entered the cabin in search of the Captain, looking for solutions.
But even in the midst of this turbulence, we can rest comfortably in the knowledge that God’s got this. Jesus is the one who calms our seas, and for that I am eternally grateful.
If you’re in youth ministry, you know that there’s little chance of “going back to normal.” The changing landscape of teenage lives and experiences is forcing all of us to think differently.
When COVID hit, the youth ministry world pivoted early, and wow—the creativity of some folks was off the charts! We adapted to a virtual culture hard and fast, but we also learned that there’s a limit to how much Zoom-ing we can do. As one of our Classis Youth Ministry Champs said to me, “Too much virtual time makes me want to scratch my eyes out.”
“Time to pivot again,” is the refrain we have been living into this year. Pre-COVID, we didn’t often think about changing our direction quickly. But now we need to spend time in regular reflection on what we are doing in ministry and why we are doing it as we move forward in our ministry contexts.
In October I met with most of the CRCNA and RCA Classis Youth Ministry Champions in a Dispersed Virtual Retreat (one of those pivots we had to make) that spanned 24 hours.
Friends, it was so good to be together with this group of passionate leaders who represent you all so well, even though we could not meet physically in the same room. Together we discussed topics like these:
- The latest research from the Fuller Youth Institute: a book called Growing With: Every Parent's Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future.
- In spite of COVID, we told some celebration stories we are hearing from churches in Canada and the U.S.
- We spent time wrestling with ministry concerns we are experiencing today, whether COVID-related or not.
- We prayed for the church, again realizing that God’s got this and we can trust him to calm the seas.
As 2021 approaches, there is a hopefulness that enters our minds and souls as we wait for the next season of what God has planned for us. I pray this newsletter and its resources will give you hope and encouragement as we continue to follow Jesus in our calling as a people passionate about ministry to teens and emerging adults.