The Gospel is Worth It
As we head into the Fall, ministry will simply not look the same as it did in February. After six months of cancelling programs and events, planning and replanning, and making contingency plan after contigency plan (only to cancel anyway), we are tired of planning and pivoting. We may be tempted to give up or lose hope. But we must press on, because:
The Gospel is Worth It.
It is worth extra cleaning to tell teens about Jesus. It is worth making new plans to help teens encounter the only savior of the world - the only One who will bring them fulfillment in this life and the next. It is worth learning new things, it is worth setting aside our own fears, and it is worth all the toil, the strife, and the tears. The Saints and Martyrs gave their very lives to the proclamation of the Gospel for only one reason:
The Gospel is Worth It.
We want to help you plan well for the coming year. Despite all the uncertainty and change, we are confident that this time is a unique opportunity for us as a Church, and that many teens can come to know Jesus Christ this year. The Office of Youth Evangelization is with you every step of the way. Below, you'll find a few operating principles as you plan, along with resources, guidelines, and best practices as you get ready for the year. Above all, we pray for each of you often.
Thank you for all you do to proclaim Christ and make disciples of our youth!
The Incarnation is a central mystery of our Faith. God loves us so much that He took on flesh and became one of us. In an era of social distancing and pandemic, we cannot lose sight of the incarnational aspect of discipleship. Simply put, discipleship does not happen through passive videos or through a screen!
As you plan, prioritze meeting in person and building authentic, personal relationships.
There will also be teens and families who choose not to meet in person this year. In your planning, how can you continue to reach out to them? How can you equip parents to lead their teen in faith? Plan for these realities, too.
There is a good chance that we will see fewer teens involved in our ministry this year. We might be tempted to feel deflated or lose hope. While we can still reach out to everyone (see Go Out above!), what if we are being invited to invest more heavily in a few this year?
Jesus did not run a large group ministry. He spent almost all His time with the Twelve. What if you spent your whole year forming and pouring into twelve teens this year? What could the Holy Spirit do in their lives this year if you were able to invest that much in them?
Do not forget the importance of going deep on a personal level, too. All of us have been deeply impacted by the events of 2020, and many of us are wounded. Our teens are no different. Be sure to invest in them personally and be ready to offer support.
Are there things you have wanted to try in ministry but have not had the time to do it? Or worried about making changes in order to maintain an older program? Everything can be different this year! Don't be afraid to make changes this year, even if it is on a trial basis. Put more resources towards true discipleship, without fearing change. Be bold in casting a vision for discipleship this year!
Our Lord instructs us to be bold in prayer, too. Do we limit our petitions? Ask for big things. If you are worried about all the teens who disengage this year, offer them to the Lord. Worried about having Core Team volunteers? Be bold and ask the Lord to send you dynamic leaders. Be bold in asking God for everything you need this year.
We have a duty to reasonably care for those in our charge. While we can think creatively about how to do effective ministry in 2020, there are real dangers and risks that we must still mitigate and avoid in doing so.
Make sure you have a clean, safe environment whenever you do ministry. Make sure your volunteers are trained and formed to create that safe environement, too. Communicating these safety precautions to families not only puts them at ease, but it also tells them that we care for them and their children.
As you plan, be mindful of the fluid situation. If in-person meetings become impossible, make sure you have a plan to pivot smoothly and effectively. Communicate that plan with parents, your Core Team, and teens.
Content & Gameplans
If you are looking for help planning and structuring your Fall, we recommend taking a strong look at the following resources: