What youth ministry looks like for our students and alumni this autumn…
Youth ministries everywhere are asking the same questions as we head into autumn:
Do I still have a youth group?
Can we meet in person or are we doing youth group virtually?
Am I going to be able to go into schools?
How am I going to be able to meet new young people?
What does worship look like? How do we worship if we can’t get together and sing together?
This isn’t an easy time to be a trainee youth leader. There is a lot to figure out in order to keep young people safe and manage the expectations of church leaders and parents. For each of our students and alumni, things look a little different this month.
Training Director, Darin Stevens shared, “The pandemic has created a situation where youth ministry as we know it has to change. That’s why at Reign we continue to teach our students how to make disciples who can make disciples over and above producing large programmes. The pandemic doesn’t have to stop our youth ministries, rather it just might be a year of discipling young people in groups of six or less. Imagine the fruit of that investment – if young people got an hour of investment a week from a youth leader who is praying for and developing them.”
What are the students saying?
The reality is that for many students and churches reforming a group this autumn is difficult. Not all youth ministries are up and running – either virtually or in person. But we heard from a few who are getting started:
Year 3 student, Carina, is placed in Cogges Church, Witney. “Right now, youth ministry is in person, with face masks and social distancing. I’m excited to see the young people again in person, after many months on Zoom. Also, my youth group will focus on how the young people can support and encourage each other in their faith, as they navigate through these uncertain times. I’m excited to see how the young people will step up and grow together as a community.”
Scott Rushforth is in his second year of studies. “My church placement is at Cambridge Youth for Christ, placed at All Saints Milton. For right now, our youth ministry is in person. This autumn I am excited about creating space for young people to build healthy relationships and learn more about Jesus.”
Abigail, who serves at Gorebridge Parish Church outside of Edinburgh says her youth group is meeting face-to-face in Covid-secure ways. She shares, “Right now, ministry is definitely crazy but fruitful in ways that I’d never expect!
During lockdown I think we can all agree that our youth missed the fellowship of the church and the leaders, but actually, I think we are overlooking the fact that our leaders missed discipling the young people just as much. We all missed how much the youth can speak into our lives and watching them take leaps of faith. They have the kind of faith that we read about in the Bible and actually, I think we all really missed God’s way of revealing himself through the younger generation.”
Aman is a year 1 student and is serving at Birmingham Rhema, an Eritrean and Ethiopian Christian community. “Right now ministry is both in person and online. I’m excited because we are starting a youtube channel to reach the youth and also create awareness of the TCK (third culture kids) struggles” he said.
Year 1 student, Rachell, who is placed at Coastline Vineyard in Bournemouth just started back with COVID-secure, in person youth ministry. She sees God moving. “Despite all the changes, what I am excited about in our youth ministry this autumn is the conversations we’re going to have with our youth. During this time, I feel that God is moving and working in our hearts and I am excited to see what He is doing and will do in the lives of our young people.”
Alumni Charlie Banks, who started a new role with Young Life Edinburgh, shared with us some highlights from the summer and what the autumn looks like for him. “One of the highlights of the summer was our summer camps that we ran virtually. We offered a week long programme online and it reached 200 kids – more than we normally reach. The whole of Scotland Young Life was involved. The really great part was that because it was online, parents got to see it, too. We had some good feedback that parents really enjoyed seeing what our camp was like. So not only were we blessing the kids, but blessing the families too” he said.
“In the autumn I’ve got a new role. I’ll be establishing what we have, and working on leader development, starting new discipleship groups, and training people up.”
Year 1 student, Andrew is placed at St. Andrew Blackadder. “Youth ministry is starting back up, slowly but surely. I’m excited to take the opportunity to further the relationships created with young people to a deeper level and allow them to know Gods love.”
Our students are getting on-the-ground experience in Christian youth work while earning a qualification. They experience weekly coaching and support as well as learning from youth ministry practitioners. Find out more about how you cantrain for youth ministry, whilst working in your own church or youth project.
Joy has 20 years youth ministry experience and serves as the Development Director for Reign Ministries.
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