“It started with me praying for my son,” said year two student, Laverne from Dudley.
Laverne studies with Reign Ministries, while working at a local secondary school as part of her work-based learning. Recently we talked together and she shared how God has led her to start a new youth group during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“I thought, if my son’s at home and he’s not talking to other Christians and friends, then other young people must be feeling these things too.”
We all know forming a new youth group of young people who don’t know each other well is hard to do when everyone is face to face. However the enormity of forming a new youth group online was lost on Laverne. She just knew God had asked her to do it.
“As I prayed more and more I felt like the Lord said, ‘Start something new’ and I said “Are you sure, Lord?” laughed Laverne.
Laverne leaned heavily on her classmates from Reign for ideas and structure. In their weekly support Cluster, students shared the ideas they had and what was working for their virtual youth groups. She found this to be a unique chance to rely on the skills and disciple-making focus that her lecturers and coaches emphasized in her youth ministry classes. “Everything I have been learning at University with Reign has informed what I done”
Laverne’s Monday night online youth group is fast-paced and limited to 4o minutes maximum. From the beginning she wanted to facilitate the group, while also planning it so that the young people would be well-placed to lead the spiritual content. She was able to partner with a few teenagers who had strong faith and they began with leading the devotional time. The group has grown rapidly from six to thirteen and it’s also grown in depth.
“I felt like God was confirming that I did the right thing because I saw young people sharing honestly about their faith or their struggle to continue in faith,” she shared. “I was surprised by their willingness to get their struggles out in the open.”
On Monday evenings, after the group finishes Laverne takes time to call some of the participants to check in and follow up from the discussion time. This added step is proving to be where Laverne can listen, and pace alongside the young people and encourage them.
We love everything about what Laverne is doing. She has no budget and the young people who are attending don’t live in the same town or attend the same church. But Laverne is leaning into the Spirit in obedience and providing a place for young people to find support in their faith journey. In a season when people are in lockdown, groups aren’t meeting and our news is full of fear and bad news, hearing stories of where God is helping new things spring up is very encouraging and exciting. We are behind you, Laverne.
If you believe working with young people is something God might be calling you to do, check out our BA in Theology and Mission where you can be training in evangelism, discipleship and pioneering youth ministry.