Youth Ministry Online
We are now 13 weeks into the COVID-19 restrictions and while the weekly encouragement videos have been in the public arena, our online youth ministry presence has needed to be kept out of the public domain for Safe Ministry purposes. That means access to our online meetings is restricted to those who have parental permission. You might think that this could be a barrier to our ability to continue ministering to the youth of our church. However, we have received permissions for 144 youth and 122 of them have connected with us online. This has been a remarkable outcome given that we had never done a purely online ministry before this year.
Each week we run two online gatherings.
FRIDAY NIGHTS – JAC Youth Live
JAC Youth Live is streamed at 7pm from a studio at the church and goes for just over an hour. We seek to make it highly interactive with youth engaging in what we are doing through a live chat (which gets a lot of traffic each week). We also have pre-made video clips with youth sharing Bible passages and praying, in studio challenges with youth competing against each other and leaders, and Kahoot quizzes. We even have a lucky door prize from time to time where a viewer finds a gift at their front door at the end of the episode. The centrepiece of each episode of JAC Youth Live is the teaching time. We have been working through the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7 this term. Each week a leader prepares the teaching input and then it is presented as a discussion with Cameron in the broadcast. There’s a lot of energy involved in presenting a live broadcast and a lot of preparation needs to be done to ensure each episode runs smoothly.
You can view a behind the scenes video of Episode 7 here.
The feedback we have received for JAC Youth Live has been very positive and some families have even told us that they all watch the broadcast together each Friday night – including the dog!
SUNDAY AFTERNOONS – JAC Youth Small Groups
Our small group gathering begins at 4pm with everyone in the one Zoom meeting. Access is granted from a virtual waiting room to those for whom we have received the parental permission. The main focus of this gathering is Bible teaching and pastoral care. Each week Cameron presents some teaching input to the whole group while they have their cameras and audio switched off. We have been working through 2 Samuel this term. After the common teaching and prayer everyone is sent off into Breakout Rooms according to their gender and year group. So we have 13 groups all meeting in their own virtual rooms each Sunday (Yr 12 meets in a co-ed group). There are 2 leaders present in each group, cameras and microphones are turned on and they have about an hour and a quarter together.
In the Breakout Rooms they typically do some further Bible discussion, share how they are travelling and pray for each other. Most groups also have a bit of time playing a game together as well. The study material being discussed across the groups varies. Among the younger groups studies have been on Genesis 1-12, Philippians, Christian Living, Titus, 1 & 2 Thessalonians and the “I Am” statements in John’s Gospel. The older groups have been looking at studies on 1 Peter, World Views, Hebrews, Community, Romans, and Revelation.
Here’s what a selection of the youth have to say about the Sunday afternoon small groups.
“I love that we can talk about our faith together even though we can’t be with each other” – Yr 6
“My parents forced me to join in and I’ve been learning lots. It’s really good.” – Yr 6
“It’s good to be able to catch up with friends I don’t see at school and open the Bible together.” -Yr 7
“I’m missing church, but don’t know how I’d cope without our online small group.” – Yr 8
“Being able to see each others’ faces and interact has been really encouraging.” – Yr 9
“I’ve had a real sense of fellowship as we’ve been able to share our struggles and pray for each other.” – Yr 10
“The Bible discussions we’ve had are terrific and I’m learning a lot more than I thought I would.” – Yr 11
“The small groups are more personal and interactive and that’s helped me to stay connected.” – Yr 12
For more information on how to connect with the online Youth Ministry gatherings, send an email to Cameron at [email protected]