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Covid-19 Resources

5 Directions Where Ministry Has Evolved In 2020

Bryant Westbrook
November 24th, 2020

With ministry being different now, this season has given us a number of reasons to be negative as youth workers.

Although this season has been different, I’ve been encouraged by the new way of doing ministry and I’ve loved being able to participate in charting a new path for this season and the one that follows.

The way youth ministry is being done right now is unique and God is moving right in front of our eyes. As things change, God is with us.

The ministry I’m a part of has changed in five strategic ways. I have been encouraged by the change and hope you are as well.

Small groups meeting In Homes

Before this year, our student ministry had large group gathering on Wednesdays and small groups on Sundays. When “Covid happened,”the new model we embraced was a lot like the early believers, house churches! Here’s a glimpse in this passage:

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house (Romans 16:3-5).

Our entire ministry switched to meeting in homes. How cool is that? We record a message that goes on Youtube and provide questions and scriptures.

Other than that, we give the leaders a lot of freedom and ownership. What a unique opportunity this has been.

Greater Emphasis On Relationships

Let’s face it, when we gather as a large group on Wednesdays, isn’t it harder to focus on 1 on 1 intentional relationships? There’s always that feeling of counting numbers and making sure everyone has a great time. It’s just natural.

Meeting in homes you can’t really have that attitude because of how different it is.

We’ve taken the approach of being more intentional about who we are investing in. Since our groups are at homes, the small group leaders have the opportunity to get to know the students in a whole new way, one that you might not get in a jam-packed service with games, worship and a sermon.

Knowing Core Students

Something else our small group leaders are working hard at is determining who the core group of students are. The fact is, everyone will show up to the church for games, pizza and fun, but not everyone will show up to a house church. Our leaders are seeing who’s coming and who’s inviting other to join.

These relationships with the core students have gotten stronger because of the new focus and has shown me, in greater detail, that ministry is about the relationships.

Thinking like Church Planters

When you are church planting, so much of what you do is establishing your core group, establishing values, and getting people rallied around your vision.

In a real way, we are planting a church all over again.

There’s never been a better opportunity than now to capitalize on charting new waters. That’s what we’re doing right now! In leadership meetings I hear the language of “we are church planters all over again.” I love the energy and excitement.

Looking To The Future

It’s super easy to go around saying, “I’m so ready to get back to normal.” Or, “I can’t wait for this to be over so we can do what we’ve always done.”

Let me ask you this, does that sound like charting new waters to you?

Does that sound like vision casting to you?

It doesn’t to me.

I believe we are called to be vision casters and builders of new things, not maintainers of what has been (Unless it’s going super great-and its not right now).

Our student ministry has been trying to be intentional in communicating that we are not just doing this to “get by.” We’ve tried super hard to not let volunteers get stuck in the rut of “I want to go back to what once was” mindset.

That’s why we’ve tried to be intentional about being church planters in homes, so we can focus on building something new from the ground up. We’ve found beauty in taking this approach.

I don’t know what’s going to happen and neither does anyone else, but it’s on us as leaders to be looking to the future.

Reflection Questions:

  • What new waters can you chart right now in your ministry?
  • Have you ever had a desire or vision for your ministry that God has given you but were scared to try it? If that’s you, right now is the perfect time to try it because you are starting from scratch.
  • How can you shift the language from “let’s go back to normal” to something like “we are anticipating what God has for us now and in the future” ?
Bryant Westbrook

Bryant Westbrook is the youth director at First United Methodist Church is Valley Center, KS. Bryant has served as a missionary in Alaska, program staff for YouthWorks, treatment counselor for teens and has a passion for student leadership. Bryant's contact is bryant@fumcvc.com and he blogs at bryantwestbrook.wordpress.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.

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