The Future of Youth Ministry at OSUMC
While most of us have been concerned about how to navigate our ministries, I have to admit I’m slightly refreshed and inspired by the challenges of these new directions. It is my hope we can take this time to reinvent an already existing youth program with the potential of reaching a broader group of students. It’s essential to keep students involved in the daily changes which lie ahead; and while we will continue to research, navigate, brainstorm and examine new ideas within the changing culture of youth ministry, I am wide open for suggestions.
During the pandemic we found ourselves deeply challenged on how to connect students in spite of social distancing. We implemented an everyday mid-day meetup which included a daily devotion with a relevant scripture verse along with a variety of games, activities, scavenger hunts, worship video devotions, video series and sometimes we just talked and hung out together. Each day we would close with joys and concerns and invite students to “Pray Out” the group until we see each other the next day. We want to congratulate our 2020 Confirmation class in the completion of their program which ended oddly on Zoom. I created a 20 week media curriculum for our 2020 confirmation class which can be utilized in the future, should another crisis require us to do Confirmation from home. We made a priority of delivering goodie baskets to every student in our program during this time as a way to remind students how important they are to us. We implemented a family game night once a week and held our Zoom youth group meetings on Sunday evenings. Our young ladies enjoyed 5 weeks of Body Image in a unique way as we connected weekly with our amazing female leaders. This class was a true blessing. We are also excited to announce we have completely rebranded the youth program to be known as “Summit” OSUMC Student Ministries- Leading students on a higher path. We have also designed our own clothing, bags, and phone cases which can be used as a very small fundraiser for future mission trips. We have worked hard to be sure this program has continued to flourish during this time!
While this has been a great way to connect with students and families over the past several months, we have reached a new point where moving in a new direction is needed. We are all “ZOOMED OUT” to say the least. Normally our “Summer Fun” program would be in full swing at this time. Since we are unable to do many of the normal activities, we are working on ideas for social distancing events such as fire pit nights, outdoor movie theatres and single kayaking outings. Your ideas and suggestions are welcome! Our summer program will remain in effect unless another surge requires us to return to online meetings. We thank families for your support and help in making youth group a priority during these past several months.
It’s in these ever changing moments where I can see how the why we need youth ministry doesn’t change; though we may be altering the way we serve, we still want to see students find a safe place to explore their faith, connect with their Creator, become more like Christ in their daily walk and most importantly become a living example of that to the world. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being part of that journey.