Youth Ministry Planning in a Pandemic

2020 has been a hot mess for every ministry. As youth workers, you’ve been forced to reimagine almost every aspect of your ministry overnight. When it comes to imagining a mission trip in 2021—or any other significant event—it might seem impossible. But some of our youth workers have found a way forward. They’ve been able to plan for the present and the future, with all the constant changes and unknowns on the horizon. So we wanted to ask the question, “How? How are you able to plan in a pandemic?” Check out the interviews below to hear how other youth workers are finding their way forward.

COVID-Proof Youth Ministry Planning​

Heather Lea Kenison is a UMC Youth Pastor in Indiana, a long-time partner with YouthWorks, and she leads the incredible organization, Women in Youth Ministry. In a season filled with so much uncertainty, she found a way forward in her ministry and we asked her to share a little more about how she got there.

Working “On” vs Working “In” Your Ministry During COVID​

Boss serves with the National Network of Youth Ministries and he’s been a core part of helping youth workers in his region navigate this season. With everything in youth ministry pausing or canceling right before summer, Boss shares how he’s been helping youth workers think through the best ways of reimagining and reworking their plan.

Finding a Way Forward in Youth Ministry During a Pandemic​

Troy’s ministry has been directly impacted by COVID—with staff members contracting it, school systems 100% digital, and their ministry planning happening week-to-week. But they’ve found a way forward, and we wanted to hear how they are doing it.

Margin is Essential for Your Youth Ministry in COVID​

Ashley serves on the Middle School Curriculum team at Orange Students and brings an incredible reminder to youth workers right now about the value of margin during this season of ministry.

Repurposing and Refocusing Ministry in a Pandemic​

For the first time in 18 years, Sam Perkins wasn’t able to lead a mission trip this past summer. As the Pastor of Spiritual Formation, over family and youth ministry, at Westminster Presbyterian in Greensboro, NC, Sam shares a little about how they’ve been finding a path forward in a season of COVID.

Re-evaluating the Essentials of Ministry in a Pandemic​

Sami and Catie both fill dual roles as local youth pastors and co-leaders for youth ministry in the UMC Minnesota Conference. When you’re not at the grad party, the concert, the track-meet, you miss the accidental time in between all the programming that makes youth ministry so important in the lives of our students.

3 Things COVID-19 is Revealing About Youth Ministry

Ginny Olson has been a foundational voice in the world of youth ministry. She has been a youth worker, an educator, a best-selling author, and in the last 9-years has been working with the regional office of the Covenant denomination. Whether it’s risk-management, hiring, encouraging or educating youth pastors, Ginny has been helping to care for youth workers throughout this difficult season.

Shared Wisdom Will Help Your Ministry Thrive in This Pandemic

Tom Shefchunas, otherwise known as Shef, has been a formative voice in the landscape of youth ministry through his work with North Pointe Church in Atlanta, Orange, and now Youth Specialties. As he’s been helping youth workers navigate this season, one thing has become clear: We need each other now more than ever. The collective wisdom we can share, about what is working and what isn’t, will be the key element that helps youth ministries thrive in the midst of this pandemic. 

Give Yourself Permission During This Season

Todd Buegler has been navigating the impacts of COVID-19 both in his role within the local church and as the Executive Director of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network. As youth workers have been holding the tension between all the anxieties related to today and striving to dream ahead, Todd outlines a few ways that youth workers can give themselves permission and grace during this season.