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.

Check out the full interview above, and here is a quick glimpse at a few key takeaways:

  • This season of ministry needs a different set of skills.

Most of us get into youth ministry because we are highly relational, and we’ve created systems and structures over the years in order to support those skills. But in a season of ministry where those systems and structures have to be reexamined and reimagined, many of us are realizing that we need a new set of skills. We have to invest our energy identifying the skill sets that are missing, commit to learning them ourselves and involving other adult volunteers or church leaders in our processes who also have those skills.

  • Our philosophy of ministry is far more important than our methodology.

The ministries feeling the most disorientation in this season are those that have not done the hard work of identifying the philosophy of their ministry. Use this season to figure out why your ministry exists and cast your vision from there. Then, use the collective leadership from your church (with consideration of all CDC and local health authority guidelines) to develop the methodology of your ministry. That way the method of your ministry can change but the philosophy of your ministry holds steady.

  • Now is the time to utilize the framework of experimentation.

Ginny mentioned a recent training on innovation from Tony Ducklow, who leads an organization called Youth Ministry Land. He described the value of framing everything in this season under the pretense of an experiment. This helps automatically adjust expectations, suddenly shifting teenagers, parents and volunteers into active participants who help you trial new ideas, test, and reimagine the things along with you.

We’re here to help you find a way forward in this season.

As you continue to reexamine your philosophy of ministry, and your methodology begins to come into focus, know that we’re ready to help with you with whatever form your mission trip and service experiences take in this next year. Here are a few of the ways we can support you right now:

YW Extended Care: https://youthworks.com/extended-care

YW Extended Care was created for you to name exactly what you need, how we can support you, and invite our team alongside you during this time. Don’t do any of it alone. We’ve got your back.

Trip Leader Guides: https://youthworks.com/trip-leader-guides/

  • Where do our payments go for a YW mission trip?
  • What does COVID-proof mission trip planning look like?
  • What key details do our parents need to know about a YW mission trip?

These guides were created to help you unpack and communicate responses to those key questions.

Interested in learning more about summer 2022 mission trips?

And if you’re a Covenant youth worker, be sure to connect with Ginny and all the resources available through the Northwest Conference.