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.

Check out the full interview above, but here are a few key ideas that we walked away with:

Identify what you aren’t willing to jeopardize.

Heather mentioned for their ministry, they knew they wanted students to be able to connect in person and they were not going to do anything that would jeopardize that. The best way to ensure that would happen was to pivot their focus toward in-person small groups, no more than 10. But that meant the large gatherings they loved had to be put on hold or reimagined for those small groups.

It’s a tough decision, but this structure helps ensure that those big group gatherings of 100 don’t create a situation that would jeopardize the group of 10.

Refocus your energy on things that help minimize the number of potential future changes.

For Heather, one of their guiding principles at the core of their ministry’s restructure is to do everything possible to avoid having to change their ministry again. She mentioned that they have been working toward a structure that ensures they their ministry doesn’t have to shut down again if restrictions tighten back up.

Find ministry partners you can trust.

Just like restaurants, movie theaters, doctor’s offices, and other places that have diligently worked to figure out a way forward, the ministry partners that you align with are should be working toward the same things. Heather and her church have been a long-time partner with YouthWorks, and she trusts that we are putting all of our efforts toward creating a safe and healthy environment for her students to serve. That same level of trust needs to be present with any ministry partner you work with in this season (and honestly, that should be the case in every season of ministry). 

So, it’s important that we ask this critical question…

How can we help build that same trust with you?

That’s why we created YW Extended Care. You have so many questions, concerns, and unique pressures in this season. YW Extended Care was created so that you have help and support through it all. Find out more info here: YW Extended Care

And for a quick look at a few other helpful resources, check out these Trip Leader Guides:

Don’t forget to check out Women in Youth Ministry online at the links below: