Faith Time: Pandemic impact on student ministry

Faith Time

LOXLEY, Ala. (WKRG) — Pastor Kevin Mills joins us to talk about how the pandemic has impacted ministry geared to teenagers. Here’s a look at our conversation:

Anchor: This interview was recorded live on tape via Zoom a few days ago. We wanted to talk about how the pandemic has changed student pastoring, outreached to teenagers–what’s different?

Guest: Honestly everything. Meeting in person, being together as a group came to halt obviously with this pandemic. So we had to become increasingly more creative the longer it went.

Anchor: How do you reach teens and young adults when you’re not there in person?

Guest: Our approach was a little different than what many other groups decided to do. We decided to stick to what was working for us as a ministry and thus Snapchat has been the main vehicle for communication. So every week, I upload a very low tech, 4 to 5 min conversational devotion, and ask the teens to interact through their threads. It has led to some great discussions and growth. We have also tried to make everything we do as personal as possible. This includes specified texts to individuals and not just a form group message as well as personalized notes and goodie bags at Easter.

Anchor: What advantages are there to working mostly through screens with an age group that perhaps spends an inordinate amount of time with screens?

Guest: One hunts or fishes where the catch is. Screen time and adapting ministry to form into it as a primary vehicle wasn’t that much of a leap. The advantage is there was already a lot of framework to work with. We simply had to learn the tech and go to where the students were.

Anchor: During this shutdown, a lot of people have had more time for introspection, what do you think the Lord has taught you during this time?

Guest: We noticed right away that our schedules were very compacted with 2 children involved in a plethora of activities on top of ministry and life itself. We have learned slowing down isn’t such a bad thing. It has led to great family time, discussion on a broad range of topics and the chance to settle down to family meals, etc. that would normally be in a rush.

Anchor: What “best practices” in terms of outreach do you hope to implement once we reach something closer to normal?

Guest: I think once past this outbreak, the new normal is still to be charted. I think as a whole, the entire way of doing church will be affected. As such, we have learned that 1 to 1 personal contact is key to spiritual development. Something we already knew but perhaps put on the back burner. When we reach the new normal, this has to be the lens thru which we approach ministry.

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