Gathering Youth Online
As a youth group leader, you may be wondering about how to continue to gather your youth group when we must stay physically separated. There are a lot of creative and wonderful ideas that youth leaders are sharing online. Here are just a few ideas from YMI:
Keep your regular weekly meeting time via Google Hangout, Zoom or similar. Sample format follows:
A. Opening Prayer
B. Check-in with everyone
C. Activity (following are some ideas)
- Show and Tell (have everyone find something that means a lot (or the most unusual thing in their house) and show it off and talk about it. Wrap up with gratitude for the things that make us happy.
- Everyone shares a photo of their pet(s) and talk about how they are caring for them now.
- Tiny campfire (everyone needs a candle and a snack; leader tells a story; sing some favorite youth group songs)
- Hold an “At Home Olympics” (come up with fun activities to compete – create a craft, fold origami, burpees, jumping jacks, etc). The leader keeps score and then can send the winner a prize.
- Have everyone write a note to another member of the group (assign before the event) and have them write what they like/appreciate most about that person.
- Send everyone an image to color and then send a picture to the leader. The images should all compile together to create a “whole” image. We are only complete together.
- Watch a movie or an episode of a show together and comment in real time.
Have everyone create a “stay at home” playlist and share with the group
D. Based on the activity, have a framing question/thought for the week and have some discussion.
E. Ask a different group member to close in prayer each week
Other Ways to Gather and Share Fellowship:
- Send out a daily devotion to your kids – this can be a short video with a piece of inspirational scripture or quote for the day.
- Create a group text for daily check ins and updates.
- Let people know when it is someone’s birthday in the group. Create videos/posts to send to the youth group member. Schedule a group Zoom (or other platform) gathering and have everyone sing happy birthday. Take some time to celebrate the youth member who may be struggling with feeling isolated on their birthday.
- A bit further down the road, but we know that graduation/commencement is in doubt for our high school (and college) seniors – Throw a virtual party, have other members of the group send graduation cards or a gift, picture collages, etc.
- Create interactive Taize services/meditation exercises using Zoom, Google Hangout, etc.
- Create an interactive, participatory worship experience for youth. YMI contributor Angela Gorrell offers suggestions on how to create a collaborative worship service here.
Service Oriented Ideas:
- Have kids care for others by having them pick up groceries for elderly neighbors (and/or as it gets nicer, yard clean up)
- Have kids make a card and drop it off to neighbors or a nursing facility (facilities can quarantine the cards, etc. for a few days and then hand out)
- Have kids drop off much needed items at food pantries and share photos/videos with the group
- Provide the phone number of an older church member to each youth group member. Have them call the person and check in, see how they are doing on a weekly basis. When you gather weekly, talk about how this has gone and how they have connected to others in the church.
A good online resource for additional ideas is https://youthgroup.downloadyouthministry.com.