Keep it up! To the faithful ministry leaders of children, youth, and families.
You have shown so much care and concern for kids, youth, and families in your church and community during this time. You have spent hours on Zoom, mailed cards, made phone calls, and even stopped by houses. You have adapted to a thumbs up online instead of hugs and high fives in person. You have listened. You have prayed. You have become the tech guru of your church. You walked through this time with uncertainty while leading and loving others.
Now you are facing a different season. One of many questions about when and how to open your church doors and ministries back up. You have already had tough conversations about how to do or not to do VBS, mission projects, and celebrations. You have been asked the difficult questions about reentry. You have engaged in online meetings about the next steps.
You now have some decisions to make. How do you make them when there are so many opinions, concerns, and pressures to consider? You keep doing what you have been doing. Wait, usually, the answer is all about trying something new. You may even be thinking that as the leader of young people, you are supposed to be challenging traditions. Continuing to do what you have been doing during this season still means being creative, open-minded, and adaptable. It also means staying focused on caring, listening, noticing concerns, leading, and loving well.
Keep up the work of adapting to the new needs of your young people and the community. Keep up the work of growing relationships. Keep up the work of helping families in this chaos. If you seek only answers about whether the doors should be open or not, you can lose the focus on the very people you have loved through this time. Some will not want to venture out yet, keep building relationships with them in meaningful ways. Some are ready to be in the front row singing, keep listening, and finding ways to engage their enthusiasm. Some parents are beside themselves with worry, keep being a shoulder to lean on that doesn’t argue but has compassion. Keep stretching yourself to consider the deeper questions at hand.
- How can you continue to share in relationships with families who are not ready to venture out?
- How can you prepare and wisely use your space or other spaces for those who are ready to be together?
- How can you work in tandem with a team to prepare for what’s next?
- How can you support your senior leadership in this transition?
- How can you communicate love, care, and concern for your community during this confusing time?
Keep asking the really important and hard questions. Keep being innovative. Keep finding new ways to reach young people and families. They want to know if the church is relevant during this season because if it is, they will come back when the time is right. If you are not addressing the needs and concerns on their hearts and minds during such a time as this, they have no reason to care about when the doors will reopen. Keep loving in such a way that whether the doors are open or not, they know you are the church. Keep seeking to demonstrate that Jesus is with them no matter what the next steps look like right now. Yes, there are practical decisions to be made and you need guidance to take wise next steps. (You can contact me anytime for those conversations at firstname.lastname@example.org) You did it two months ago: you can do it again. Keep focused on sharing the love of Jesus with kids, young people, and families, no matter what!
By Emily Krach, Associate Director of Leadership Development — Emerging Leaders