Before Covid-19, Good News Lutheran Church (GNLC) had a typical youth group, running games, excursions, and small group bible studies, but as regulations around physical distancing began to escalate, they realised they would have to adapt.
“We talked about how we still have our foundational things that are important to our young people, and our vision. So we still have to accomplish that, but now it’s just going to look a little bit different,” says Shane de Jager, GNLC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Worker.
“We decided that our last youth group night of the term would be all online through Zoom, and we were just going to play online pictionary, check in with the young people, pray with them and host a Kahoot trivia game, which worked out really well.”
Ministry work is as important as ever during this time; it just has to be done a bit differently.
“What we found is that if we try add our voices to the amount of voices that is happening at the moment, I think we’re just going to be an addition to the mess that is going on,” says Shane. “So what we decided is to actually practise love instead of preaching love, and just to be there for them whenever they need. And what we’ve seen is that actually has a positive effect on them, including their families. A lot of their families have replied and said thank you for being a constant in a time when everything else is changing or falling away.”
Shane’s advice for other churches is something he received from a retired pastor – be the donkey that brings Jesus on your back.
“Just continue doing what you’re doing, but look at how Jesus can be bought into that space, whether that’s online, through a phone call, whether it’s writing letters or whatever it looks like through the context of ministry in your church; just bring Jesus.”