Sprucing up Zoom youth group
By Tianna Haas | Peru in South America
Cynthia with plant props for her interactive lesson on spiritual growth.
Engaging young people in a church setting is difficult during the pandemic, but youth leaders in Latin America have begun to share ideas to make Bible study and fellowship captivating again.
SIM Latin America member Cynthia, who serves in Peru, launched this collaboration project after she witnessed the unfamiliar challenges of digital ministry. She said, “Discipling youth is best done face to face, but since COVID and the quarantines started, youth leaders in Latin America have been struggling in this area.
“Some were frustrated … Some were fearful that their youth were becoming weak in their faith because of the lack of interaction with other Christians. Youth like to learn together and can lack discipline when it comes to studying the Bible and doing their devotions by themselves.
“Others didn’t know how to make Zoom youth meetings interesting and interactive. Listening to these struggles, I started to pray intently that God would show us the way forward.”
Cynthia also began investigating and compiling creative approaches to help connect with students over video calls. She passed them on to others over Facebook, which led to meetings with others in youth ministry.
Now, groups of 20 or more gather bi-monthly to exchange methods which improve engagement and learning. From handicrafts and competitions to current events, each activity involves a lesson in applying biblical principles to things students encounter in the world.
She said, “We get together to learn a new idea, practise it in small groups and share other creative ideas with each other. We are also connected via a WhatsApp group so we can share ideas, pray and encourage one another daily.”
The Zoom groups have linked together youth groups across several South American countries, and they are already seeing this network grow in exciting ways.
Cynthia said, “This has opened doors for countless opportunities to work with different youth leaders and their youth through meetings, workshops and conferences that are crossing geographical and denominational boarders we never would have considered before.
“Thanks to the internet and God’s creative provisions, we now have multiple chances to bless each other throughout Latin America.”
Cynthia and her colleagues have seen clearly that the Lord is sovereignly using his church in a time of disruption. She said, “It is fascinating how God brings people together to disciple and serve one another. There really are no boundaries he cannot cross.
“These are new and innovative times. God is leading us forward showing us ways to bless others and advance his kingdom. Please pray for these youth leaders and the important discipling work they are doing with the youth.”
• Youth to dedicate themselves to the Lord despite the burdens, setbacks, and stress of a global pandemic.
• Youth leaders to communicate with and disciple young people well. Pray for endurance, patience, and encouragement in the Spirit as they minister.
• The Zoom groups of youth leaders to offer a helpful network for many years to come.