By Nolan McBride
On April 14, the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministries hosted a Zoom meeting for youth advisors to share ideas for celebrating Youth Sunday in the era of COVID-19. This year, National Youth Sunday is scheduled for May 3. Given the fact that most congregations cannot currently meet in person to worship, many youth leaders are exploring the possibility of a virtual Youth Sunday.
Most congregations are learning new technology for worship, and now more than ever is a great time to highlight our youth leadership and allow them to take the lead with technology.
Participants in the Zoom meeting included three members of the National Youth Cabinet, who helped shape the theme for this year: “Through My Fear, I Trust in God,” based on Psalm 56:1-4. The National Youth Cabinet met in February before COVID-19 became a major concern in the US, and the theme has only become more relevant since then.
Ideas shared included waiting to hold Youth Sunday until the congregation can meet in person for worship again; coordinating and editing together a recorded service; holding worship over Zoom or similar platforms; and splitting the difference by creating something together now and holding an in-person Youth Sunday once stay-at-home orders and social distancing have been lifted.
Dennis Beckner shared links for compressing and converting video files to make them easier to send online for those planning to edit a video together. National Youth Cabinet members shared how Zoom may provides a way for people to plan for Youth Sunday or continue to meet for youth group during social distancing, even if a congregation is not using it for worship. One topic of discussion was how to perform the staple Youth Sunday skit, for example having a single person perform the whole thing while changing hats or costumes to show different characters. Others recommended if there is a large enough family in your youth group, ask if they would be willing to perform the skit together.
Youth and Young Adult Ministries has given permission for the Youth Sunday resources to be used for a live-streamed service, and has provided a Google document of composers and musicians who have given permission for their music to be used for streamed services. Some members of the National Youth Cabinet have offered to write additional resources or revise current ones to suit the current need as requested.
If you or your youth create something you think would be helpful for other congregations and/or would like to share it with others, please send your creations to Youth and Young Adult Ministries. We also would appreciate any photos or videos you want to send via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/BrethrenYYA , the Youth Advisors Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/140324432741613 , or by email to BUllomNaugle@brethren.org .
— Nolan McBride is a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren. Find out more about the ministry at www.brethren.org/yya . Resources for the 2020 Youth Sunday scheduled for May 3 are at www.brethren.org/yya/national-youth-sunday .