How do we continue to care for the spiritual well-being of students in the time of crisis and pandemic?
Our lives have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re stuck at home and trying to create a new routine. We miss our friends, and crave a sense of normalcy. But God is still with us.
Before sending out his disciples at the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.
We’ve grown accustomed to discipleship and Bible Study happening in a certain way: a small group together circled up in the same room, physically together. However, that’s not the only way to disciple teenagers. Discipleship has evolved and changed over the last 2,000 years and we’re now in an era where we need to adapt and change again.
Thanks to the gift of technology, discipleship can happen even when we are physically separated. There are a variety of online platforms you can use to run virtual Bible Studies. If your students have limited access to technology and the Internet, get creative. You can email Bible Studies to the students, or to the parents if the students don’t have email.
No Internet at all? Consider sending snail mail and include a handwritten note on the Bible Study print out or drop it off on their front porch!
We’ve created a 6 week Bible Study series specifically to be used in the home. It’s written to be used as a group online. However, we know that many have students with limited technology options, so we’ve made the Bible Study lessons editable, and you can easily adapt them to meet your students’ needs. Many students are now doing online learning for school, so we didn’t write these Bible Studies with you talking the whole time, instead they are written to engage your students in thought, conversation, reflection, and action.
You can download Chapter 1 for FREE, Chapters 2-3 are downloadable for $1.99, and Chapters 4-6 are $2.99.
Online Platform options:
- Zoom – Group video meetings for up to 40 minutes at a time with 100 users. You’ll need a paid account to meet for longer when your group size is 3 or larger. If you have a lot of students and are able to utilize your volunteers to lead the Bible studies, check out the Zoom Breakout room feature and have multiple smaller groups happening at the same time.
- Facetime – You can facetime with up to 32 people if all your users have a MAC product with access to facetime
- Skype – Group video calling for up to 50.
- Google Hangout – You can do a group video with up to 10 users and a group chat with up to 150.
- Google Duo – Video calling with up to 8 people.
- Check out this list of Virtual Technology Recommendations based on group size from our friends at Ministry Architects
Helpful tips for an engaging Bible Study online:
- Poll your students in advance to find the best time to meet.
- Ask a couple of adult volunteers to join you on the call to help meet your own Safe Sanctuary guidelines of adult to student ratios.
- Ask students to mute themselves when they are NOT talking so you don’t get the extra noise and distractions.
- Make sure you test out your online platform in ADVANCE of your online Bible Study! Work out the kinks first and make sure you are comfortable with it.
- Bring objects with you to share visuals or prepare slides/images to share in advance to keep people engaged and interested.
- Make sure you are in good lighting and a room free of visual and sound distractions so your youth can easily focus on you and see you! Never video chat youth from your bedroom.
- As our download lesson will invite you to do – share the scripture with your youth in advance! It will help them to have access to it throughout the online study.
- This WILL feel different from meeting with your youth online and that’s ok! Ease into it and give yourself some grace. We’ve designed our lessons to be fairly short to help keep your youth engaged.
- As the start of your online Bible Study, ask youth to close or minimize all the other browsers or apps they have open. Close and turn off other forms of technology so they can focus in.
Let us know how you used these Bible Studies and the creative ways your students engaged the Challenges in the comments below!
Update: *Find Chapters 4-6 of this 6-week series here.