One of the most exciting things in the world of the online church is the potential it holds for the youth.
We know that young people no longer prefer the old-fashioned church services and youth programs of the past - in today’s fast-paced technological world church leaders need to do more to capture and keep their attention.
This is where using online tools to run youth group lessons can be your church’s best friend. Now, it’s possible to run engaging sessions for the youth online and meet them where they are already spending most of their time.
So how exactly can churches leverage internet technologies to minister to the youth? We give you some fun and thoughtful ideas below:
Keeping Kids Safe Online
Before we go any further, this is a very important point to cover: online safety for minors. The last thing you want as a facilitator is to put one of your attendees at risk - the only way to ensure you don’t is to make sure you are clued up on the latest safety tips and tools for children online.
Don’t forget, this includes social platforms too.
Let’s say that you wanted to live stream a youth service using Facebook Live. This adds several problems, with the top one being that you need to be of a certain age to sign up for a social profile. Will they use mom or dad’s? Or is it better to add them to a secure platform that allows hosts to monitor who is joining, what is going on in the chat, and without the need to sign up for social media?
Safety also extends to passwords and link sharing. Instances of Zoom-bombing became prominent during the pandemic, and it has been highlighted that organizations need to pay more attention to their cybersecurity practices.
With that said, there are some safe ways you can engage with your youth group online - let’s dive in.
Interactive Youth Group Lessons
Whether you're crafting fun youth group lessons in person or online, there are key elements required to make youth group interactive and engaging.
- Clear Objectives: Begin by defining clear learning objectives for your lesson. What do you want the youth to learn or take away from the lesson? These objectives will guide your lesson planning.
- Engaging Content: Develop content that is interesting and relevant to the youth. Incorporate multimedia, such as videos, images, and interactive activities to make the lesson visually stimulating.
- Interactive Activities: Incorporate hands-on activities, group discussions, and games to keep the youth actively involved. Interactive elements promote participation and help in retaining information.
- Real-Life Relevance: Relate the lesson content to real-life situations that youth can relate to. Show them how the information is applicable to their daily lives.
- Varied Learning Styles: Recognize that not all youth learn the same way. Include a variety of teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles, including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Technology is a great way to do this creatively.
- Small Group Discussions: Break the group into smaller discussion groups to encourage participation and allow for more personal interactions. This fosters a sense of community and peer learning.
- Incorporate Technology: Utilize technology, such as interactive apps, online resources, or social media, to make lessons more engaging for tech-savvy youth.
- Assessment and Feedback: Include opportunities for youth to assess their understanding of the material through quizzes, surveys, or group reflections. Provide immediate feedback to reinforce learning.
- Empower Youth Leadership: Encourage youth to take leadership roles in planning and conducting lessons. When they have a say in the topics and activities, they become more invested in the learning process.
- Safe and Inclusive Environment: Create a safe and inclusive space where youth feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions. Respect their diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
- Flexibility: Be adaptable in your approach. If the group shows a strong interest in a particular aspect of the lesson, allow for flexibility to explore it further.
- Continuous Improvement: Collect feedback from the youth on what worked and what didn't. Use this input to continuously improve your interactive youth group lessons.
By incorporating these elements into your lessons, you can create an environment where youth not only learn but also actively participate and engage with the material, making the learning experience more enjoyable and effective.
Playing Icebreakers On-Stream
We all know what it’s like to be the shy kid at Sunday school, but those reservations are soon forgotten when the youth leader introduces some fun icebreakers!
Icebreakers are simple games that help the members of your youth group get to know each other, laugh together and become a group of friends rather than strangers. Usually, your icebreaker games would be reliant on your group meeting in person, but engagement tools and creative activities have proven this is no longer true.
Some of our favorite suggestions for online icebreaker games include doing a pet show and tell, playing guess the Bible story, running a scavenger hunt, charades, and more!
There are also online games that can be fun for all ages. Games like Skribble.io or Minecraft can be set to private rooms or servers in which your group can draw or build together.
Set A Common Goal
As a youth group leader, being online shouldn’t limit you from thinking that your group can have a positive impact.
One of the best ways to encourage children to become closer to the word of God is to put them in the service of others, particularly the less fortunate. So ask your group, which cause would they like to get involved in?
Maybe you challenge each child to take a packet of pet food to their local animal shelter, recycle it for a week or choose a toy they no longer need to give to someone else. These are goals they can easily achieve wherever they are, and they can share their experiences with each other as they meet online to discuss what they have learned from the experience.
Harnessing The Power Of Video
With traditional youth groups, activities are usually limited to the days when the group would meet in person. Taking those activities online, however, means that it’s now possible to engage with them every day of the week using small videos, texts, and other types of communication.
For example, why not send your youth group a daily short video with a short reading, a prayer, and a good thought for the day? You can customize them as needed, making versions for exam days or even holidays like Easter and Christmas.
Engaging and interactive youth group lessons are essential for keeping young minds captivated, making youth group video lessons a fantastic tool for modern leaders. When crafting lessons for youth group gatherings, it's vital to strike a balance between fun and educational content.
Short youth group lessons, peppered with engaging activities, can help maintain the group's attention. One such example of fun youth lessons could be centered around the theme of friendship. These youth group lessons on friendship can encourage open discussions, team-building activities, and even watching inspiring videos that showcase the importance of genuine connections. By using technology and creative teaching methods, leaders can foster strong bonds among their youth group members while instilling valuable life lessons.
Host Monitored Hangouts And Movie Nights
Using a platform like Altar Live means you can safely host your youth group with a set staff member monitoring the chat and overseeing engagement.
This means that you can plan activities like daily open hangouts or collective movie nights that lead to discussions and reflection points later. Daily hangouts can have different themes - one day for what we’re grateful for, one day for Bible study, one day for free talk etcetera.
Encourage Your Group To Create
One of the best ways to engage your youth group online is to allow them to create. Since so many children and teens are clued in when it comes to technology, why not run a few interesting challenges or opportunities to share?
Some things your youth group could do include:
- Creating digital artworks
- Making a youth group playlist
- Working on video slide presentations
These can easily be tied into your weekly or monthly theme and can be shared online with the rest of their group using the Altar Live platform.
How Altar Live Helps Churches Run Youth Groups Online
Altar Live is a Zoom alternative that is easier to use and offers more features that make your meetings feel like you are in person.
Whether it’s a Bible study or a free-themed youth group session, you can create dynamic meetings that increase participation. Instead of breakout rooms, the Lobby provides a dynamic space to keep the conversation going. Altar is designed with intuitive tools for screen sharing, video sharing, and moderation controls so hosting small groups is simple and easy.
You can also use Altar Live to easily:
- Connect any live stream software
- Host multiple events at the same time
- Assign multiple Hosts
- Keep track of attendance
- Customize the look and feel
- Create Polls and Announcements
- And so much more
It’s more than live streaming for churches. It’s empowering real faith experiences one online connection at a time.
Transition your church to the Altar Live platform today with a 30-day free trial!