If you’re feeling like your youth group program online is feeling dry and repetitive, TRY THIS.
We might have reached a point in our online ministry where we feel we are running dry of ideas to make our meetings different or engaging. So let’s talk about how we can bring a bit of variety to our current meeting schedules and plans. (Note: we acknowledge specific ideas tailor to particular age groups more than others, but hope it helps get you thinking regardless).
- Have a theme for each meeting:
- Announce a theme for each week’s meeting. For example; fun hat week, where young people wear a fun hat to the meeting. Other themes can be favourite sports team colours, BYO blanket, sunglasses, pyjamas. You could also schedule a 5 minute show and tell at the start of each meeting to have young people bring and share their _______ (song, book, hobby, game, tv show, movie, quote, snack, fun fact, joke) of the week! Create a space where young people feel heard and can share the things in their life that they are currently enjoying. Make sure this activity is timed and quick, so your young people stay engaged!
- Themes don’t just have to be about appearance. Be creative about how you present your themes and have it run through your whole meeting. For example; topic is MARY and the month of May – have youth wear blue. Play an icebreaker giving young people a letter and the aim is to list as many names starting with that letter. Play a few rounds and lead into the talk by saying that like every letter has so many names, so does Our Lady (have a look at the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary), now let’s explore a few of these names and why she has that name! End the meeting having the young people pledge to pray for a friend or family, because that’s what Our Lady does, intercedes for us.
- Incorporate games into your teaching:
- Host Trivia nights and schedule 1-2 min in between some questions for teaching to the new facts they are learning. Trivia can be played through Kahoot, or simply have young people show the letter A, B, C or D through their screen to get the answers.
- Create a custom Bingo card and propose questions in which the answers are on the card. For example; “I am Mary’s husband” for St. Joseph, or “The feast we celebrate for when the apostles received the Holy Spirit” for Pentecost. Have themes like the Disciples, Feast Days, Saints, Parables etc and use the game as an opportunity to teach. You can create a custom card here: https://myfreebingocards.com/bingo-card-generator
- Get your young people into scripture. Give them a word like “Love” and ask them to count how many times this appears in a particular book of the Bible. If different Bible translations is a problem, have them count how many times Jesus heals the sick… or multiplies fish in a Gospel. You could also play the emoji game with them – guess the Bible story with an emoji sequence and write down the reference (some examples are below)
- Spice up your Q&A sessions:
- Host a “mystery guest” who the young people are familiar with. Have them change their account name and wear a mask or turn their video off. The mystery guest can be part of your meeting until youth guess who it is or can be the initial ice breaker. This person could be a parish priest, adult leader, a graduated youth group member or someone familiar to your group.
- Host a Q&A through a “cooking show”. Have the guest be cooking a meal as they give a talk or answer questions. Another idea is the “Hot seat”, where the leader and the “hot seat” guest are eating spicy fried chicken or ramen as they have a conversation together. You could have variations of these ideas which add a bit of difference to a usual Q&A session.
- Have a fire round – young people can submit any question/s they like prior to the meeting. The leader chooses 10-20 questions that will be “fired” at the guest who will have to answer as fast as possible. This is a good way for young people to get to know the guest, but we recommend sharing the questions with the guest prior to ensure they are comfortable with the idea.
NOTE: if you have a particular topic you want to speak about but aren’t sure who to ask, get in touch with us and we’d love to help source a great speaker for you!