COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Youth Ministry Advice [updated 23 March]

There has been a lot of developments since our last communication regarding COVID –19. Please review this updated document.

From 25 March 2020 we as a nation are alert level 4. At alert 4 people are to stay at home.  Isolation can be a very challenging experience for any of us and this is especially true young people. We recommend you work out ways to stay connected with young people every day of the week now that we are in a lock down situation.

 

Tips on running your youth ministry online

We recommend running youth ministry online

  • Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Messenger

Hospitality is always important when we gather. In an online environment we need to think carefully about this, communicating by social media beforehand with participants; ensuring youth leaders are greeting young people as they join; engaging in conversation; telling jokes; or having an icebreaker conversation. These are all important tools to avoid awkward silent time.

Preparation. The chair of the meeting needs to well prepared. It is advisable to test your audio beforehand and to start on time. Because participants can’t have side conversations, the gathering needs to be engaging for the whole time. Such meetings can be more intense and more tiring. We recommend you do meetings no longer than one hour. Hosts also need to know participants can be more open and more vulnerable in online conversations.

Quality discussion. If you are doing your meeting using online software, we recommend all participants use their webcam and are in a quiet environment. Online conversations are always better when participants have a good internet connection. Plugging in directly to a modem with an ethernet cable is best. Using mobile data or public wifi will provide the worst connectivity, and home wifi will be somewhere in the middle for most homes.

Fun Activities. Our young people need pastoral care and each other now more than curriculum and games. However. many classic games can be done via online meetings: Mafia, charades, home scavenger hunts etc.

Safety. For safety we advise that you don’t interact with a young person one on one over online video services. Get another leader to join you. Please refer to our helpful online communications policy to keep you and young people safe online.

Helping young people to navigate through a pandemic

News of the pandemic’s sweep across the globe, the deaths of thousands, the lock down of thousands more and the anticipated global recession are filling many of us with anxiety and concern about what lies ahead. Our young people are also engaging with the often-troubling news regarding the pandemic. Research tells us that our young people already experience higher levels of isolation and anxiety than previous generations and the pandemic is likely to heighten that. Because of the high level of online social connectivity young people can feel more connected to the troubling global events going on around us and less connected to the immediate community around them.

 

  1. As a church community we have a great opportunity to model positive ways to cope with the challenges of this pandemic and give opportunities for our whole church community, including young people to respond in positive ways.
  2. Create a safe space for young people to express their concerns, to ask clarifying questions. Here are some helpful points https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-talk-to-teens-about-the-new-coronavirus-2020031419192.
  3. It may be helpful to explore the theme of where is God in human suffering. Here is an article that might help you as a leader think through some of the theological concepts https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/coronavirus-evil-covid-19-disease-theology.html There are many good teaching resources that wrestle with this question , One example is a 3 part video series “Is God Good?” in the free NUA
  4. Invite your whole church community including young people to be praying regularly and specifically around global and local issues arising in relation to the pandemic. Here are two links to some prayer suggestions to get you started 24-7 Prayer, chvnradio, World Vision
    • Consider using some psalms of lament to help provide a pathway for healthy grieving for young people. Psalms 10, 46, 57, 86 or 61 could be helpful places to start here.
    • Consider practical ways your church can support people who are especially affected by the pandemic both globally and locally
    • Consider starting a fundraising campaign to support communities who are particularly affected overseas
    • Collect food and or funds to help those who have lost their jobs locally or have someone who has contracted the virus
    • Reach out to those in isolation who are not part of your church community
  5. Look out for signs and symptoms in our most vulnerable young people

For some people tragic events like this can trigger a very negative spiral of thinking which can lead to greater levels of depression, anxiety and even suicidality. The best thing we can do here is to create a space for young people to express how they are feeling and to be straight up with them if we have any concerns for their safety. Zeal has produced an excellent and simple resource to help guide you and parents through a conversation if there is any concern about a young person’s mental health post this event. https://zeal.nz/blog/supporting-each-other-through-13-reasons-why-a-youth-workers-perspective

For more information please go to the
COVID-19 Website
Ministry of Health Website
PCANZ communication
 

Online Ministry? Voke

As things progress with Covid-19, if it comes to the point we can no longer meet physically together. It’s good to think through how your group can gather online in different ways.

A couple years back I took a small group of 12 teenagers through the NUA material from SU. We watched the videos in a living room, ate food and had great faith conversations, it was so good. I think I paid $40 for the NUA material, but SU have got in contact with us, because the NUA material along with other resources is on a free app called VOKE.

In the app, young people can either go through the material on their own, with another person or it can be done as a whole group.

I think this is a great resource that could be very beneficial to youth ministries if they have to stop meeting together.

NUA

Apple: https://app.appsflyer.com/id1056168356?pid=VokeAppSite

Android: https://app.appsflyer.com/org.cru.voke?pid=VokeAppSite

Connect, national youth leaders Conference affected by COVID 19

As you will know, COvid-19 (coronavirus) is causing a great deal of uncertainly around many planned events this year.  

For PYM we have been wrestling with the safety concerns around running our Connect conference in June. We have engaged with other organisations running conferences, and we have seen some organisations opt to postpone their conferences and others continue to plan to meet if they are permitted to do so. 

We have decided to not run Connect as a physical gathering this year, but rather deliver a shorter, free online offering of youth ministry training instead. We will communicate more on this in due course. 

We believe that this year, there is an unnecessary health risk to Presbyterian communities in gathering people from every corner of our country and then for them to return home.  We are also aware that there is a reasonable risk that Connect could be required to be cancelled by the Ministry of Health with little notice right up to the event happening. Therefore, we are making this decision sooner rather than later, as we are aware many participants fly to Connect and we want to avoid unnecessary flight purchases.  

We know Connect is a highlight in the calendar for many youth workers, and so this has been a hard decision to make. We are deeply disappointed to not be able to meet for Connect this year. We are mindful this crisis will pass and while PYM will be delivering quality online training this year, we look forward to when we can again gather as a community of people who are passionate about youth ministry. 

PT Youth & Community Worker wanted – Waitara

At Knox Presbyterian Church Waitara, we want to help people find and follow Jesus. As part of this mission, we are seeking a half-time staff member who will work primarily in the area of youth. Key responsibilities include:

  • Developing, empowering and equipping teams
  • Having oversight of youth and community related programs
  • Contributing to the intergenerational vision of our church
  • Joining our team in exploring fresh and innovative ways of engaging youth and our community with the gospel.

We are looking for someone who is passionate about what God’s up to, wants to be part of youth and communities flourishing, and has a biblically-shaped imagination to see how God’s story and the story of the community of Waitara can connect in vibrant and innovative ways.

The successful applicant will preferably have experience in youth work, have a facilitative style of leadership, and be willing to develop and empower teams. You will join a supportive staff team who love our community, are committed to growing in our faith, and are looking for someone who is willing to join us in the fun and challenges of ministry.

This is a 20 hours a week position with scope to adapt the ministry description based on the skills, experience and abilities of the successful applicant.

If you feel that God may be leading you to join our team, then we would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, would like more information, or you would like to apply, then please contact Sebastian: sebastian@waitara.org.nz (06) 754 4356
Applications close Friday 13th March, 2020

Lent – Easter Reader

Easter Reader is designed to help individuals and churches reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The readings start on 1st March and work their way up to Easter Monday on 13th April, spanning 6 weeks.

For many of us, Easter comes and goes so quickly we barely have time to stop and consider again the breath-taking wonder of what God has done for us through Jesus.

You can download the Bible2020 Easter Reader below.

Download Bible 2020 Easter Reader

The Easter reader invites us to slow down and enter the story of Jesus afresh. Each week of readings begin with a short reflection, which introduces the readings for the week.

The Easter reader (written by the Scottish Bible Society) suggests four simple, open questions, the first of which is, “What jumped out at you for the first time?” to help us hear God speak afresh through his Word.

The readings themselves cover three broad themes:

The Son – Meditating on how God reveals himself to humanity through Jesus, Jesus’ ministry of teaching, healing and exorcism, and the words Jesus uses to describe himself.

His Kingdom Comes – Proclaiming the truth that the Lord is king over all the earth, reading of God’s promise of a coming king, Christ’s declaration and explanation of the Kingdom, and culminating with a glimpse towards the day when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, when he will reign for ever and ever.

A Triumphant King – Journeying through the Easter story, exploring the reality and wonder of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

FT YOUTH COMMUNITY WORKER WANTED – Wellington

St. Barnabas Church (Plimmerton Presbyterian Parish) is looking for a full-time staff member to focus on two specific and related areas of ministry on a 50/50 basis of time allocation, namely:

  • to actively lead, encourage and develop all aspects of Christian life with and for youth and their families/whanau in alignment with the St Barnabas mission plan; and
  • to be actively engaged with and in the community of northern Porirua, providing care, compassion and support to youth and their families/whanau through the Schools, sports clubs and other locations where youth gather.

Applicants should possess appropriate attributes including: a strong Christian faith; boundless enthusiasm, integrity and honesty; initiative, confidence and self-motivation; strong communication and interpersonal skills; competent administrative skills; ability to function both as a team leader and team member; and flexibility of hours.

To apply for the position, or to enquire about the role or receive a full job description, please contact Rev. Richard McLean, richard@ppp.org.nz.  Applications close 20 March 2020.

 

Easter Camps in 2020

Here is a map of all Easter Camps happening in New Zealand.

Click on the map for details.

View Easter Camps in a larger map

If your easter camp is not on the map, please send details to gordon@pym.org.nz

PT Youth Leader Wanted – Auckland

  • Want to get into Ministry?
  • Love working with teenagers?
  • Want to make a difference in their lives?

If you love young people then maybe you are meant to join our community, working closely with the Minister, to lead and enhance the life and potential growth of our youth ministry!

Albany Presbyterian Church is a grace-centred congregation that has a warm, family-friendly and inclusive faith-based fellowship which enjoys celebrating creativity. We are a culturally diverse congregation with European, South African, Chinese, and Korean families worshipping together. This diversity is also reflected in our youth and in the wider Albany area.

Located on the Auckland’s fast-growing North Shore and perfectly positioned close to Massey University, a junior high school and senior college, Albany Presbyterian Church is nestled amongst thousands of youth who need to hear Christ’s message.
In this part-time, paid role (between 5-8 hours per week) you will be responsible for coordinating and delivering the church’s youth ministry (Year 9-13); pastoral care of our youth and youth outreach. This will require a commitment to teach on Sunday mornings as well as develop and lead a programme of social and community events.

Our new Youth Leader must have:

  • a passion, warmth and an ability to relate to young people
  • a vibrant and genuine relationship with Jesus
  • an ability to engage, and live out, the Christian faith to others
  • proven leadership and communication skills

If you want to make a difference, then maybe this role is for you!

Find out more about this exciting opportunity by contacting Rev. Caleb Hardie on 021 619 411 and by sending your expression of interest with CV with a cover letter to caleb1hardie@gmail.com.

PrayerMate the award-winning prayer app

Helping you to pray faithfully & widely

Prayer is an amazing privilege, but it’s also really hard work (the apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match!) PrayerMate is an award-winning Christian prayer app that seeks to help you actually pray for all the people and causes you care about.

PrayerMate brings all your prayer points together. Whether it’s your personal prayer points for friends and family, regular updates from some fantastic mission organisations, or the latest PDF prayer letter that just arrived in your inbox, PrayerMate puts it all together in one place and helps you get on and pray.

Check out their website https://www.prayermate.net/

Training in Mission Programme

The Council for World Mission is inviting applications for next year’s Training in Mission programme (TIM). This programme will be held in New Zealand, Fiji, South Korea and Jamaica, which is fully funded by CWM, is open for all interested applicants aged 18 to 30 years old at the start of the programme, single and not an ordained minister (a maximum of two Presbyterian members can be selected).

TIM promotes leadership and service to the church and Christian mission, by providing opportunity for a group of young people from CWM member churches around the world to learn about mission in theory and in practice through classes, exposure visits, projects and hands-on work in various contexts for 6 ½ months. This could be an excellent gap year option, or an opportunity for someone who is considering a change of direction and would like to learn about mission and theology in a multicultural context.

Download the Training in Mission programme brief and Training in Mission application form here. For further information about TIM contact Global Mission Coordinator Phil King.