Clearing the ministry calendar through June seems like the common sentiment echoing from children and student ministry leaders right now. For now, small groups, midweek services, and off church campus activities all sit on idle. While waiting, digital platforms continue providing incredible opportunity for connections in ministry. When COVID-19 became our reality, the immediate need for creativity and continued interaction beckoned leaders to action. Now, the same call for action beckons leaders, but this time for face-to-face interaction.
A simple, yet effective opportunity for rallying leaders around connecting with children and students lies in old fashioned home visits. That’s right, the day of home visitation returns! This time the format shifts from entering the home to an appropriately distanced “howdy” outside of the home.
Our Next Generation Ministry team at FBC Plant City recently did this and were blessed as a result. Our simple game plan focused on snacks, drinks, and a time to connect.
- First, input your student names and addresses into an Excel sheet, and then drop them into Google Maps. Seriously, it’s easier than you think, just Google it. If you hate the sound of doing that, find whatever will work best for your context.
- Next, break your volunteer team (married couples work well, or pairs visiting together) up into homes nearest their own home using your Google Map layout. We found that 10-15 homes per team seemed like a sweet spot taking roughly 3-4 hours to cover, depending on your level of talkers in the group.
- Finally, find a gathering spot to divvy out snack boxes and drink coolers to each delivery team. We gave each student at home a choice of something sweet and something salty, followed by a Coke, Sprite, or water.
Off they went to connect face-to-face with students all around the Plant City area. (Yes, they each had masks and gloves that were changed for each visit.) One recommendation would be a general social media post of some sort to let parents know that volunteers would be calling them about a snack delivery. Volunteers called the day the visit was planned to make sure students would be home and that parents were ok with someone dropping by the house.
The snacks and drinks were a nice gesture, but the real blessing for our leaders came from those face-to-face conversations and opportunities for prayer at each home. While our ministries will continue to exercise creativity in connecting through the digital world, we must start to seek out opportunities for in person connections as well. A 10 minute visit may vastly improve a student’s mental health during this time.
Proverbs 27:9 says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.” I encourage you to find out what it takes to love your people well during this season.