The temptation in Europe after post-Covid-19 is to do business as usual. At least then, we know what to expect. The old is familiar and feels safe. However, will this help our youth work and churches as we restart ministry after Covid-19, as Europe is slowly surfacing from the pandemic?
The other question will be if we can go back to usual and to what was once normal to us? From most nations we interact with, we hear devastating numbers of young people who have no longer engaged with the online youth ministry offers and who have created other means of engagement outside church.
One of the UK statistics recently mentioned: 25% of everyone below the age of 35 years will not return to church. How is this looking like in your country and in your ministry?
On the other hand, we hear of new church plants, even new digital church plants who might continue digitally. We hear about young people having become Christians in the pandemic and have been integrated well. Where youth work has not diminished but grown in depth and numbers.
Recently, while preparing for a German youth festival for 2022 (expecting 12,000+ young people) we read Joshua 3:1-17 together. How Joshua was expecting God to show up, clearly gave God the centre piece with the ark of covenant to follow.
The leaders were called to go first and get their feet wet. As they entered the river of Jordan, only then the water divided so they could march through.
What spoke to me was the emphasis of walking a new way in Joshua 3:4, “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before”.
May we, as leaders be willing to get our feet wet in ministry and dare to walk on new ways. As we restart youth ministry or whatever, may we be willing to not say we return to the old ways (like Israel wanted to return to Egypt, Numbers 14), but be willing to faithfully and even while trembling try new ways for the sake of our young people in Europe.
One way to come alongside you is a new offer by the European Youth Ministry Network which I am co-leading. Under the leadership team of Chris Curtis (Youthscape) and myself, we will be offering an exciting 6-month learning community for any youth leader in Europe who would like to join us digitally. A monthly evening together. Our dream is to have 40+ youth leaders from all across Europe engaging with each other and together dream, think through innovation, share ideas and be daring. If interested, get in touch!
How can we prepare for the future of youth work post-Covid-19?