Thanks to everyone who posted questions for our first effort at a Q & A. Here we go!
We have a young adult ministry and had a really good summer bible study, has anyone found a successful way to have a on-line study for students who are away? Is it something that can be interactive with students who remain local? — Gina
This is a great question, Gina, and the answer is yes. There are several tools out there that provide online video conferencing, which is really what you’re talking about. The problem is that many of those tools are start-ups, which can make them hard to find. And once a video-conferencing site becomes popular, it often switches to requiring a subscription rather than providing free video conferencing.
For example, I used to recommend a site called Tokbox because it provided free and simple video conferencing for several people. Things changed recently, however, and Tokbox is now more of a plug-and-play tool for App developers. So, if you’ve got one or two website builders among your summer Bible study, it could still be a good option. Another site that offers free video conferencing is oovoo.com, but they have started introducing premium options and may be moving toward a subscription model.
The best option for you, Gina, may be Google +. I know, I know — people still like their Facebook. But Google + does offer free video conferencing on the web for up to 9 people. So it can be very helpful for an online Bible study.
One last thing. If you’re interested in online small groups or a video Bible study, I recommend you look up Alan Danielson, who is kind of a pioneer in this area. Check out this article on SmallGroups.com, for example.
I lead a Sunday school class in a small church of approximately 120 people. I have approximately 17 people who would “fit” in the young adult range within the church family. However, I am only averaging between 3 – 4 people per class (same ones each time). We are reaching out as well to the 987 others (according to the 2010 census data) of this age group in our city. However, if we can’t get those who are already attending our church to join in, how can we get others to join us? — Ralton.
First, a reader named Jon had some good advice for Ralton in the Comments section of our original post, and I agree with those sentiments.
My first reaction is: what’s wrong with a Sunday school class that is effectively reaching 3-4 young adults? It’s a great goal to want to help more people, especially when things are going well — I understand that. But don’t overlook the blessing you have of a community that enjoys each others’ company, engages in discussion, and opens the door for spiritual growth. That doesn’t always happen whether a class has 3 people or 30.
The other good news is that effective community for young adults often happens organically. Young people (myself included) are often wary of marketing and promotion when it comes to church. If they feel pushed or harassed about trying something, they will resist. If they see from afar that something is positive and that other young people are enjoying themselves, however, they may come to take a look of their own volition. So I would recommend that you dig down and enjoy the small community you have developed, and see if the high opinion of the 3-4 people doesn’t attract some others in coming months.
When it comes to the 987 others you mentioned in your city, I recommend you check out the free Threads Digital Starter Kit as a way of boosting the young-adult ministry in your church.
I’ve been teaching a group of 20-somethings and been having a great time — we’ve been growing, things have gone well, great discussions, new people coming. The problem: the class I am teaching is one that was divided from another group, and theirs isn’t doing so hot. There was a little bit of turmoil between us at first, (I was asked to teach, and the class was kind of broken up by the powers that be…), and now I don’t know how I can give advice, or even interact with the leader or people from his group without the “weirdness.” Do I just need to mind my own work, or is it right to try to help and work in with the other group as well? — Jon.
That’s an interesting situation, Jon. The one thing I would say is that you certainly don’t need to feel bad or “weird” because of the success of your class. The goal is to advance the kingdom of God, after all, and if that is happening, all should be happy (in a perfect world).
If you do want to branch out and try to assist the other class, I would recommend you do it socially. Have a Christmas party, for example, and ask the other leader to help you plan the even and bring his students. Or do the same thing with a service project. If you’re worried that the other leader may be offended by you “horning in” on a teaching opportunity, then it would be a bad idea to try and patch things up through another teaching event.
I would also say that if the other leader is resistant to your efforts, you should mind your own work for a while and let things settle. If the other leader demonstrates outright hostility or bitterness, you may want to let someone on the church staff know what’s going on, and then step aside and allow the powers that be to take any necessary action.