We all know the power of community. We’ve seen it in our ministries and experienced it in our own lives. The college student growing a vibrant faith from being around others who are passionately following Jesus. A group of young ladies challenging one another to memorize Scripture together. One guy exposing sin to another friend and choosing to walk in the light. None of these things happen in isolation.
We’ve also seen the opposite. A young adult retreating from others to carry on in a lifestyle of sin. A once faithful member of our Bible study group cutting off contact with others to keep from being questioned about a sinful choice. This kind of behavior has a way of flourishing apart from community.
Many of us have celebrated wins in the lives of young adults over the past couple of months as we’ve seen individuals lean into Christian community. And then COVID-19 happened, and one of the side effects I fear the most is in the lives of young adults who have taken major steps forward in their walks with Christ as they’ve embraced Christian community. We don’t want to break any government restrictions, but we know we MUST find a way to continue to point young adults to community.
I’ve been so proud of the big family of Christ as we’ve sought to do just that in light of recent events. Here are a few ideas that I think are especially important as we try to maintain a sense of community among young adults during this season of quarantine.
- Intentional Check-ins—Create some kind of plan to make sure no one falls through the cracks. I’ve loved reading stories of how staff teams are dividing up rosters of students and devising an intentional plan to call, Facetime, or somehow check-in with each individual to make sure they know they are missed, cared for, and loved. Maybe you don’t have a staff team and it all falls on you. You can still make a plan to check in with five people a day or to create some sort of system that helps you to be intentional about checking in with your people. Believe me, they will really appreciate hearing from you during these uncertain days.
- Create Community Spaces—For some groups, simply taking the step to point young adults to a “space” where they can experience community together will go a long way in helping you maintain ministry momentum during this temporary season. We may not be able to call people to a church classroom, but make use of technology and point young adults to a digital space where they can connect with friends. Finding community in a digital space will be much less of an issue for young adults than those of us who are not natives to some of these technologies. Zoom, Google Hangouts, and GroupMe are all options you might want to consider.
- Pass on the Vision—Don’t feel like you need to be carrying the “must create community for my young adult group” banner on your own. You can set the bar by calling people to community during these days but also be intentional to challenge the young adults in your group to do the same. Challenge them to organize a Google hangout among all the sophomores to memorize scripture each week or encourage some of them to set a time on the calendar to plan on playing video games and invite others to log on and play with them.
We know that we are not abandoned and that God will be faithful to carry us during this unprecedented time. We also know that it will be much better getting through it with a little help from our friends. Your intentionality to create community among young adults is needed now more than ever!
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.