Here are resources that I've put together to help you if you're running a virtual youth group, including games to play online. We are using Zoom, a teleconferencing app. I am in no way affiliated to Zoom, EKO, StreamYard, Discord or Whiteboard.fi, nor have they approved this content.
Check out Zoom learnings and safeguarding below for more stuff to make using Zoom safer, easier and more effective with church youth groups.
have you seen eko?
EKO allows you to produce interactive videos. If you want to look at what, in theory, is possible, see what they've done here. We've just done our first interactive school visit at Christ Church, Winchester. You can see it here. This is definitely not to show you how it's done, but to give you an idea that you can develop in your context. You could do an interactive Q&A where people choose which of three questions they hear an answer to. People could explore the Christmas story or hear different testimonies. Click here to find out more about EKO. If you've used it already, I'd love you to get in touch to say how you've used it. I need new ideas too.
For our online school visit, we sent out to the school the Bible Roller Coaster video, another video telling Theodore Wedel's Lifeboat Station story and the link to our EKO video. Then we ran a live Q&A with four of our church members on YouTube using StreamYard as a studio. We had questions from the young people before the session, but they could comment on YouTube to ask follow-up questions. We had really good feedback.
gaming on discord
Lots of youth groups are finding online gaming groups using Discord really popular. Not sure where to begin on that? Me neither. Bea Ellaby, Youth Pastor at Christ Church, Abingdon has kindly created some resources to help us get started. It is your responsibility to check these documents are suitable for your context and adapt as necessary.
GETTING YOUNG PEOPLE INVOLVED AND LEADING
Here are some ideas of what you could use with young people online. Push it even further - get them creating and leading.
With thanks to Jimmy Dale (although any mistakes are mine). I haven't checked out the entirety of the videos/instagrams linked to, but they will give you an idea of what can be done. If you know of other resources, get in touch.
A great way to keep in contact as a small group of over-16s. Encourage young people to share life, prayer requests and Bible bits that are inspiring them.
ZOOM BIBLE STUDIES
You may be surprised who turns up for these.
Check out https://engageworship.org/ideas/psalm-119-lectio-divina-meditation
If you're not familiar with Prezi, use the right arrow at the bottom to move the presentation along.
Important note - safeguarding still applies (maybe more so)
Check out Safer Places Online from Youthscape
READ IT, LOVE IT, LIVE IT
Make a short video:
What have you read?
Why do you love it?
How can we live it out?
YOUTH PODS AKA REALLY SMALL GROUPS
Check out Kahoot/Sidekick
Check out Twitch
Pre-recorded videos by young people
Online and need a new game?
Ikea line or Scandinavian town?
Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash
It's an either/or quiz. Screenshare the name. Make sure to put all those pesky accents in. But is it a line from IKEA (and you can guess what sort for extra points), a Scandinavian town (and you can guess the country for more points) or maybe both? For a bit of movement, get people to act something out to choose it. They could swing a hammer for IKEA and relax in the sauna (may be dangerous for some groups) for Scandinavian town. And for both, they can try to do the two things simultaneously! Or they could always just put their answer in the Chat. To save you time, find the meaning of IKEA lines here. [Other Scandinavian furniture shops are available, but I can't immediately think of any...]
Download more online games ideas below
think about how you could use the whiteboard on Zoom to bring calm and quiet into a noisy session. push things out a bit further, have a look at
Great for participation. Screenshare your teacher view, send the young people a link to your whiteboard, ask a question and see what young people answer.
They can also see what others are writing.
You can watch a five-minute tutorial here.
Click on the picture below to go to Codenames online
You can play the categories game online with a group here. Be aware that some of the categories may lead to distracting answers, so choose them carefully.
If you know of other online resources like this, please get in touch.
Have you discovered
Create an account, start a game, share your screen. You're in Google Streetview. But where are you? Japan, Nigeria, Canada, the UK? How long will your group take to work it out? Can you guess within 100 miles or 100 metres? You can have lots of fun with everyone shouting what you should do next, or you might want to give each person in turn a chance to move you or have you look at something. Speed it up by using FAMOUS PLACES or your own country.
ENJOYING THESE ONLINE RESOURCES?
Get more ideas and support for your youth ministry with Dave Thornton's 392-page book: "RAISING THE BAR: Nearly Everything You Need to Know about Christian Youth Ministry."
"I would recommend it to those in all leadership, not just youth work"
Jane Appleby, UK church elder