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Coronavirus: A youth ministry liveblog

 

We ran this liveblog from March to May 2020 to help youth leaders respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the content shared can still be accessed and searched for via the sidebar.

Type: Survey

8d ago.

The Monday Report: Gratitude, overwhelm, and unexpected positives of lockdown

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions that will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 28 responses so this is not a representative group and we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK. This week we asked about how you’re feeling, lockdown guidance and positive experiences of youth ministry.

You can read the full report here.

1. STILL GRATEFUL, STILL OVERWHELMED

This is the third (and final) time we’ve asked about how you’ve been feeling over the last week. We’ve asked the same question in week one (n=60) week five (n=53) and now week ten (n=28). With half-term in full swing and many youth workers furloughed, we had fewer people fill out this third survey but there is still some real consistency around the emotional experiences of feeling grateful and feeling overwhelmed. We know practising gratitude is powerful, but how do you manage moments of feeling overwhelmed? Here’s a great article from Dr Kate Middleton on overwhelm and some encouragement from one youth worker to another in a recent blog post for Youthwork News by Gemma Milligan.

2. LOCKDOWN

In week three we asked whether young people were following social distancing guidelines and (as far as you knew) the majority of you said yes. Now that we all have permission to meet in small groups outside, we wanted to come back to the question. This time we asked which of the statements below you agreed with. Given that youth work is not generally face to face, it is interesting that 30% have explained the guidelines and 85% have encouraged young people to stick to them. 41% have witnessed young people they know not following the guidelines, some of whom have been struggling with anxiety. But, as someone pointed out in a comment, we neglected to ask whether you had seen young people followingthe guidelines! In fact, where people made comments it was generally to tell us about young people’s compliance, or their frustration at friends who weren’t complying.

Lockdownrulesgraph
 

3. THE UNEXPECTED POSITIVES

We would never choose them, but these experiences of crisis can sometimes precipitate welcome change in ourselves and others. So finally, we asked ‘Has lockdown had any positive impact for your work with young people?’ There were a range of responses, but here (in order of frequency reported) are the key areas where you’ve seen good developments.

  1. More meaningful contact with young people. Some people have supported more young people through lockdown, but for most it has been about smaller groups, more focused conversation, space to talk about feelings, the chance to offer pastoral care or just the opportunity to develop closer relationships with specific individuals.
  2. More creativity in your approach to youth work. You told us about diversifying your programmes, doing more one-to-one engagement, doorstep deliveries, art-based work and even being able to use WhatsApp - despite previous resistance to the idea.
  3. Deeper faith development. Some people have noticed young peoples’ faith developing through a renewed focus on God or scripture within group settings. Others described young people being more vulnerable, more supportive of peers or whose faith was flourishing where they were taking more responsibility in a group.
  4. Other answers. Finally, there were other positives that you told us about: more meaningful contact with the parents of young people; the chance to slow down and read; more contact between young people themselves; opportunities to just have fun; group exercise and even appearances on a Sunday.
11d ago.

The Thursday 3x3

 

The Thursday 3x3 is a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about their experiences during lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions about you, young people and youth ministry, which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re asking (again) how you’ve been feeling this week, any positive impact of lockdown, and your experience of social distancing guidelines and young people.

This micro-survey is anonymous and the answers will be used to write a short report, which you can read on our blog next Monday. You can find the results of last week's survey here.

 
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13d ago.

The Monday Report: Lockdown creativity, half-term breaks & youth worker encouragement

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 34 responses and this is not a representative group, so we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK.

You can read the full report here.

1. Lockdown creativity: Treehouses, knitting and TikTok

For many people, lockdown has created the conditions to take up new hobbies or uncover buried creativity. So, we asked ‘Have young people you know been engaging in any creative activities to keep themselves occupied during lockdown?’ Three quarters said ‘Yes’, and 24 provided examples including: baking, painting, construction, journaling, making music, mindful colouring, writing, designing, knitting, gardening, making YouTube videos, learning musical instruments, mini artworks, stop-motion, woodwork, photography and coding.

MRP Picture 1
 

2. Half-term breaks?

At Easter time we asked you if you expected to slow down for the break and it was a really mixed bag. So, with another break upon us* we asked, “Are you stopping youth work activities over half term?” The majority (64.7%) aren’t stopping, although 14.7% of these are doing something a bit different this week. Just under a quarter are taking a break because that’s what they would normally do while 8.8% wouldn’t usually stop but sense the need for a break.

Of those who arestopping, many told us they are feeling tired. Some people pushed on through Easter but are stopping now, and some told us that they felt young people needed a break too. Some of those who are carrying on told us that young people and their parents still valued ‘meeting up’, and though they would usually stop they feel the need to “continue with our new normal”. One person reflected that “It seems like an opportunity missed if we stop for half term.”

3. Words of encouragement from one youth worker to another

Finally, as we enter week 10 of lockdown, it felt like a good moment to ask you, in one sentence, what other Christian youth workers might need to hear this week. We had a lovely message in there from a church leader who said “Take a day or two off. We love you and appreciate what you are still doing. Thanks for learning new skills and using them before you were probably ready.” I’ve summarised the key messages that were shared, with an example under each heading. Thank you so much for your contributions – I hope they encourage and affirm you!

What you are doing is important – “You are providing something stable and certain to young people when there seems very little certainty and everything keeps changing for them. Don’t underestimate the value of this.”

Just stay connected to young people – “Simply maintaining connection to the young people is the key thing at the moment; deeper conversations, teaching and spiritual formation may have to wait for now - and that's okay.”

Don’t judge yourself – “Don't make judgements on your calling or how good a youth worker you are. You're doing your best, this is not a fair time of evaluation for you or the young people.”

You’re not alone – “Feel unproductive, guilty about not doing enough but still being fully paid. You're not alone.”

You have limits, you will need to rest – “A youth worker’s job is never done. Log off and go outside…”

And when you reach the edge of what you can do, God is present, powerful and at work – “If you are finding it tough to engage young people over technology, you are not alone. And it doesn’t mean God has stopped working with them.”

Look up – what is God doing? – “Resist the urge to go back to normal. What is the new landscape God is helping you see?”

Don’t give up – “Keep going! It's tough I get it, but God is at work and doing so much more than you can see.”

God is with you - “Oh, God is just rejoicing over you. He loves you so much.”

18d ago.

The Thursday 3x3 (Week 9)

 

After a pause last week while we launched ‘We do God’, we’re back with the Thursday 3x3! It’s a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about their experiences during lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions about you, young people and youth ministry, which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re asking about half-term, creativity and your message to other youth workers.

This micro-survey is anonymous, and the answers will be used to write a short report which you can read on our blog next Monday.

 
Create your own user feedback survey
28d ago.

The Monday Report: Faith at home, young people’s questions and lockdown practice

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 48 responses and this is not a representative group, so we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK.

This is a short summary of the Monday report. Head here to see the extended results.

1. Faith at home – it’s a bit of a blur

A couple of weeks ago the Church of England launched their Faith at Home initiative. We were curious about your perceptions of faith in the home, and how it might be affected by these circumstances. So, we asked ‘Do you think young people are experiencing more spiritual conversation/spiritual support from parents in the home since lockdown?’

The largest group (41%) said ‘I don’t know’ - which makes sense. Unless young people or parents tell you about conversations they are having, youth workers won’t really know what’s going on at home. Nevertheless 27% said ‘No’, with some commenting that young people were more likely to be getting hassled from parents, or that not many parents had the resources or capacity at the moment. 22% said ‘Yes’ and the final 10% commented that some young people were experiencing more spiritual support from parents and some weren’t, but that it depended on the parents themselves.

2. Definitely Some Questions Asked

You might know that we did a piece of research a couple of years ago about young people’s questions about faith and God. Having been thrown into such an unusual situation, we wondered whether lockdown had triggered any particular reflections or questions on faith from young people. Just over a third of the comments were some version of ‘No’, with little extra commentary.

The other two-thirds had observed reflections or questions from young people, and they ranged in theme. Some young people had questions about suffering, while others were about the role and mission of the church in these times. Some young people were asking about what the future might be like, about injustice, heaven and their own busyness. Young people have been reflecting on “what is important in life”, “how we are reacting to different aspects of lockdown”, “the importance of real-life friendships”, “developing a personal rather than collective faith” and feeling generally grateful for what they have, according to these youth workers.

 

3. Lockdown practice: less singing but more celebration

Finally, this is the week when we launch our latest piece of research, We do God, exploring the role of Christian practices in missional youth work. Given that life looks so different for us now than it did a few months ago, we asked one of our survey questions again. Have you been intentionally practising any of the following in the last six weeks?

Most of the top five are the same as they were six months ago, but taking the place of worship here is celebration. Are we making more of the celebrations happening anyway (like birthdays or Easter) or are we celebrating more? Previous surveys have certainly picked up a strong sense of ongoing gratitude, and this may well be related to the practice of celebration – even in these challenging times. There has also been an increase in the practices of lament, living simply and rest. But don’t worry. in case you’re thinking we’ve all gone mega holy, fasting is still down at the bottom of the list…

2d ago.

The Thursday 3x3

 

The Thursday 3x3 is a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions about you, young people and youth ministry, which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re asking about faith at home, young people’s questions and your own spiritual practice.

This micro-survey is anonymous and the answers will be used to write a short report, which you can read on our blog next Monday.

Thank you so much for taking part!

 
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5d ago.

The Monday Report: Youth worker as key workers, post-lockdown support and shifts in online engagement

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 57 responses, and this is not a representative group, so we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK.

This is a short summary of the Monday report. Head here to see the extended results.

 

1. TWO-THIRDS THINK YOUTH WORKERS SHOULD BE KEY WORKERS

Last week the National Youth Agency called for youth workers to be considered as ‘essential key workers’ so that they can continue to provide some face-to-face support to young people. We asked whether you agreed. Two-thirds said ‘yes’, a fifth said ‘no’ and the rest said they didn’t know. Respondents pointed out that that youth workers could be a lifeline for vulnerable young people who would otherwise fall through the gaps, but some people were concerned about physical distancing and didn’t see their work as equivalent to other essential services.

 
Mondaygraph1
 

2. WE WANT SUPPORT FOR THINKING ABOUT YOUTH WORK POST-LOCKDOWN

Youth work organisations have rallied quickly to provide support, resources and guidance during lockdown, but it’s hard to know what people find useful. So, we asked ‘What support would you find helpful from youthwork organisations?’ 64% wanted guidance or advice on youthwork after lockdown, compared to 39% wanting advice about youth work during lockdown – suggesting that there is a need to prepare for how we’ll manage in the next phase. There is a desire for ‘general encouragement’ (52%), but fewer people want to engage in discussion with other youth workers (30%). Finally, it’s encouraging to see just over half the group have an appetite for ‘new models or approaches to youthwork’ (52%), as well as ‘session plans for online youth work’ (50%). Other suggestions were ideas for ‘all-age slots’ at online church, how to keep connected over a sustained period of lockdown, mental health resources to support young people/youth workers and, uhm, gardening tuition online…

 

2. A CORE GROUP ARE SHOWING UP ONLINE, BUT SOME ARE STILL MISSING

This week we asked, ‘How are young people engaging with online activity you are offering in week six, and how does this compare to the earlier weeks of lockdown?’. Just over half the answers (54%) were positive, describing a core group of young people engaging fairly consistently with online activities. While some people were effusive about online work, others were struggling. One person said that young people were still engaging well but “It’s getting harder and harder to keep it fresh and almost impossible to really connect with them through it”. And a number of people also said that although engagement has been stable, there has always been a group of young people who never showed up in the first place.

“We have the same group of young people each time we do a zoom chat. They are keen, but the rest of the group haven’t yet engaged.”

Finally, eight people told us that young people were not engaging with online activities at all, or much less than they had been. This was ascribed to weariness with Zoom, the burden of schoolwork, the novelty having worn off and having to manage home life. It’s important to remember that we don’t know the context behind these comments or numbers and it’s probably too soon to understand why things work well in some places/moments and less well in others. Whatever your experience, your desire to support young people comes through loud and clear. Keep going!

9d ago.

The Thursday 3x3

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY THURSDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
The Thursday 3x3 is a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions about you, young people and youth ministry, which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re asking whether you think youth work is an essential service, whether you are noticing any changes in young people’s digital engagement and exploring what you feel you need right now.

This micro-survey is anonymous and the answers will be used to write a short report, which you can read on our blog next Monday.

 
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10d ago.

Out of Sight? - National Youth Agency Report

 

If you're concerned about the vulnerable young people in your community, we recommend reading the new report released today by the National Youth Agency. It draws attention to the pressing needs many young people are facing as a result of the pandemic and calls for a clear exit strategy for young people who are likely to be included in the early stages of release from lockdown measures.

The top-three concerns (found in the report) are:

  • ‘Increased mental health problems’: Over a million young people have self-reported mental health issues. There is a spike in calls to Help Lines, with 84% reporting worse mental health following school closures or being no longer able to access mental health support
  • ‘Missing from education’: With schools only partially open and youth centres closed, as few as 5% of young people are currently engaged in school and have limited or no access to youth work. Even when schools re-open there are 700,000 young people persistently absent or NEET (not in education, employment or training)
  • ‘At risk, at home’: Over a million young people are at risk from any of the so-called ‘toxic trio’ of addiction, mental health, and domestic abuse. Despite this, child protection referrals have plummeted by 50% in some areas.

You can read more and download the full report here.

 
Liveblog nyareport
12d ago.

The Monday Report: Gratefulness, gender and good music

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 50 responses, and this is not a representative group, so we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK.

This is a short summary of the Monday report. Head here to see the extended results.

 

1. WE'RE FEELING GRATEFUL, BUT MORE CONCERNED AND LESS OPTIMISTIC

At the end of the first week of lockdown, we asked youth workers to identify up to three feelings they had been experiencing most often. The top three were "overwhelmed’, ‘optimistic’ and ‘thankful".

We repeated the question last week, and ‘thankful’ had jumped to the top of the list, chosen by 44% of the group. Being thankful is a spiritual practice that is particularly important for sustaining mental health during challenging circumstances, and has been shown to be associated with enhanced well-being in numerous studies as well. Coming in second was ‘overwhelmed’ at 34%, and behind that was ‘concerned’ at 30%, which has doubled from 15% in Week 1. Optimism is still present, with 20% highlighting this as one of their top three emotions of the last week – but much lower than the 38% of Week 1.

 
Graph6 monday
 

2. GENDER AND LOCKDOWN: HOW ARE YOUNG PEOPLE RESPONDING?

We asked whether you’d noticed any differences in how young people are managing in lock-down, depending on their gender. First, the caveat. These are perceived differences, so we’re not saying that they are real or true for all young people. Indeed, 14 people said they hadn’t noticed any particular patterns related to gender.

Where differences were described, some were related to perceived patterns of communication: girls are talking to their friends more, while were boys are connecting over gaming. Some saw girls as being more willing than boys to seek support early in the lockdown, while boys appeared to be ‘ok’. For some, this is reversing and girls engagement is trailing off as they find their feet, while boys are now more likely to reach out for support

Boys were perceived to be feeling the absence of sport and physical activity outside, with some youth workers describing young men as being less engaged with video calls than young women. A few people mentioned that girls appeared highly invested in doing well in their education while boys seemed more laid-back in this regard. Finally, there were references to boys feeling bored (and some becoming frustrated and angry), while girls appeared more likely to be independently occupying themselves.

What do we make of this? Well, while gender is likely to be a factor affecting how young people cope with and experience lockdown, it is just one of many. This small sample won’t give us answers but might create the opportunity for you to reflect on your own context and what you have noticed. Do young men and women have different needs at this time? How are we likely to perceive them, and how might that affect what we observe?

These answers just raise more questions, don’t they?

 

3. GIRL (AND BOY) PUT YOUR RECORDS ON

Finally, we asked, "If you could contribute one song to the ultimate lockdown playlist to lift other youth workers' spirits, what would it be?" Half of you went for worship songs and the rest for your favourite uplifting tunes (there are some truly amazing choices in there). So, we’ve made two playlists for you. Enjoy!

 

THE SONGS:

 
 

THE WORSHIP SONGS:

 
16d ago.

The Thursday 3x3

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY THURSDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
Well hey there, thanks for dropping by. The Thursday 3x3 is a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about their experiences during lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re repeating the very first question we asked a month ago, to see how you’re feeling - and asking about gender and your favourite lockdown tune.

Come back to the blog next week for results in our Monday Report.

 
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19d ago.

The Monday Report: lockdown struggles, online church and lessons for the future

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 a weekly survey of three quick questions, to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. It was another quiet week, thanks to Easter so thank you to the 57 people who answered our questions. Remember, the sample is not representative of the wider Christian youth work tribe so we shouldn’t assume that they apply to everyone!

This is a short summary of the Monday report. Head here to see the extended results.

 

1. KNOWNS AND UNKNOWNS: BOREDOM, ANXIETY AND POOR SLEEP

We presented a non-comprehensive list of issues young people might be facing during lock-down and asked you whether you knew young people were facing this, were concerned they might be, didn’t think it was an issue or just didn’t know. Head to the full report to see the results.

80% said they knew young people were experiencing boredom, while 68% highlighted anxiety and 67% poor sleep. It’s interesting that 56% are concerned about young people’s use of technology (too broad a concept really), but only 32% know this is actually an issue. 95% said that loneliness was either a known issue, or something they were concerned young people were experiencing, and 42% said they knew young people who had family members with COVID-19. It is interesting to look at what shows up at the bottom of the list too. There is concern that young people will be increasingly likely to be victims of exploitation, bullying or domestic violence during the lockdown, but most of our respondents either said this wasn’t an issue or they didn’t know if it was. Do we know how to spot the signs, if this was happening to a young person? Finally, two-thirds said that ‘not enough food’ wasn’t likely to be an issue for young people they supported, with only 7% highlighting that this was a known problem.

 

2. ONLINE CHURCH AND YOUNG PEOPLE: THE ACTION IS NOT ON SUNDAY

Many of us will have experienced multiple weeks of online church services by now, so we asked, ‘What’s that like?’ Most churches seem to be taking a pick n’ mix approach to the platforms they are using for online church services. At one end of the spectrum, some are exclusively pre-recording and broadcasting the service on YouTube while others are running highly interactive gatherings using Zoom (games, discussion, readings). In-between are the many who are blending ‘broadcast’ material alongside chat boxes or WhatsApp groups that are open for prayer/feedback or chat before/after or during services, and activities for children emailed in advance to families.

When it comes to Sunday services, the general sense was that they aren’t youth-friendly enough and that as a result, youth workers are leaning more heavily on supplementing these services with sessions straight after the Sunday service, at other times in the week (online youth groups), and with contact using other platforms (see week 1). Of those who mentioned young people specifically in relation to Sunday services, 14 of the 22 comments were negative, with only two being positive about the impact that moving online was having.

“No real provision for young people - even though we've asked for it. Church leaders seem blindsided by this, and are just focusing on their 'core flock’.”

 

3. THAT'S A KEEPER: ONLINE TOOLS, NEW IDEAS AND REGULAR DEVOTIONALS

Four weeks into lockdown we asked you to tell us up to three things that you’ve been doing differently in your youth work/ministry that you would like to continue doing when this period is over. Of course, the jury’s out on what ‘over’ means, but you get the idea. This one feels perhaps most important of all, so although this is a very quick analysis of your answers, I hope we can revisit this question again.

  1. Making better use of online platforms and tools: Zoom for team meetings, youth group and mentoring; individual/group messaging; YouTube; Instagram and better use of social media and video in general
  2. New content or approaches: Worship Wednesdays, online baking sessions, video-recorded interviews, digital detox, weekly shuffle challenges. Whether it’s new ideas, or a slightly different approach (simpler, shorter, less focused on content) there is lots of ‘new’ happening.
  3. Supporting young people’s faith. Lots of you want to keep sharing regular ‘devotional’ content, whether that’s publishing video reflections, sending texts or letters of encouragement or Instagram posts of scripture.
  4. More regular and one-to-one contact with young people. There’s a desire to continue to invest in relationships through checking in with individual young people, often through text, phone calls or post.
  5. Parents and prayer. And then finally, respondents wanted to maintain a greater level of communication with parents and to continue to pray more in the future.
 

SEE YOU NEXT THURSDAY

Thanks to those who took part. Why not put Thursday 3pm in your diary and check back here each week to take part yourself?

 
Monday report4
23d ago.

The Thursday 3x3

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY THURSDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
Yep, you read that right. Turns out that, neat though it is, Friday at 3pm is probably not the best time to ask you our three questions. The weekend is calling, you’re winding down, and you are not ritualistically checking our blog. So, from now on, it’s the Thursday 3x3.

If you’re new to this we thought it might be important to capture some of what this glorious community is doing, thinking and feeling during an entirely new experience. But things are changing so rapidly we didn’t want to just ask once. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which should take you about three minutes to answer.

Today we’re asking about what young people are struggling with, and what you want to hold onto, post-pandemic.

Come back to the blog next week for results in our Monday Report.

 
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25d ago.

The Monday Report: flouting, furlough and finding new connections

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Friday 3x3 – a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Friday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer.

It was quieter this week. Last week, lots of those who engaged with our survey told us they were expecting to carry on at the same pace over Easter. But we only had 35 of you glorious people respond to our Thursday survey (a day early!) so maybe we were winding down after all! So, a quick reminder, with only 35 responses this is not representative of what the wider Christian youth work tribe thinks or feels. You can read the full-length breakdown and reflection here but a brief summary is below:

 

1. FLOUTING: ARE THEY OR AREN'T THEY?

Ministers and public health officials have been under fire for ‘flouting’ (great word) government guidelines, and to some extent so have teenagers. Obviously youth workers won’t really know what young people are doing 24-7, but the majority of those who responded felt that young people were compliant. In contrast, an article in the Telegraph reported that government polling showed teenagers to be a "problem" group when it comes to compliance. If that’s right and teenagers are more likely to gather socially, what is the responsibility of youth workers? On the one hand, we need to help young people #stayathome but we may also need to advocate for them, especially where they may lack safe spaces. Here is a great blog post on that topic.

 
Monday furlough
 

2. FURLOUGH: VOLUNTEERS HELPING TO SUSTAIN YOUTH MINISTRY

Recent government policy has made it possible for organisations in financial difficulty to ‘furlough’ staff so we asked: "Has youthwork in your context been affected by staff being furloughed?"

26/34 said ‘No’. Five of these added that this was because their youth work team is all volunteers. One person reflected that their volunteers have more time because they been furloughed from their paid work, while another explained that their volunteers are teachers and NHS workers so are still working and volunteering!

Eight people said they or their context had been affected by furlough. In one context the community/schools work team had been furloughed, while church youth work had moved online and been relatively unaffected. Some people told us they had lost between 1/3 to 1/2 of their team with the result that some key relationships were disrupted, and young people either couldn’t see a youth worker or had to meet someone new. In a church context, one person told us that youth and children’s work had merged in response to staff furloughing, while two described blurred boundaries around ‘volunteering’.

“It's so hard in the church - vague boundaries on work/volunteering - the staff have been asked to volunteer for different things, but I think that's unethical and makes the atmosphere - which is already stilted over zoom - more tense!”

 

3. A MINORITY CONNECTING WITH NEW YOUNG PEOPLE, PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS

We asked who you had been engaging with since the lockdown, to get a sense of how many of us have experienced our networks expanding or new opportunities for connection presenting themselves. It’s reassuring to find that all respondents told us they are in contact with young people they were already in contact with before and 97% are in contact with parents they were engaged with before. What is more interesting is that these youth workers report being more likely to engage with new parents (57% said ‘yes’ or ‘somewhat’) than new young people (34% said ‘yes or ‘somewhat’). Why is that?

Thanks to those who took part! If you missed it why not join us next time – see you Friday at 3pm?

 
Liveblog mondayfurlough
16h ago.

The (Thursday) 3x3: Furloughing, compliance and engagement

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY FRIDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
We are scattered, physically distanced and isolated. Yet we’re going through similar experiences in a way that is entirely new. We have never done this before, and everyone is improvising. We thought it might be important to capture some of what this glorious community is doing, thinking and feeling during an entirely new experience.

But things are changing so rapidly we didn’t want to just ask once.

Welcome to this week’s (Thursday) 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Friday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which should take you about three minutes to answer. Due to the bank holiday tomorrow, we're releasing it a day early this week. Today we’re asking about guideline compliance, the experience of furloughing and who you’ve been engaging with.

Come back to the blog next week for results in our Monday Report.

 
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3d ago.

The Monday Report: Digital burnout? Not yet

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Friday 3x3– a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Every Friday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. Sixty-nine people responded this week. So, this doesn’t represent the wider community of Christian youth workers - it just gives us a sense of what’s going on.

You can read the full-length breakdown and reflection here, but a brief summary is below:

 

1. EASTER: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON?

This will be an Easter like no other. We asked you to complete the statement "Over Easter, I anticipate that I will mostly…" Half of you said you were going to carry on at your current pace, with 8.7% expecting to work harder. Only 40.6% expected to slow down or stop working. Of course, we don’t know what ‘current pace’ means, or whether Easter would normally be a time for rest for all Christian youth workers (I suspect not..). But it’s a reminder that this situation will affect us differently.

 
Mondaygraph
 

2. STAYING MENTALLY WELL: PEOPLE AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

We asked, "How important have these been for looking after your own mental health this week?" and presented a list of activities, many recommended by the NHS and other mental health charities. The weighted average shows "Staying connected to people" was most important, closely followed by "Going outside". Prayer and worship feature highly, alongside diet and rest. With a minority anticipating slowing down over Easter, it will be important for us to consider what rest means over the following two weeks.

  1. Staying connected to people - 2.70
  2. Going outside - 2.68
  3. Prayer, worship or meditation - 2.55
  4. Eating and drinking well - 2.54
  5. Rest - 2.50
 

3. DIGITAL BURNOUT: NOT MUCH "NOW", A LOT OF "NOT YET"

Digital burnout can mean feeling exhausted, distracted or disengaged when interacting online, or beginning to avoid online activity. We asked whether you had seen any evidence of young people you support experiencing digital burnout.

Fifty-five people answered this question, with 39 (71%) reporting that they had not seen evidence of young people experiencing digital burnout. Some added that they were intentionally keeping online activity simple or minimal, either in response to young people’s request for space or to avoid overload. 18 of these added the caveat ‘Not yet’with some anticipating that they would see this in days to come. Seven people said that while they didn’t see digital burnout among young people, they were experiencing it themselves.

Fourteen (25.4%) told us that they had seen evidence of young people experiencing digital burnout. Ten responded with a clear ‘yes’ to our question, and an additional four reported lower engagement with digital youth work this week compared to last week. A few of these 14 told us that young people want screen-free evenings when they’ve been doing schoolwork online in the day and that some have turned their phones off for a day.

Thanks to those who took part! If you missed it why not join us next time – see you Friday at 3pm?

6d ago.

The Friday 3x3: Easter, mental health and digital burnout

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY FRIDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
We are scattered, physically distanced and isolated. Yet we’re going through similar experiences in a way that is entirely new. We have never done this before, and everyone is improvising. We thought it might be important to capture some of what this glorious community is doing, thinking and feeling during an entirely new experience.

But things are changing so rapidly we didn’t want to just ask once.

Welcome to this week’s Friday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Friday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which should take you about three minutes to answer. This week we’re anticipating Easter, hearing about how you’re managing your mental health and asking about digital burnout.

Come back to the blog next week for results in our Monday Report.

 
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9d ago.

The Monday Report: overwhelmed but optimistic

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Friday 3x3– a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Friday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We’ve started with a modest 60 responses, so this doesn’t represent the wider community of Christian youth workers – it just gives us a sense of what’s going on.

You can read the full-length breakdown and reflection here, but a brief summary is below:

 

1. ALL THE FEELS
We provided a list of 25 emotions and asked you to pick up to three that described how you’d been feeling last week. Of the 60 who responded, the top two emotions were ‘overwhelmed’ (38%), ‘optimistic’ (37%) and ‘thankful’ (35%).

It’s not surprising to see that people feel overwhelmed. We have been experiencing something unprecedented and have had to suddenly change our way of life. It’s encouraging to see that, despite stress, there are also feelings of gratitude. We know that thankfulness is crucial for our mental health in times like this, for those with and without faith. It’s interesting to see optimism here. Perhaps it’s the closest to ‘hopeful’, which wasn’t one of the emotions provided but has theological resonance for many of us.

 

2. ZOOM-STA-GRAM
We asked which tools/platforms you used to communicate with young people since Tuesday, and joint top were Instagram posts and Zoom. Again, this was a small group of respondents, so we can’t take too much from it. But the phrase ‘zoomed out’ has now appeared in our lexicon, reflecting the platform’s meteoric rise in use over the last week and a half. So maybe we can trust the results after all? You know what hadn’t been used by any of our 60 respondents? Skype. Twelve had used email, four had seen young people face-to-face (2m apart) and one had even sent a letter. But no one had used Skype. Farewell, Skype.

3. ONLY CONNECT
Our third question was ‘In your own words, what have young people needed from you this week?’

The most frequent answer was connection. Some kind of contact, check-in, acknowledgment or presence in a crazy week. One person said, “knowing someone is thinking of them.” After that were a number of references to fun. This meant the chance to laugh, celebrate a birthday or engage in “usual banter". Some expressed this as entertainment and others as joy. The third most reported need was for reassurance – that it will be ok, that we are still there or that “it's okay to feel a mixture of emotions in these unusual times”.

Thanks to those who took part! If you missed it why not join us next time – see you Friday at 3pm?

12d ago.

The Friday 3x3

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY FRIDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
We are scattered, physically distanced and isolated. Yet we’re going through similar experiences in a way that is entirely new. We have never done this before, and everyone is improvising. We thought it might be important to capture some of what this glorious community is doing, thinking and feeling during an entirely new experience.

But things are changing so rapidly we didn’t want to just ask once.

So we’re going to take a moment at the end of each working week, to ask you a few short questions about what is going on for you. It will be super quick – three minutes at most – and it will only ever be three questions. We’ll try to get a sense of what is important to reflect on or capture each week, but the questions will always focus on what it means to be a Christian youth worker during the Coronavirus pandemic. We will ask about you, youth ministry and young people.

Every Monday we’ll share what we found on the blog. We hope it will give you some insight about what is happening across the youth ministry community, but also help you feel connected to that community.

We are keen to know what you would ask, so please do email us with suggested questions, or let us know on social media.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Your answers are anonymous, and you can read the results every Monday at our Coronavirus liveblog. The questions will be open from 3pm on a Friday to 3pm on a Sunday and you can answer at any point during those 48 hours.

Your answers will be used to write blog posts and may be used to produce a report on youth ministry during the Coronavirus pandemic. All answers will be stored securely and destroyed after 12 months.

 
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