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Online discipleship for the new normal: Together Apart returns

Hannah Bradley

24 Sep, 2020

 

We’ve launched a new, free resource to serve your online discipleship with young people in the midst of continued uncertainty and increasing social restrictions.

 

When everything changed

Whether you saw it coming, or had no idea, the coronavirus lockdown of spring 2020 was a challenge for all of us. Overnight we were plunged into unchartered territory where, as youth workers, we had to completely rethink how to engage young people. Within the first few weeks of quarantine, Youthscape realised the importance of gathering together resources to equip and support youth workers and making those resources easily accessible in one place – and thus the coronavirus liveblog was born. The liveblog was a constant stream of content from various organisations providing information, material and practical ideas to help youth leaders keep their ministries going. While lockdown was an incredible opportunity for innovation in youth work, and where the concept for many of our new and upcoming resources came from, we also recognised that youth leaders needed something more immediate to bridge them into this new normal.

Together Apart is a series of session plans for running an online youth group. We released a new session plan each week for six weeks of lockdown. The material wasn’t anything revolutionary – it would have been just as relevant to use in an in-person youth setting. However, each session was packed with guidance for how to make the event work in the digital world. The series was a basic tool to help youth leaders continue to care for their young people, to keep sharing Jesus with them and to bring them together to have fellowship with one another. There were challenges, games, videos, stories, discussion questions and more. The sessions were loosely themed on important truths for young people to remember during lockdown: “God’s Plan”, “Trusting in God”, “Generosity”, etc… It wasn’t so much the content that mattered, rather the need for youth leaders to keep connecting with their young people during an anxious and isolating period.

We had some incredible feedback from youth workers across the country on how relevant and timely they found the material. One of the most encouraging comments came from Gemma who said, “As volunteer youth leaders we were struggling to find time to plan and budget to invest in quality resources and quickly running out of ideas how to keep engaging with our young people, and finding your Together Apart series has been a life saver for the coming weeks”. The response to this resource has just been amazing and thank you to everyone who’s got involved and given the sessions a go. It’s been a big part of the decision to release a Together Apart 2!

What's at the centre of your orbit?

 

Together Apart 2: God at the Centre is a new seven-session series set to release on a weekly basis throughout the end of September, October and beginning of November. We recognise that many people are still in a place of finding their feet post-lockdown, and now social restrictions are returning, apparently for the next six months. So, this new series covers all the details of how to run these sessions with the young people you work with – either in-person or online. This second series is even bigger than the first with 90 minutes of content for you to delve into and with a clearer focus and link between weeks. These sessions are all about seven key values that we believe are at the heart of everyday discipleship. They’re the values that make up the foundation of the Satellites youth event coming in summer 2021. Martin Saunders, Director of Satellites, goes into detail about these values in his recent blog post saying, “These values are both what we believe will help young people to live with God at the very centre of their lives, and become a framework for how we’ll seek to run the event.” Session One, on the theme of worship, is out now, and we'll be adding new downloadable sessions to the Store every week.

 

Together Apart 2 is a taster of what is to come in Satellites 2021. It introduces the seven core values and starts the conversation with young people about why these values matter when living for Jesus. There’s even space each week to set the young people a personal challenge – to push them to start living out these values in their day-to-day lives. We hope this resource inspires young people to see their faith in a new way and to “present faith as the centre-piece of their lives; the thing that makes sense of everything else.”

As always, we welcome your feedback and we’d love to hear how Together Apart 2 works for you. Your responses always help us to make resources that really help your work. Whether by email, or the pink smiley face in the corner of this page, our inbox is always open!

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