While Coronavirus restrictions are changing all the time, you may find that online youth ministry is still the best option for your church/group. On this page, you find will both guidelines and policy documents for working safely with young people online, as well as ideas and resources for online youth ministry. You can find the latest Scottish Government guidance for delivery of youth work services by following this link.*
The following documents have been developed by the URC Children’s and Youth team to gide local churches and groups who are looking to work safely with young people online. We recommend that you read through them carefully and adapt them to fit your local context. For further advice and guidance on this, feel free to contact our Synod Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Ruth Goold on safeguarding@urcscotland.
- Latest URC guidance for children’s and youth work coming out of lockdown – August 2020
- Guidelines for safe use of video conferencing with young people and children (PDF)
- URC online engagment with children and young people RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL (PDF)
- URC online engagment with children and young people RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL (Word document)
- Online engagement information and consent form for under 18s (PDF)
- Online engagement information and consent form for under 18s (Word document)
- Code of Conduct for online engagement with young people, children and families, and church workers (PDF)
- Code of Conduct for online engagement with young people, children and families, and church workers (Word document)
- Top Tips for engaging in online worship (PDF)
Session plans created, tried and tested by real youth groups. These can be used in both in-person and online groups.
‘New Year, New Visions?’ A session looking at how the words we use shape the way we see the world in a fun and engaging way. Written by Jude and Matt of TLC Youth Edinburgh.
Additional, editable resource for this session: New Year, New Visions PowerPoint Document
If you have materials that you would like to share with other youth leaders up and down the Synod, Matt would love to hear from you! Drop him a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invite your young people on a Lenten adventure to discover how, just like a certain blue box, we are all so much bigger on the inside…
Bigger on the Inside is a series of session plans for use with young people and/or older children in church youth and children’s groups. The focus is on developing a ‘toolbox’ of mental health resources and contemplative spiritual practices to equip young people for everyday life and particularly for the challenging times we are living in.
Session 1: Bigger on the Inside
Free to download for use with your group.
- Bigger on the Inside Session Plan #1
- Bigger on the Inside Video
- Bigger on the Inside Script
- Bigger on the Inside Presentation
- How to make your TARDIS Toolbox
- ‘Silence Will Fall’ Game Print-out
- ‘Silence Will Fall’ Sample Answer Sheet
Session 2: ‘Made, Loved, Kept’, Julian of Norwich, God & You
Session 3: ‘What is This Thing Called Rest?’ Self-Isolating with Jesus
Session 4: ‘I Will Build My Church …On Minecraft?!’ Creating Quality Time Online
Additional Resources: Mantras and Centering Prayers
You will need to have Zoom set up so that anyone can use the share screen setting. Consider preparing a list of words or phrases to get the game started, perhaps based around your session’s theme.
One player shares their screen, then selects the whiteboard. They share the whiteboard feature so everyone can see it, and use Zoom’s annotation tools to draw out the Hangman setup, drawing a series of dashes to indicate how many letters are in the word.
Each player takes turns guessing a vowel or consonant. If the guess is correct the first player fills in the relevant spaces. If the guess is incorrect, then the first player writes the letter at the side and draws part of the hangman scaffold or body. The winner is the first person to correctly guess the full word or phrase before the full hangman is drawn out.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
You will need: Hands!
Almost everyone knows how to play rock, paper, scissors: You count to three while waving your hand so everyone can see it, and on three, each person simultaneously motions ‘rock’ (a fist), ‘paper’ (hands flat) or ‘scissors’ (making a snipping motion with two fingers). Paper beats rock, scissors beat paper and rock beats scissors. But how do you play it as a group over Zoom? Here’s two suggestions:
- Each player has three lives. Choose one person to be ‘it’and everyone else has to try and beat their choice of rock, paper, scissors. Everyone says ‘1,2,3’ together and then plays their choice of hand motion. If the person who is ‘it’ plays ‘rock’ then everyone who plays ‘scissors’ loses a life. If someone plays ‘paper’, beating the person who is ‘it’, then it is their turn to be ‘it’. (If more than one person beats ‘it’ then choose just one of them to be the new ‘it’.)
- Play as a group. Everyone says ‘1,2,3’ together and then plays their choice of hand motion. In this version there are two ways of winning.
- The first is where only two hand motions are played, e.g. half the group plays ‘rock’ and half the group plays ‘scissors’. Everyone who played ‘rock’ are winners of that round, and the ‘scissors’ players are ‘out’.
- If all three hand motions are played, then the largest group of players win e.g if you have 6 players, and 3 play ‘rock’, 2 play ‘scissors’ and 1 plays ‘paper’, then the ‘rocks’ win. Everyone else is out. (You could also ‘flip’ this rule to make it more competitive, so that the least played motion is the winner. E.g. if you have 6 players, and 3 play ‘rock’, 2 play ‘scissors’ and 1 plays ‘paper’, then ‘paper’ wins.)
Encourage everyone to wave their hand clearly in front of their cameras. In both versions, the winner is the last person remaining.
Stop the Bus!
You will need: Pen & Paper, A List of Categories, A Random Letter Generator, A Timer
The leader uses the random letter generator to generate a letter. Each person then has to come up with a word beginning with that letter from each of the following categories:
- Something from the kitchen
- A game
- A country
- A famous actor / actress
- An animal you would find at the zoo
- A musical instrument
- Something from a classroom
- Something in a church
- A means of transport
- A film
- The leader mutes everyone’s microphones
- The first person to write down answers for all 10 categories, unmutes themselves and shouts “Stop the Bus.”
- Set a timer. If no-one gets 10 answers by the time it buzzes, give the win to whoever has the most answers
- Offer double points for alliterative answers, e.g. famous actor: Danny DeVito. This will help with tiebreakers!
- Vary the categories based on the age and interests of your group.
- OR, play this as a co-operative game where everyone needs to work together for a full list. This could help in groups where members struggle with literacy or feel constantly outmatched by competitive friends.
Guess the Movie
You Will Need: The Chat Function on Zoom, A list of movies and ‘no-go’ words. You can make your own up or use the examples below.
Using the chat function, send a player one of the following sets of words. They have to describe the movie without using the words or any names of characters in the movies.
- Princess or Prince
- Flying carpet
This film is about a poor boy who finds a container with a person inside who can make dreams comes true. He meets a rich girl and falls in love but she has to marry a rich guy. An evil man wants the container for himself.
The Lion King.
- Circle of Life
Lord of the Rings
- Empire State Building
The Little Mermaid
Just because you’re meeting online doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your youth active. Quite the opposite: the fact that you’re all spending more time sitting in front of a webcam, means you have even more reason to encourage everyone to keep moving!
You will need: A List of Items to Find, such as this excellent list by Leo Roberts, the CYDO for Northwestern Synod! Timer, Camera phone/ Digital camera (optional)
Challenge your young people to find a list of items from around the home. The winner is the player who brings the most items back to the screen as possible.
You could encourage them to bring them all back to their webcam, or depending on your group, encourage them to take photos to share with the group. (Make sure you have a clear idea of how they will share these which is in-line with your church’s safeguarding and data protection policies.)
- Set a time limit.
- You can either give the whole list in one go, or ‘sprinkle’ short treasure hunt challenges through the session, e.g. in between other activities, name one or two items you want your group to find before the next game.
- If you have a good relationship with the families of your group, you could leave packages of items with each household for family members to hide. This is especially effective if you can tie it in with a theme or season. For example, easter eggs, paper snowflakes, nativity characters, or anything you can think of really!
* All external weblinks were correct and accurate at time of posting. If you find any links that are broken or outdated, please let Matt know at email@example.com