With the coronavirus still widespread, schools around the country are welcoming students back in a myriad of ways including in-person, hybrid, and A/B schedules. However, even in-person schools have canceled a majority of extracurricular activities to reduce contact between students. Now, all students have to look forward to is school. This is the time to truly engage with students of all ages when usually it can be difficult to do so, but now their attention will be nearly undivided. Here are some tips to connect students with your church.
1. Plan weekly events
- Giving students something to look forward to outside of school is the easiest way to gain their interest. Even something small like virtual game night which requires little planning is beneficial. Pictionary, HeadsUp, and Codenames are just a few examples.
2. Host a place to study
- Students in any type of school environment would like to get out of the house. Find a place where students can socially distance themselves and study or, if the school is virtual, attend classes. Enlist the help of any teachers in your congregation who would be willing to attend and help students.
3. Coordinate a volunteer program
- If you have a mix of students and elderly members, set up a system to connect them. Since older people are more at risk, they may enjoy being able to enlist the help of a student to do some grocery shopping for them. You could do something similar with the single-parents or first responders who have little time to mow the lawn or shop for groceries.
4. Stay in touch
- Organize a senior group hang-out for the 2020 graduates who may have missed some of their “lasts.” It will make it easy for them to stay in touch through the group. Alternatively, if a current student does not want to be around lots of people or can’t make it to the meeting times, reach out to them to chat or get a milkshake and sit in the park for a bit.
Students need a sense of normalcy in this new environment. Giving them that along with a connection to the church will help with student engagement.