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A Hot Take about Online Youth Ministry

By Doug Franklin March 23, 2020

It’s possible that, during this time, your students need their parents more than they need an online youth group.

Over the last week, I’ve seen amazing creativity come from pastors across the country, but especially from youth pastors. It’s been so cool to see youth ministries offer new ways for their groups to meet online, connect with each other, and continue the growth they were experiencing during their normal meetings. I want to encourage you to continue to think outside the box, but I also want to call you back to a desire we’ve all had for a long time: an opportunity for more partnership with parents.

I It’s possible that, during this time, your students need their parents more than they need an online youth group.

What if we youth workers helped parents connect with their children and encouraged them to process this pandemic through their faith in Jesus? 

Now is a great time to increase partnership with parents. Deuteronomy 6 states that parents are the primary faith influencers for their kids. This is the time to engage with parents and supply them with resources to direct students’ spiritual growth.

I can already hear youth workers saying that some parents don’t really care about their student’s spiritual growth and that parents won’t take on the responsibility. That may be true in normal life, but nothing is normal anymore. Aside from everything being upside down, won’t it be worth it to try to engage parents? Parents are scared and confused, but I know many are moving back to a deeper reliance on God. Let’s encourage them and support them in re-engaging with students’ spiritual lives.    

At the end of the day, do students ultimately need to hear a 30-minute online sermon from us, or would it be better for them to process their feelings, fears, and faith in the community of their family?

I love youth ministry. I have given my life to it, and I have sacrificed for it. So hear me on this: your cool video chat technology is no substitute for the loving arms of a mom or dad and the story parents can tell their students of their own dependence on Christ.

I Your cool video chat technology is no substitute for the loving arms of a mom or dad and the story parents can tell their students of their own dependence on Christ.

Use your online platforms for connection and hangouts, reassure your students that you are there for them, encourage them in these difficult and uncertain times, but also support and equip parents to be who God ordained them to be. Keep up the creativity for youth group, but don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to serve families in untold ways by helping parents lead their children well. 


At LeaderTreks we are providing tools to youth workers that can be shared with parents to make them spiritual leaders in their students’ lives. Remember, we’re in the boat with you. And we’re here to help you thrive. Check out the resource below.


Fill out the form below to download “Helping Families Connect.”

“Helping Families Connect” includes 3 At-Home Activities and Conversation Starters for Parents and Students during COVID-19.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More