Energize: at home, online, in-person and socially distanced.
If someone had suggested at the start of the year that we’d be producing guidance for groups entitled ‘7 ways to use Energize resources online or in socially distanced meetings’ we’d probably have said (as nicely as possible), “Online? Socially distant? We don’t think so!”
Time is a great teacher and if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the way we have traditionally carried out children’s and youth work, whether we like it or not, is not the only way. Although most Energize sessions were originally designed to be used in face to face meetings with ‘normal’ social interaction, we’ve discovered, that with a little creativity, it’s still possible to create great sessions that continue to disciple children and young people, whatever the season.
This season has also taught us how much leaders rely on Energize for support and inspiration and what an incredible honour and responsibility that is. One way we have kept connected with leaders is through our Energize Users’ Forum on Facebook. We offer some tips, share ideas, and have a little fun. It has been encouraging to see the forum grow during lockdown and to see the variety of youth work that is happening. It is a great picture of the influence Energize has across the nations.
Keeping in touch with our Energize leaders has helped remind us that whilst the challenges presented by coronavirus are significant, in many ways they just intensify issues children and young people were already facing, such as those related to mental health and wellbeing. Matt Brown, the Director of the Reality Youth Project, has written a series of training blogs especially for Energize looking at how leaders can help build resilience in children and young people and helping them cope with loss - both key issues in the current season.
As well as hearing from leaders, we have also recognised the importance of hearing directly from young people. Our ‘Young Blogger’ a.k.a. Emily Slater (aged 16) has contributed several articles for us from ‘What I learned from not taking my GCSEs’ to ‘7 ways to keep occupied in quarantine.’
Finally, whilst coronavirus has dominated the news agenda, Energize has continued to offer opportunities for young people to engage with issues beyond the pandemic. Our ‘Energize in the News’ special on Racism offered the opportunity for groups to explore this issue together in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. Our new series Act Justly aims to help young people explore how they can partner with God to produce a more just world.
In this exceptional season, Energize continues to support and encourage leaders online, in person, face to face and socially distanced as they faithfully partner with us in making young disciples for Jesus.