The North American Division (NAD) Youth and Young Adult Ministries department started its Momentum (#momentum) series on the evening of March 10, 2020.
This online event grew into weekly Sabbath programming that continues to “go strong” through the summer of 2020, with viewership in the thousands and programming scheduled through August. Since August 1, the “No Backpacks: Back to School” series is featuring a discussion on mental health and students.
“Our goal was to remain relevant, though we would be home for at least a week,” said Tracy Wood, NAD Youth and Young Adult Ministries director. “To our surprise, being home for the first week ‘progressed’ into being home for the last four and a half to five months.”
“Our office wanted to make an impact on youth leaders and teens who exemplify leadership qualities,” explained Vandeon Griffin, associate director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. “The nightly Momentum meetings focused on what to do while home from school and work.
“Momentum means ‘strength gained through progress.’ We wanted our leaders and teens to continue to progress even in this unique time of COVID-19,” he added.
The division team, which includes Wood, Griffin, Armando Miranda, associate director, and Gael Murray, administrative assistant, decided they'd use the resources already produced to advance Youth Sabbath School and promote them online in a weekly church service that would include having Youth Sabbath School. They wanted to share with a wider audience how to use the Sabbath School materials being produced weekly and how the resources can impact the teens in the local churches, as well as the leaders of teens.
Through this process, leaders learned that more people were accessing the Youth website, their Facebook page, and their YouTube channel than other access channels. And early on, they looked for young leaders to present the materials during the online services.
“Since the inception of hosting our first weekly worship service, we have connected with so many talented speakers for church services, musicians for musical selections, and facilitators for Youth Sabbath School,” Griffin said. “We have intentionally remained diversified in our selections of speakers, musicians, and facilitators. This has proven to be a model for our leaders around the NAD.”
The Youth and Young Adult Ministries team members reported that “statistics are encouraging.… We give the glory to God.” They shared that as of late July 2020, 1,000 likes, 1.8K comments, 450 shares, 26.2K views, 56.5K reached, and 8.7K engagements had occurred through their social media pages. They've hosted 68 speakers, presenters, musicians, and facilitators, along with a special social justice conversation with seven Generation Z teens leading the discussion. The team also hosted a virtual graduation for the class of 2020.
In August, the team hopes their Back to School series, which delves into mental health, will help teens and leaders succeed in making the unique pivot in this new normal.
Speakers for August will be Darnisha Thomas, Jesskya Dooley, Nashonie Chang, Sandra Wall, and Chelsy Tyler. “For the entire month, we will feature all female pastors to share the preached Word,” Griffin said. “Through the Holy Spirit's power, we are experiencing #momentum — strength gained through progress!”