After ministry moved to the Internet, youth pastors quickly discovered who the truly shy ones are in their group. Numbers are down in some groups because these meek personalities don’t mesh well with the online chat scene. Check out these 10 ways to encourage our beloved mild-mannereds to participate more in the fun and the conversation.
1. Use that Chat box. Don’t be impatient for responses to questions you want to ask your students. Introverts really think before they speak and are usually beaten to the punch when it comes to group discussions.
2. Celebrity chat! Let your group use pictures of celebrities they love as their display. It’s fun, and it gives you some insight into who they follow.
3. Pictionary. A great Zoom game for introverts is Pictionary – using the “annotate” feature found in the top dropdown menu. Everyone’s looking at the share screen – not individual faces.
4. Telephone. Designate a timeframe with the group for this game. The youth leader comes up with a message and calls one student in the group. Using only memory, that student then calls another student to relay the message. One phone call at a time, everyone in the group receives the message … or some version of it … Everyone meet up online to see how accurate the result was.
5. Going full tilt. Allow everyone to wear sunglasses. Who has the coolest?
6. Is this a hold up? Show everyone how to wrap a bandana around the lower part of the face. For a while, you all look like a bunch of bandits about to rob a train in the Old West.
7. A summer Halloween. It’s dress-up time! Encourage everyone to at least wear a mask.
8. Mr. Wilson. The artists in the group can tap into their creative side, but challenge everyone to make a fence to hold up in front of their face. As we learned from “Home Improvement,” you don’t have to see someone’s whole face to have a meaningful conversation.
9. Puppet Theatre. Have everyone in the whole group make some puppets … Socks work great. Guide everyone in positioning cameras to where all you see is a bunch of talking puppets instead of faces.
10. Person, place or thing. Tell the group to choose something from their home – anything – that represents them. A ball glove, a painting … maybe a small assortment of a variety of things! The item is what everyone is looking at, but everyone can still hear your voice.
How is your digital youth ministry going? CIY would love to celebrate your victories – email firstname.lastname@example.org.