In this episode, Justin Knowles explains how the youth ministry of Sandals Church has pivoted in the midst of COVID-19 and the key elements to their success. One of the key ideas Justin shares is how to delegate to leaders during this season and shift some responsibilities and empower others.

Justin Knowles

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Sandals Student Ministry at 11 campuses:

  • Pre-COVID
    • Franchise model: similar at some campuses, and different at others
    • Similar flow, same playlists, same camps, etc.
    • Small group, Large group model
    • Student leads would prepare video teaching, but do LIVE Intro and Outro to video
  • Small groups mid-week
  • Broadcast campus breaks into Junior High on Sunday mornings
    • Push towards serving and then attending Student service

During COVID-19:

  • Justin switched to being the main programming lead
  • Full backing of main production team to produce student services online 
    • Switched to simulated LIVE after a couple of weeks
  • Measured engagement
    • Engagement has gone down – Zoom exhaustion
    • Noticed students watch the simulated LIVE (more engagement), but small groups have declined
    • Accurate measurements help you to pivot accurately

What are you doing to reach students:

  • Pre-service hangs
  • In the middle of a rebrand for Students
  • Social Media strategy
    • Handed this over to another youth ministry lead – delegation
  • Twitch Stream
    • Two youth pastors were already running it, so delegated to them
  • Youtube
    • Ministry is service-based, giving people what they need
    • Youtube is content-based, giving people what they want (so you can give them what they need)
  • Switching to recording in the studio rather than on the main stage
  • Moving all our volunteer training to ONLINE

Action Items

  1. Handoff something you're doing – like Justin is doing
  2. Get leaders connecting with students
  3. Create a new summer plan – pivot

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Special Sponsor: TrainedUp

This episode is sponsored by ServeHQ. When it comes to equipping your volunteers and leaders, you have to try ServeHQ. They have an online training tool with hundreds of done-for-you training videos and simple tools to create your own. Go to to find out more.