As we come to the end of what has been the most extraordinary year that many of us can ever remember, we want to thank all of our amazing Energize subscribers who have continued to support children and young people on their discipleship journey in the face of challenges that none of us expected to face back in the distant country that was January 2020.
The Energize Team, along with the wider Urban Saints team, have been working hard throughout 2020 to provide resources and inspiration to leaders who have been trying to navigate their way through various iterations of lockdown.
Before we see what 2021 has in store for us, we thought we'd take a moment to pause and look back at some of the Energize highlights from 2020.
We added new resources to for all age groups to our Nature of God series exploring the nature and character of God - what that means for us and what we need to share with others to help them understand the one who created us all. A great place to start the new year but little did we know what was round the corner...
With first cases of Coronavirus reported in the UK and with the first signs of the potential seriousness of the crisis we created a session for our Energize in the News series to help young people understand more about the pandemic and give an opportunity to discuss any anxieties they may have. Unsurprisingly, it was our most downloaded session from 2020.
With the nation under lockdown and churches and groups unable to meet we developed a new series called Energize at Home which used some of our favourite activities from existing sessions to provide fun teaching sessions that could be run at home. There are currently 33 session in this series.
We also announced that we were allowing subscribers to add parent/carers to their Energize subscription free of charge.
This offer is still available. Click the link below for further details.
Kids Club by Post is a downloadable weekly pack of activities for children under the age of 11. There are 39 Kids Club by Post Packs current available.
Pick'n'Mix is a series of sessions which initially focused on providing resources for 11+ groups meeting online but has since developed to include activities for both online and socially distanced meetings for both younger and older age groups. There are 23 Pick'n'Mix packs currently available.
In May we launched a weekly competition which invited groups to participate in weekly challenges in which the best entry would win an inflatables party (to be held when safe to do so). The winner was Lena Kubicki (Age 7) whose junk model to reminded us that even when we let Him down, God never sees us as rubbish He can give is new life.
We enjoyed seeing the creativity demonstrated by all our entrants and we hope that Lena and her friends will be able to enjoy their prize together in the very near future.
We responded to the tragic death of George Floyd by curating a collection of resources to help young people explore the issue of Racism. These includes existing and external resources and reading suggestions for adults, children and young people.
In 2018 and 2019 we asked our Energize users to give us feedback about Energize - the things they loved and the things that they thought could be improved. We also talked to some of our denominational partners and asked for their views about how Energize could best serve the needs of their children's and youth workers. In June we officially launched our Energize Refresh project to update and enhance all of our existing sessions.
In June we also launched our Young Bloggers series where we heard from young people on issue that were directly impacted their lives. We heard what it felt like when your exams were cancelled, how to have a holiday in your garden and what school was like after lockdown.
With the majority of camps and holidays cancelled for 2020 we made available Pick'N'Mix Supersize a resource to help groups bring the camp experience alive, virtually. This resource contains all the essential elements required for running a Camp in lockdown: crazy activities, memorable games, funky crafts, engaging teaching, interactive prayer ideas and we’ve even drawn together some favourite Camps recipes!
We completed two series of blogs by Matt Brown from the Reality Youth project looking at how we can help build resilience in young people and how we can help young people cope with loss.
We launched a major new series aimed at helping children and young people explore how they can partner with God to create a more just world. The sessions for 11-14s will be completed early in the new year with additional age groups added during 2021. Click here to check out the Act Justly series.
We partnered with the student ministry Fusion to create four new sessions for to help young people prepare for university and not only survive but thrive whilst they are away.
In October (and repeated in November) we ran our first Re:Energize webinar which offered new and prospective subscribers and opportunity to learn how Energize can support their ministry and demonstrated some features of the site which they might not have used before. We also created a guide to how subscribers can make the most of Energize during the pandemic. We'll be running similar webinars in 2020.
We launched a new series called Energize in the New Bitesize which uses a short video from a current news story as a group discussion starter. Our first session featured the story of a Dublin teenager whose health was severely impacted by contracting Coronavirus.
At the end of an eventful year it was great to focus on the significance of the Christmas story with our collection of resources for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
'Among Us' session
Among Us is a phenomenally successful online multiplayer social deduction game which is the current 'go to' game for many young people. We've creates a just-for-fun special featuring activities based on the Among Us game with options to run activities online and in person (when permitted).
Energize in the News: Conspiracy Theories session
Did the moon landings ever really happen? Were the US elections rigged? Is the Coronavirus vaccine just a way for Bill Gates to implant a trackable microchip into everyone on the planet? Conspiracy theories aren't new but they do seem to be getting more prevalent and more bizarre and, worryingly, more people seem to be buying into them. Our Energize in the News session will unpack the issues relating to conspiracy theories and explore how the Bible can help us keep a hold on the truth.
Energize at the Movies: Soul
Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz -- and he's good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul. Our new Energize at the Movies session will unpack the themes of this new Disney Pixar movie from a biblical perspective.
The Kleer Series is designed to help start spiritual conversations with young people. Each session consist of a video and supporting resources to help engage with young people who may be unfamiliar with or new to the Christian faith. The new Kleer Series, available on Energize from January, will be focused on Jesus and the six sessions will explore:
Is Jesus even real?
Is Jesus still relevant?
Is Jesus God’s reflection?
Is Jesus a rescuer?
Is Jesus a revolutionary?
Is Jesus offering relationship?