What is a GA leader to do? It’s recognition season and you should be planning the greatest GA recognition service your GAs and families have ever seen, but your church doors are closed due to a worldwide pandemic. While GA leaders are known for being able to go with the flow and be flexible, being unable to have a traditional recognition service has many leaders turning to social media and recognizing achievement online.
A recognition event, even one held online, has the potential to help GAs and their families understand how their experiences this year will help them live out the Great Commission. Girls are continually learning that God can use them in so many ways; by transitioning your recognition service to an online celebration of achievements, your entire congregation will be able celebrate the importance of what children are experiencing each week—even during a pandemic.
Now it’s time to get creative! Consider these thoughts as you prepare for an online recognition event:
- Social media/online presence: What platforms are available for your service? If you have several options, consider which one has the widest reach to your congregation and community. Some ideas could include:
- Church Facebook page: Facebook Live could be a great way for you as the GA leader to share what GAs have done through this year, explain the badges earned, and give a shout-out to each GA for what she has accomplished this year. Make sure to discuss major projects, show craft projects or art, and remind girls of what they have learned this year. While the girls won’t be able to chat with you, they will be able to see what you are sharing with the congregation if their parents log in to your live event.
- Video chat: There are several video-chat apps that would allow you to interact with girls during your event. Most offer the option to record the event so you can share it on social media at a later time. If you use this option, you can assign parts ahead of time (think Scripture readings, sharing GA Pledge and GA Scripture verses, etc.). You could also email the recorded celebration to your church staff, GA families, and church email list.
- While you’ve done a great job of tracking what your GAs accomplished this year, your GAs may have individually accomplished some great missions activities and projects while they’ve been socially distant. Consider asking GA families to let you know what their GAs have done to share God’s love with others during this time.
- In addition to placing your order for GA badges [link], remember to print your GA certificates from the GA Digital Package. [Link]
- Deliver awards: While there isn’t a correct way to award badges and certificates during a pandemic, consider putting each girl’s awards in the mail or delivering them to her house (while social distancing, of course) after your online recognition service. No matter what you choose, make sure your GAs know what to expect and when they will receive their awards. This will give them something to look forward to and will remind them, again, just how important they are to you!
The most important thing about a recognition service happens when a girl realizes the important adults in her life want to know what she has learned and experienced. Regardless of whether your service is held online or in person, recognizing the effort to share Christ empowers girls to use their talents and interests to continue to share Christ throughout their lives.
And, as a GA leader, seeing your GAs live out the Great Commission is one of the best things we can experience.
Heather Keller is the Girls in Action consultant at national WMU and the author of GA Recognition: Tips and Ideas [hotlink to store]. Send Heather your ideas and pictures for recognition services: firstname.lastname@example.org.