WHAT’S LURKING IN YOUR YOUTH MINISTRY?
This morning we finished up our summer jr. High guy’s lock-in. We had a great (and exhausting) time, but the most exciting part of the night was making a new friend…with a possum! Actually, we found out that a possum had been living in our student ministry room for the past week.
Last Tuesday I noticed some things moved around messed with in our youth building and don’t think anything of it. Finally, one morning my staff and I found some…um…”droppings”…and we just assumed that an animal had snuck in, did its business and left. Little did we know that our friend the possum had took up shop right in our building! So last night one of our volunteers was rummaging through our youth ministry closet and saw what they thought was a stuffed animal. But they were wrong! In fact it was a gross,creepy possum wreaking havoc in our youth ministry room.
This funny/gross encounter sparked a thought: WHAT IS LURKING IN YOUR YOUTH MINISTRY? What program needs to be cut that isn’t contributing to the ultimate purpose of your youth Minsitry? Perhaps you have a volunteer that is causing dissension with your leaders and needs to be asked to leave. Maybe you are doing something in your youth ministry just because “we’ve always done it that way” and it is time for a change. This is a really good question to ponder during the summer. Remember that while the God’s purposes never change in student ministry, our programs and strategies can change!
Maybe it’s time to kill a program, start a program or start from scratch. This summer ask yourself the question: what is lurking in my youth ministry that needs to be gotten rid of or changed. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
For most youth workers, promotion weekend is upon us (or has just passed) where brand new 6th graders & brand new 9th graders join our youth ministries. At IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry), this upcoming weekend is our PROMOTION SUNDAY for incoming 6th graders. Here is a copy of the email that I just sent out to our youth leaders regarding their roles this weekend. Hopefully this content will be useful to you in your youth ministry setting!
EMAIL I SENT:
So here are the 3 big things to be thinking about as we approach Sunday morning:
1) THIS WEEKEND IS ALL ABOUT THE NEW 6TH GRADERS! This weekend I want you hanging out with 6th graders. Your priority is to find a new 6th grader/graders and stick with them the entire service. If you are a guy, make a beeline for new 6th grade guys. If you are a girl, make a beeline for new 6th grade girls. Go out of your way to get to know all about them. There will be special seating this Sunday roped off just for our 6th graders. SIT WITH STUDENTS DURING THE SERVICE. No one should be standing/sitting anywhere else during program Sunday morning except for sitting with 6th grade students. (the only exception is for those who are running tech in the back).
2) THIS WEEKEND IS ALL ABOUT BUILDING NEW RELATIONSHIPS. Get to know students this weekend. When you meet a new kid, grab some coke’s (found in a bucket by the tech booth) and sit at connection central or the couches with students. Ask them about their hobbies, likes, dislikes, favorite movies, favorite foods, bands, etc. Our goal at IGNITION is that every student is known by name by one of our leaders.
3) MODEL AUTHENTIC WORSHIP AND FUN FOR THE NEW 6TH GRADERS. When worship is going on this Sunday, sing with all your might! When a joke comes from the stage, laugh even if it’s not that funny! When the message is being taught, model to your students by taking notes yourself and following along. If you see students acting up, let them know (nicely) to pay attention. They will look up to you as models of what they should/shouldn’t be doing. This weekend will be as fun for them as you make it! :D
Check out this AWESOME promo video my buddy Ryer Flaker made for our jr. high and high school youth ministry at Daybreak Church. Super cool. I love the very apparent difference between jr. high and high school students as displayed in this video. Thanks Ryer!
Graphic for this weekend at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s jr. high ministry). It’s our graduating 8th graders weekend. We are using the entire weekend service to celebrate our departing 8th graders.
What are you doing for the students who are transitioning out of your ministry? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Our church’s website was highlighted recently by . If you are looking for a web designer for your church or youth ministry, check them out!
This weekend is our 8th Grade Weekend at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) and I am speaking on the three big ideas that jr. high students need to know before they graduate up into high school. I’m using a clip from the tv show “King Of The Hill” which illustrates a hope that our graduating 8th graders won’t “grow out” of Jesus as they move through high school. The clip we are using is 9 minutes 10 seconds into the video. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Every two weeks our core team gets together to plan out our weekend services for IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry). What we usually do is pass out a bunch of blank personal sized marker boards and let the entire team start dreaming up the different elements that make up our weekend service. Here are the elements that we plan for during every weekend at IGNITION (in no particular order):
1) Worship: We plan out which worship songs we will do, whether or not we will have the band do any cover songs, etc. Our song choices center around the theme of the weekend message.
2) Games: We usually plan on two games per service. One game is an “up front” game, where we bring students up on stage for some activity. The second is a “crowd game” which is more of a “everyone plays at the same time” type of challenge. Again, we usually (but not always) create games that fit the theme of the weekend.
3) Elements of Fun: This is where we think up different types of bits/skits/prizes/giveaways/etc. This can be as small as giving away free hot-cocoa after one of our Christmas services as students leave, or as complicated as a full on costumed skit with smoke machines and more!
4) Understandable Message: Every planning meeting we ask ourselves the question “what is the simplest way we can say this?”. We try to determine how to take a complex spiritual truth and make it easy to understand and relevant to teenagers lives.
5) Graphics/Video: This part is pretty straight forward. We think about what kinds of bumper videos do we need to make for the current series, whether or not we need to shoot any funny/thought provoking videos. We also get some great ideas from youtube!
6) Grade Groups: During a small portion of our weekend services (about 10 minutes) we have students move into smaller groups called grade groups. These groups are always same age/same gender. We use this time to try and get to know all of the students by name. It’s a great way to make the large crowd seem smaller. During planning meetings we determine where in the service these groups should be go, and if we want them to talk about anything in particular relating to the weekend message.
7) Environment: This is where we dream about what we want to do in terms of set design. It could be as simple as putting a chair and table on the stage, or super complex like building a rocket to sit on the stage. We usually draw out all of our ideas so we can really get creative. (You’d be surprised how a little bit of time spent on the environment of your youth room can go a long way. And it doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact, grab a few of your student leaders and let them go nuts designing your youth room for your next series!)
8) Announcements: As of last week we just switched over to trying out video announcements (versus somebody standing on the stage giving announcements). We’ve been finding that students aren’t focusing a ton on the announcement time, so we are experimenting with doing some super funny announcement videos to try and capture our jr. high student’s attention a little more. :)
Not sure if any of this was useful, but I’d love to know how you all plan your youth programs. Share your own process for building your crowd programs in the comments section below. :D
This weekend we started our brand new Christmas series entitled “IT’S AN IGNITION CHRISTMAS!”. Keep on reading for a breakdown of the games we used, message ideas, song choices and more!
Series: ”IT’S AN IGNITION CHRISTMAS!”
Pre-Service: It’s Christmas again, so we had to use my buddy Grant’s “That’s Christmas” video as our countdown. This video never gets old.
Grade Groups: Click here to download our grade group questions for this weekend
Games: This weekend we played a Christmas version of the impossible shot (students had to throw plastic snowflakes through a hanging wreath) and a game of “FINISH THAT LYRIC: CHRISTMAS EDITION” where students had to finish the lyrics to popular Christmas songs.
Message: Me and one of our IGNITION staff taught this weekend on HOW we can know that Jesus is REAL. We talked about how, unlike the myth of Santa Claus, Jesus was a real living person who has the power to transform their lives. We looked at some basic tools of apologetics that students can use to determine the validity of Jesus’ existence/ministry/resurrection.
Click on the link to download the series graphics for IGNITION’s newest 2-week series on the Bible. The zip file comes with both the series title graphic as well as the message slide. Enjoy!