Category Archives: Events

FREE Olympics Devotional

Last week’s blog post gave you a detailed description on how to host an Olympic Youth Event.  This week is your FREE devotional to use for the event.  It links the Olympics with the Gospel.  Hope your event brings students to Christ!

Olympics Devotional

Something very special happens every 2 years…what is it?  THE OLYMPICS!

When you think of famous Olympians, there are some names that come to mind right away… Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, or Mary Lou Retton.

 

What about Derek Redmond?  Let me just tell you his story, and I think you will remember him.

He held the British record for the 400m at age 19.  He made it to the Olympics in 1988, but had to withdraw due to an Achilles injury.

In the course of the next 4 years, he had 5 surgeries and trained to become a favorite for the 400 meters in the 1992 Olympic games.

On that day in Barcelona, he stepped on that starting line wanting desperately to finish with a medal around his neck.  The starting pistol goes off, and the race is going great.  Derek is leading the pack as he passes the halfway mark, and suddenly he hears a pop that sounded like a gunshot.  His leg begins to shake, and he realizes he has tore his hamstring.

Some of you are getting the picture in your mind right now…Derek’s dad is watching in the stands.  He sees his son hurt from the top of the stadium.  He rushes down through the 65,000 people packed in that stadium.  He yells at the security guards as he races past them “That’s my son, and I need to help him”

You see, before that race, Derek made a promise to his dad that he was going to finish that race no matter what.  And his dad came onto the track, put his sons arm around him and together, father and son, they finish the race together in front of a roaring crowd.

 

What a powerful story, but is nothing compared to what I am about to tell you.

You see each one of us in this room is like Derek.  We try to run this life of ours and do our best, but in the end we will come up short.

Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  What that means is we all have made mistakes and we come short of heaven.

But just like that day on the track, we have a loving Father that wants us to finish.  As Derek’s dad came down from the stands, our Father in heaven, sent His Son down to this earth to suffer for us.  He died to pay the penalty for our sins.

Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

That day on the track Derek’s dad said to him – I’m here, son,” Jim says softly, hugging his boy. “We’ll finish together.”

God is saying that to you today.  I am here for you, I died for you, and I love you.  Believe & trust in me today, and we will spend eternity in heaven together.  Will you make that decision today?  Pray to God & trust Him today.

 

Pray (Invitation Option)

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How to Host an Olympic Youth Event

Every 4 years in our youth group, we host an Olympic Games.  Before you think this is just an athletic competition, check this out.  This weekend is for everyone and each person on the team can contribute and have a great time.

Below is the schedule & events.  Enjoy!

Leaders arrive:  Set-up – Gym Games, Tables setup for eating

Students Arrive & Dinner Served

Gym Games Begin:  Around-the-World Ping Pong, Basketball Knockout, Finders Keepers

Devotional (short, but gospel-driven) – Next Week – FREE Olympic devotional on the blog

Instructions/Sign-ups for Water Games:  Teams sign up for water games quickly.  Instruct teens about NO Horseplay.  Respect of property, listen to lifeguard, no dunking underwater.  Safety.

Arrival at Pool (YMCA does pool rentals) & Change into Suits

Begin Water Games

  • Noodle Race – Race down to one end while riding noodle. Noodle must be between legs the duration of race.
  • Splash Contest – One person per team. Based on splash size & creativity.
  • Genie in a Bottle – Students spread out around area of pool. Teens turn around & close eyes.  Leader hides the 2 liter bottle in pool (filled up with water).  1st person to find-wins points for team.
  • Belly Flop Contest – No explanation needed, right?
  • Pearl Diver – 30 Seconds to dive and get as many coins as possible. Record $ amount of find, points awarded based on $ retrieved in the 30 seconds.
  • Underwater Talk – 2 Team members. Leader gives the topic to the team, and the word to only one team member.  Team member shares word under water.  If team gets it – points awarded.  (2 tries per team)  Example – Topic:  Food  Word:  Cheeseburger
  • Best Swimmer – Race to the finish. Extra 100 points if you beat Pastor Jeff
  • Synchronized Swimming – Each team must come up with a routine. Judged on presentation, creativity, & of course synchronization.
  • (If Time) Water Polo – Goals are trash cans or bowling pins. NO dunking or put into “penalty box”.  2 small time periods.  Winner of 2 games plays for championship.

Parents pick up at Church

Optional:  Sunday/Youth Night – Do a Game Show/Quiz Night for Final Competition & Prizes (Encourages visitors and those attending Olympics to come back!)

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5 Tips to Host a Easter Egg Hunt on a Small Budget

Rent a helicopter.  Get the real Easter Bunny to attend.  DC Talk reunion tour concert to open the festivities.  What happens if you don’t have a large budget for your Easter Egg Hunt?  No problem.  There are ways to still host a fun event for your community.

If you are looking for tips on how to host an Easter Egg Hunt – check out my previous posts here and here.

But if you are looking to host an Easter Egg Hunt on a low-budget.  Here’s some tips you need remember:

Get the Church to Help.  As mentioned in previous blog posts, this keeps the budget low when the church donates towards the cause.  Eggs, candy, bottled water…and even cash donations go a long way to keep costs down.  In past egg-fills, we might make a quick run to the dollar store for more eggs or candy, but for the most part we have enough filled eggs for the event.

Egg Return.  Make provisions to have a place where eggs can be returned.  This will save you next year when you ask for more donations.  You will already have a nest egg (pun intended) for your event the following year.

Free.  When you have an event that is free, the expectations are not nearly as high.  When people pay for an event, they desire something in return for their payment.  Keeping it free is not only good practice as a church, but also will allow for a good spirit among those that attend.

Limited but Effective Activities.  Each year we evaluate what activities are worth keeping for the following year.  The majority of our small budget is placed into bounce houses.  These are something every kid loves and are worth the money.  Other activities like crafts, face painting, and prayer table are low-budget activities.

Keep Program Simple.  Each year we make sure to share the Gospel at our event.  It’s not a bait and switch, because it is advertised as people come to the registration table.  But let’s be honest, hundreds of people (especially kids) anxiously waiting for the Easter Egg Hunt are not going to be held at bay for very long.  So the puppet show, video, or speaker should not be much longer than 15 minutes.  That’s all the attention span you got, so use it wisely.

Hope these tips are helpful for your Easter Egg Hunt.  Feel free to comment on how you accomplish your Easter activities. 

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Two Secrets That Will Help Build Your Summer Ministry

Has this ever happened to you in the summer?  You plan a canoe trip and three teens show up?  Or you put together a whiffle ball home run derby, one guy shows up, and is automatically declared the winner?  These are true stories from my ministry.  Summer events can be frustrating.  Whether it is the different schedule of summer, vacations, or sports camps…it proves to be difficult to host a successful summer event.  So, over the years, as I have evaluated the summer ministries, I have found two effective ways to do summer ministry.

#1 – Scale Down

imagesTake a breather.  Listen, with week-long mission trips, camps, mission projects, Vacation Bible School…your attendance at weekly meetings will begin to dip.  The philosophy of scaling down in summer youth ministry is highly debated.  You will find the “summer is the best time to do ministry” crowd.  And if that works for you, Praise God.  But, in my experience, keeping the normal ministry schedule has resulted in low attendance, picking and choosing of ministry involvement, and tired leaders.

Instead, we put our energy and passion into the other events of the summer.  We serve together for big children’s ministry events.  We build our efforts towards mission trips and projects.  Our leaders recoup and find refreshment.  And you know what happens when fall rolls around?  They are pumped and primed for ministry!  The summer builds up that opening night of the school year schedule.

#2 – Summer Hang Out

PosterThe summer schedule is unpredictable.  So, as Kevin Durant would say, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.  Use informal time to build into the students.  Take a few guys out for ice cream, babysit for your wife to take some girls out for coffee, or invite some teens over for a ministry project during the week.  Use this time for some informal discipleship, catching up, and building unity over the summer.

We posted an announcement on Facebook to let the students know their leaders were available to hang out sometime this summer.  Some girls called my wife to have dinner.  I was able to have lunch with a few guys the last few weeks.  It’s nothing earth-shattering, but the conversations have been priceless.  What I want to happen at events (informal discipleship) is happening in this brief get-together.

What about you?  What works for you in the summer?  I’d love to hear your secrets to a successful summer.

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How to Plan a Fear Factor Event

I read recently teens have a wide array of fears. Fear is often what keeps them from doing right and what tempts them to do wrong. Fear takes them places they don’t want to go and holds them hostage when they want to leave. Fear is something we need to talk about.  So that is what got me thinking of doing a “Fear Factor” Event for my youth ministry.  Sure, they may have never heard of the show or might have seen some re-runs…but this stuff never gets old.index

Here’s your planning kit for Fear Factor:

Challenges

  1. Baby Food Taste Testindex
Empty a variety of different jars of baby food into individual bowls (make sure you know which is which). Label the bowls with numbers and challenge players to taste every bowl and try and guess what it is. To make it more of a challenge, add some food coloring into the food that might be given away by its color. Make sure to have paper and pencils handy so guests can write their answers on them. Points awarded for participants and CORRECT guesses.

2.  Bigger or Better

Some people laugh in the face of gross or gruesome but them go weak in the knees at the thought of something as unassuming as talking to your neighbors. Time to face your social anxiety fears!

In this game you will provide all players (or teams) with a PAPERCLIP. The idea of the game is that they must go around the appointed challenge houses and try and trade it with them for something bigger and better. They can then try and trade that item for something bigger and better to someone else.

Points awarded upon return for best bigger or better.

  1. Iron Toes – Fill a bathtub or kiddie pool with water, marbles, and tons of ICE (you want it to be freezing). The object of the game is for players to stick their foot in the ice water and grab as many marbles as they can in a two minute period. Alternative:  Proof is in the pudding: Contestants dig sardines out of chocolate pudding with their toes. Use time limit
  2. Worm Pie

Place ten gummy worms at the bottom of a pie tin (you’ll need to make one for every player). Next, fill the pie tin with whip cream. On the start of go all players must place their hands behind their back and retrieve all 10 gummy worms with their mouth. This game is perfect for PICTURES, so make sure you have your camera ready! Give time limit and give points for each worm “retrieved”.

Alternative:  Get live worms.  Put them in a large container.  Give a time limit of 1 minute.  See how many they can “retrieve” and put into a container.

2nd Alternative:  Contestants must place their hands in a bucket of live worms and find as many pennies (pre-placed) at the bottom as they can.  Give Time Limit of 1 or 2 minutes.

5.      Lice Pickers

In this game I gave all the players a pair of tweezers and a cup and challenged them to pick as much lice (rice) as they could out of the shag rug and place them in their cups for extermination. They were not allowed to pick up the lice with their fingers, they had to use the tweezers.  Points were awarded by how many lice the players could collect in one minute.

ALTERNATIVE:  Instead of tweezers give each of the child a coffee stirrer straw, and have them suck the lice onto it and transfer it to the cup without touching it with anything other than the straw.  We did this version at my daughters party and it was a hit.  We did not use a shag rug, we mixed the rice in the yarn hair of one of her old cabbage patch dolls.

  1. Pickled-Pigs-Feet Game of Chance:

Make several of each of the following playing cards: 0, 1/4, 1/2, 1, and 2 (i.e. 3 0’s, 6 1/4’S, 3 1/2’s, 3 1’s, and 2 2’s). Have the players sit around a card table and play poker. At the end of the play, each contestant adds up the amount on his/her cards these amounts are the number of pigs’ feet they have to eat.  Points awarded for each participant.

  1. Bobbing for Sprouts – Bobbing for apples may be a time-honored tradition, but there’s not much fear to freak-out over there. Try bobbing for “monster eyes” (brussels sprouts) in a “blood bath”(water with red food coloring).
  2. FROG EGG MUNCH

Frog egg munch time! Have each participant roll a die to find out how many servings of “frog eggs” (tapioca pudding with green dye) they have to eat. To easily serve, spoon your green goop onto saltines crackers.

9.     Walk on Glass

For a walk on glass competition, break several bags of potato chips into pieces of different sizes, including smaller crumbs and larger pieces. Pour the chips on a flat surface, such as flattened cardboard boxes or a plastic tarp. Keep the area hidden from the teens until you’re ready to play. Blindfold the teens and tell them that they’re about to walk across broken glasses. This is a simple activity that doesn’t involve food, but still gets the teens into the Fear Factor feel.

  1. Gross Food Challenge

Go to an “ethnic” food marketplace to purchase tongue, hoof, leg, fish…whatever.  Provide a variety.  Please make sure they are cooked and safe to eat.  Points awarded for all the brave souls.

  1. Hot Sauce Challengelarge.3

Who could take a small spoonful of hot sauce.  Points for trying.  Extra points if no water/liquid was needed afterwards.

  1. Worm Eating Challenge

No need to tell them.  Show them that you aren’t scared to eat a worm.  Bravery of anyone that tries gets points.  They must all eat at ONCE, so the gig is not up.

 

Devotional

A few years ago, there was survey done about the biggest fears of youth.  And it was interesting, it had nothing to do with some of the challenges you will face tonight or have seen on re-runs of Fear Factor.  They were much deeper…here are a few examples…

  1. Fear # 10: “I will never have a happy marriage and family.”
  2. Fear # 9: “Someone I know or love will die of AIDS (maybe me!).”
  3. Fear # 8: “I feel like I must have sex to be accepted.”
  4. Fear # 7: “I cannot find time to do everything.”
  5. Fear # 6: “I can’t tell right from wrong.”
  6. Fear # 5: “Peer pressure scares me.”
  7. Fear # 4: “I (or someone I know) will be a victim of violence or crime.”
  8. Fear # 3: “I will not be able to make it financially.”
  9. Fear # 2: “I can’t get a good education.”
  10. Fear # 1: “Something bad may happen to my family.”

(Leadership Journal – Thom Rainer)

It is interesting that God does not leave us with our fears.  That would make Him a horrible Father to us.  Can you imagine me saying to one of my kids “Oh, you are scared of that giant scary monster little girl…well, deal with it”.  No, my desire is to protect my child, help them…and relinquish their fears.

And that is what God does in the Bible.  In fact, there are at least 365 passages (one for each day of the year ) can be found in the Bible that tell us to not be afraid, to not worry or be anxious, to look to Christ for strength and comfort, and be transformed to have a worshipful fear and awe of God.

Just look at all the passages where God told people not to be afraid:  Joshua when he was leading the people of Israel, Mary & Joseph when they saw an angel, Jesus to his disciples, Paul to Timothy, and the list goes on…

Whatever your fears may be – let me just leave you with this – God is the answer to your fears.

  • If it is your future – God has plans for you before you were even born.
  • If it is peer pressure or choosing right from wrong – God’s Word is clear in what decisions you should make
  • If it is death – God tells us that we no longer have to fear death – because if we trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior – death has no more power of us…Jesus defeated death on the cross.

Whether big or small, don’t let your fears stop you.  With God in your life, you can overcome them.  And as we go to houses to do the fear factor challenges…let each challenge be a reminder of how you can overcome fear…with God on your side.

 

Church Involvement

Rather than just having all the tasks at the church or in the youth facility, take it to the church.  What I mean is, have some people in your church host some fun fear factor challenges.  Make it easier on them by providing a supply list.  If you want to make it even easier, give them the supplies.  When the fear factor teams are made, supply each team with a map to each of the houses.  Have each team rotate houses, and have the host homes do the same thing for each group.

 

Scoring/Score-sheet

This is totally up to you, but award points based on participation and completion of tasks.  Reward those that are brave enough to eat, grab, hold, or do whatever that is required in these challenges.  They deserve some points for their team, and a towel.

 

Quick Recap of Plan

  1. Contact host homes for fear factor challenges
  2. Begin working on challenge list
  3. Re-Contact host homes that have accepted invitation – give them detailed description of fear factor challenges that you have picked.
  4. Complete devotional
  5. Gather vehicles
  6. Put together maps/instructions in folder for each group
  7. Optional – provide color bandanas for teams for team spirit
  8. Print out score-sheets for each team
  9. Buy awards for winning team – candy, trophy, etc.
  10. Schedule of Fear Factor night: FOOD/DEVOTIONAL/CHALLENGES/RESULTS & AWARDS 12993529_10156729545910246_6854674320991839023_n
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How the Oscars Got it Wrong

It is the film industry’s biggest event. All the greatest actors and actresses dress up for the award show put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Scientists. Over the years, it has morphed into something bigger than just a movie award show. Even this year, midst a controversy over racial equality, there was a big cloud hanging over the ceremony.

indexEach actor came to the stage either with sheer jubilation or with a certain agenda. The actors became activists. There were ideals that every person should get behind, like the elimination of domestic violence and abuse. Others encouraged young people to delve into the arts and use it as a way to cope with their difficult adolescence. Some actors, just in their utter joy was contagious, and even those who lost were seen with smiles on their faces.

leo-will-leonardo-dicaprio-finally-get-his-oscar-win-in-birdman-director-s-new-movie-jpeg-231902But the whole night was a build up to one man’s triumph. Leonardo DiCaprio had never held the golden trophy. Years and years of nominations ended in the same result. Many film experts claimed this would be the year. So, the audience had to wait to the very end to see if this Titanic hero would take the stage. And as the envelope opened, it was his name that was read.

Now, as we said before, the stage was already used for various causes and heartfelt tributes. What would Leo use this moment to promote? Drum roll please…Climate change. Now, hear my right on this one…I’m all for a better planet, but I will admit I’ve never been accused of one that hugs trees. That being said, it was a little surprising this was the activism he chose on the biggest night of his career. Here’s the thing, he wasn’t the only one. The Oscar winner for costume design (Jenny Beaven) said this about her movie which portrayed a earth that lay desolate and rid of many necessary resources… “Actually, it could be horribly prophetic, Mad Max, if we’re not kinder to each other and if we don’t stop polluting our atmosphere…You know, it could happen,”.

And here’s where they got it wrong. It wasn’t the controversial choice for best picture, or the Sly Stallone upset.  Rather, these actors point out the need for us to take care of the earth before it is too late, yet they neglect the one thing that will outlast this planet…their souls. They are missing it.

So let me ask you, when you are given the mic, what will you say? Will you promote a political candidate, pay tribute to the influential parties in years gone by, or conjure up a save the wales or world peace speech like a candidate on Miss America…or will you point people to the Gospel? Just like DiCaprio, he didn’t get many chances on the big stage, and may never get that chance again. Do you treat your conversations with the lost this way? Where you get one shot on this stage to promote the biggest cause, who happens to be the One who appoints the political leaders, could provide eternal peace, created the whales…and could give you eternal life.

Those that have been forgiven, you have been given the greatest reward of all time. The world needs to hear your acceptance speech. They need to hear you pay tribute to who got you here, the Director of your life now, and which way to the after party.Mike Brown Flickr mic drop

Drop mic.

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Need an idea for a fall youth event? Here’s one…

This event is something my wife has always wanted to do in our backyard, and I thought this fall we would give it a try.  What event?  An outdoor movie night.  Sure, it was a bit of a risk that it could be boring or not well-attended.  But it fit our teen’s personalities, it was worth a shot, and we promised lots of candy.

So how was it done?  Here are a few tips to get you started:

12049179_10156121340905246_5109909220871801803_nFood.  Food is always a good place to start with teens, so let’s start there.  We had everyone that was able bring $5 towards pizza.  The leaders brought drinks, and the youth budget covered the chips/sides.  Also, some of the leaders brought extra candy, and we purchased some theater style candy from Target in boxes.  Oh, and we got a popcorn machine!  Yeah, that’s right.  And we had all sorts of extras to make your popcorn like white cheddar & kettle corn seasonings, M&M’s, butter…the works.  We ended the night with S’mores.

1897770_10156121340565246_1592567503288246559_nMovie.  Some suggested to just put the classic Princess Bride in the DVD player and call it a day.  Well, I decided that if visitors were coming and to keep the movie appropriate for all attending (leader’s kids were there too), we chose a Christian movie.  I previewed God’s Not Dead, Do you Believe, and 23 Blast.  With it being fall, 23 Blast fit our time frame, the audience (High school characters), and had a good message.  The sky is the limit, but safe is better than sorry.

12046622_10156121012430246_913118546890468563_nSet-up.  My wife is a master at creating an incredible atmosphere and decorations.  My job was to get the projector, projector screen, DVD/Player, and some power cords.  She did all the rest.  And as you can see in the pictures, you can see why she was in charge of the decorations.  You can find the printout decorations here, which made it even more special.  I encouraged the teens to bring  a blanket or chair, and to dress warm.

1508094_10156121341085246_4756368890076109982_nGames.  Depending on the size of your yard, while people are showing up, you could have the option of corn-hole or other outside games available.  We decided to have Kubb available because it allows for many people to play at the same time.

Rules.  This was not a normal movie theater where guys and girls can cuddle up.  So we made that rule clear at the beginning.  And I had my 7-year-old daughter go around with a flashlight as the enforcer (she was very effective, and not shy about it).  We also said to help yourself to the sweets and popcorn during the movie.

Spiritual Options.  You can use the movie as a springboard to conversation and discussion.  Have a prayer time prior to the food.  Do a short devotional based on the content of the movie or a topic you wish to cover.

As you can see, we had a great time, and it was worth the risk of a new event.  The teens loved it, and even two days later at church we heard great reviews from teens and their parents.  So as you plan for next year, think about an outdoor movie night as an option.  Hopefully, these ideas will help your planning to be a little easier.

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How to Prepare a Youth Event Calendar in 3 Easy Steps

Preparing for next year’s event calendar, for me, is one of the most exciting planning experiences. The look of the fresh, blank calendar canvas…It’s a thing of beauty. To think, with the guidance of God through the process, you will get to plan out next year’s events. These are events where teens may get saved, hearts will be changed, and hopefully grows your ministry to reach your community for Jesus Christ. How does that not get your blood pumping?

So how is it done? Below are 3 easy steps that will allow your event planning to go a little smoother this year…

  1. Event Survey. A few years back, I decided to involve the students in the planning process (Novel idea, involving the students in planning the events that are for THEM!!). The survey gives the students a voice in what the events they enjoyed, and the ones only their youth pastor thought was a good idea. You will need a plate, fork, and napkin ready. Why? Because you will be eating a little bit of humble pie as you see some of the events did not turn out well. But the reward of seeing your teens express their appreciation for other events will rejuvenate you in your planning process.
  2. Leader Planning Meeting – Set aside a monthly planning meeting that is a tradition of sorts for your leaders. There are typically two types of yearly planning meetings. Summer meetings to plan out the school year calendar, and a yearly calendar beginning in January. For us, it is so difficult to plan during the summer, it is just too crazy. So we have our BIG planning meeting in October to provide time to plan out dates and details before January comes rolling around.  Allow this to be a time where you define your purposes of events, evaluate past and future events, and get on the same page for the coming year.  This meeting allows our team to really draw closer together and forge ahead united, and excited for what’s coming.  Then, throughout the year we have meetings to follow up and plan in more detail.
  3. Balance – Keep this word in mind as you plan for a number of reasons. Financially, you need to make sure your events are not all costly, and spread out the free or low cost events throughout the year. Your parents will appreciate this intentionality. Also, think about the spiritual purpose of these events. Keep a balance of evangelistic, spiritually challenging/enriching, and service events. To keep our ministry balanced, we schedule a service project each month and spread out the evangelistic and spiritually challenging throughout the year.

Scenario-Planning-2-Image1What about you?  What do you do in your planning that allows your events to be successful?  Feel free to comment below.

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Do Teens Really Care About Social Media?

Registration cards are wonderful.  They accomplish a number of things.  They allow you to gain updated contact information from regular students.  The cards also provide a non-threatening way to gain contact information from visitors.  Typically, these cards are filled out a few time a year for special events.  And to motivate a student to actually write something outside of school, I do a giveaway.

But there is something else I do on the registration cards…I do a small survey.  It allows me to stay connected to students and attempt to stay somewhat relevant.  So this time around, I asked 3 simple questions about vacation, restaurants, and social media.  On the card was a few options, and the students simply had to circle their favorite.

In a contest of Grand Canyon, Hawaii, and Europe – it was surprisingly a tie between Hawaii and Europe.  The restaurants, as you could imagine was all over the place.  If you have ever been in a church van and asked “Where do you want to eat?”  You know what I am talking about.

But the social media question surprised me the most.  The options to circle were Facebook, Instagram, Snap chat, and None.  (I was tempted to put MySpace just to confuse some people.   Anyone remember Xanga?)  Do you know which category won?  NONE!  That’s right, the favorite use of social media in our youth ministry is NONE.  Are they just circling that to keep me away from their account?  I think it is more than that.  Teens may be moving along to the next big thing and allowing their parents and grandparents to enjoy Facebook for themselves.  What do you think?  Do teens really care about social media?  I think they may not be pushing the like button anymore.facebook_like_button_big1

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Community Event Idea: A Free Garage Sale?

Poster

Idea: A Garage Sale Giveaway or Free Garage Sale is pretty self-explanatory. Essentially, you have a garage sale or rummage sale at your church. However, the big difference is that EVERYTHING IS FREE. The goal is to show your community you care about them as Christ cares for them, and provide a way for your church to demonstrate that love.

Rules: No donations can be taken at any time. Keep this as a strict policy. If someone presses, invite them to come on Sunday morning and drop the money in the offering as worship, not as part of this sale. Second, use tickets or set a limit of items people can take in the beginning of the event. This will hopefully prevent those that are just there to take a truckload to their own garage sale (yes, this did happen in one of our past events).

Donations: People have stuff! Believe me, people will gladly give you things lying around. Opening it up to your church family to bring in their “stuff”, if you give them 2-3 months to prepare, it will come!

Organization: Have a drop off location (ours was our garage), and make this clear. Be clear in setting a drop off date. Formulate a team of volunteers to take a week to organize the donations into categories like clothes, housewares, books, etc.

Promotion: Keep this in front of your church in announcement and bulletin information.  Place an ad in your city newsletter. Put a large banner/sign in front of your church 1-2 weeks prior to the event. Provide flyers for your church family to invite others. Put an event on the app called Nextdoor.

Evangelism: Train your volunteers to respond to the “Why are you doing this?” question. Give them tips to answer that question with “Because we love our community/neighbors” and “Because Jesus gave us forgiveness/salvation for free, so we want to follow his example and give you something for free”.

Opportunity to De-Clutter: Use this event as an opportunity to de-clutter your church. Because ministry leaders will be more willing to depart with materials if they know it is going to help their community.

Important Details: Remember to call Salvation Army (or other thrift store organization) for pick up of leftover materials. Don’t forget this! Make sure to have parking lot & security available. Registration table – give information about church and place to sign up with name/address for future mailer. Volunteers needed for loading of cars and for friendly interaction with crowd.

 

I hope this provides your church a way to love your community. It is hard work, but in the end, it was worth showing others the love of Christ.

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