The Opening night of youth group sets the tone for the rest of your year. It isn’t a deal breaker for a teen, but it does factor into their decision to come back. So what are some things you can put into your opening night that would make it awesome, special, and worthy to repeat a visit. Here are some thoughts:
Big Game. Plan ahead to have a big game or special icebreaker to make it a unique night. I’ve heard of youth groups that do a huge food fight. I haven’t been so brave but have done the BeanBoozled Jelly Bean Challenge, Blind Volleyball, and have even tried the Watermelon Challenge this year. This was last night.
Introduce New Series. This is the perfect opportunity to get the excitement level up for the new teaching series. Show an intro video that goes along with the theme. Other ways to promote can be done through skits and homemade video productions.
Rules. This needs to be part of your routine each year. Go over rules for conduct, dress, treatment of others, and various rules that you can refer back to if there ever is an issue. Prevention is much better than confrontation.
Give-Away. This does not need to be an XBOX or THIS…but a gift card and some things around your office like candy and leftover gifts from a youth conference. I put it all in a box and do a drawing. It makes it more dramatic.
Time in the Word. I made the mistake one year of not doing any time in the Word, and made it all fun and games. Well, when some visitors came back, guess what they expected youth group to be like? That’s right, all fun and games. Make sure you are clear what the focus is, and that is to help these students grow in their relationship with God.
Sign-Ups For Service. Having trouble finding volunteers for ministries? Here is an opportunity to have sign ups for children ministries, sound team, ushers, game crew, and the list goes on.
New People. Have a dessert or cake to celebrate the new 6th or 7th graders that have just joined your group. This will allow them to feel welcome and hopefully want to come back.
Introduce the Leaders. We take a few moments to recognize the leaders, celebrate the years they have been serving, and explain what they will be doing – small group leader, event leader, etc. Also, this is an opportunity to share how much we care about them, and to let them know we are available if they ever needed to talk.
Well, those are a few highlights of our opening night. What do you do to make your opening night special and awesome? Feel free to comment.