Tag Archives: Youth 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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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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Ideas For Graduate Recognition or Senior Night

As I mentioned last week, Senior Nights have their benefits.  And one of the greatest things about planning these events is the sky is the limit.  Typically, I try to plan the event around personality of the people graduating.  If it is a more outgoing group, I would try to get them more involved during the presentation.  For the introverted group, I would make it more low-key and enjoyable for them.  Regardless, I do my best on a reasonable budget, to make this night unforgettable and truly memorable for the senior and their families.  Here are a few ideas…Senior Night 2012

A Night at the Oscars. This took some prep work in our event planning. The month prior to senior night we had a video contest, where students would get together and produce their own short film. Little did the seniors know, this would play into their Senior Night. At the Senior Night, awards were given from those films such as best actor/actress, best film, best cinematography, etc. Oscars were made from gold paper (I still have mine in my window sill of my office.

The night was just like the Oscar night. Each senior was picked up from a designated area in a convertible donated by someone in the church. We pulled out the red carpet for our seniors to enter. The entire church was waiting for the seniors as the pulled in one-by-one. Each senior was interviewed in from of the church and cheered and celebrated.

The schedule began with an opening monologue, Oscar awards, band performance, video of seniors pictures given by parents, and time of prayer. The night also included a brief devotional by our lead pastor.Senior Night JPEG

Olympic Ceremony. Just like the Oscars, this took advance planning as well. Medals can be made or bought at a local party supply store. These medals were given in a special ceremony for each Olympic event the month prior.

A special host is needed for this event. In this case, I was Bob Hope. You can be creative with this. Other parts of the program included a live band performance, Gospel presentation, charge to seniors and families, video presentation of pictures of graduates growing up, commercials, and an unforgettable skit.MSM AWARDS

Awards Night. Again, needed a prior event for this senior night to work. So, we had a talent show the month before to allow for awards to be given. Awards were based on that particular night.  The creativity comes into play on this part of the night where you try to come up with as many categories as you can to give out as many awards as you can.

Schedule included recorded testimonies of lessons learned from the seniors, red carpet entrance and interviews, monologues for presenters, memory/picture video of seniors, and special guest host.Presentation

Price is Right. We really outdid ourselves this year. Set design, logos, name tags, host scripts, items up for bids, prizes to be won, cars given away (matchbox, of course…what budget do you think I have?), and much more. It was incredible.

Again, we invited the church. But this time, they were the audience helping each contestant. There was only 2 seniors this year, so they were the 1st two contestants called. We had 4 games ready to play (can be found here), and the seniors each played the game, along with two other contestants. We had a digital wheel to spin. And even a showcase showdown!

The night began with a devotional, and then the worship center turned into the set of the Price is Right. The whole audience had a blast, and it was a very memorable night for our seniors and their families.

It did take a tremendous effort from our leaders who designed the set, got sound effects for the show, helped the students design t-shirts, gathered prizes, and the list goes on and on.

Keys to Remember:

  • Always involve the church. Whether it is at the arrival of the seniors or as audience members…invite the church to be part of this experience. This is very important.
  • Planning – make sure parents/families are given advance notice so they can be a part of the special night.
  • Involve the younger students in the planning process – give them assignments with decorations, food prep, or parts in the program.
  • Gathering Time – After the event, gather the seniors and their families along with the rest of the youth ministry and get some pizzas and play some games to round out the night. Does not have to be long, but will help bring everything to a good end.
  • If possible – keep the theme a secret from the seniors. It adds to the anticipation in the days prior to the event for the graduations.

What are some of your senior celebration ideas?

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Evangelism Events

Continuing our Evangelism blog series, our next stop is evangelism events.  You see, what is the point in training our students in evangelism, if we don’t allow them to use it.  As Andy Stanley says in his book, The Seven Checkpoints, “We waste our time and breath if we tell our teenagers that God has equipped each of them for ministry and then not provide opportunities for them to do just that.”

Listen, the sky is the limit here.  Events range from dodgeball to paintball, shopping to scavenger hunts, and formal dinners to eating contests.  If you are a youth worker reading this, you could probably rattle off 200 evangelistic events off the top of your head.  If not, next week, I’ll provide a list of event ideas for you.

This week is more about the preparation and purposeful evangelism of each event.  You know, there is a time and place to host an event for unity or to get to know students.  But for the most part, events need to have a purpose, and when it is evangelism, be purposeful in your planning.Evangelism

Here are 4 things to implement in your next evangelistic event:

  1. Hunting is not allowed.  Your evangelistic events should not be a hunting experience, where you shoot down visitors with the Gospel, and simply have a count by the end of the day.  NO!  Have a detailed plan of follow-up for these events.  Counselors available immediately after the speaker/gospel are vital to the students first steps in the family of God.  Registration cards for long-term follow-up and discipling are a must.
  2. No age limit.  Who said the speaker and workers had to be adults.  Get your students involved.  Let them be the speaker.  Let them plan the event and the details.  Give them opportunity to use their gifts for the sake of the Gospel!
  3. I need a witness.  Testimonies are powerful.  If you are not a speaker, or your student has trouble coming up with a message…give your story.  Your story of salvation is the second best story ever told.  The first is the Gospel.  Tell them both!
  4. Join the Party.  When someone gives their life to Jesus, join the party in heaven.  Don’t just raise your hands with heads bowed, have them stand up.  Cheer for what happened.  This may not work everywhere, but when someone accepts Christ, celebrate it whenever possible.

 

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2013 Goals Evaluation

If you are a regular reader of my blog, I thank you.  Also, you maybe remember the goals I set for the 2013 ministry year.  Well, it is always a good idea to look back and see how we did on each of those goals.  Below are the 10 goals and the evaluation grade.????????????????????????????????????????

Student Takeover   Broaden & Heighten the expectations of students in ministry & youth group participation.  Continue personal discipleship & Leader Training.

A-.  During the course of the year, we provided multiple opportunities for students to participate and lead.  In fact, we set aside one youth group night per month for the students to lead the entire night – from attendance to set up!  Would have been an A, but without having everyone involved, it wasn’t quite accomplished.  Something to shoot for, 100% involvement!

Parent Connection    Parent Seminar & Improve with weekly youth culture updates

B+.  Much better this year.  Held a parenting seminar, provided youth culture updates each week regularly, and hosted 3 parent meetings.  Improvement needed in the area of parent involvement in activities (more than just providing snacks)

Family Life Planning     Begin offering life planning for student ministry parents.

A. My goal was to begin this, and I have been able to begin this with several families.  Looking forward to more of this in 2014.

Easter Outreach Community    Easter Egg Hunt planned by leadership students

A.  Praise the Lord for how well this went.  I could not have asked for better leadership by the students, and they deserve an A.  Over 125 kids came to our first student-led outreach!

Youth Pastor Network    Launch a network in SW Columbus.

B.  Sure, I was able to launch the network.  But due to schedule conflicts and limited participation, the group was typically only 2 or 3 guys.  Still, it’s a start!

Public School Ministry    Still working on ways to enter public schools to share Jesus.

B-.  Was able to go to school and speak to Special Education department and put my name in for help with counseling.  Other than that, still needs work.  Possibly working on doing an ant-bullying program for the coming year.

Youth Leader Equip    Improve equipping & discipleship in meetings.  More opportunities to equip for service.

B.  Some improvement here of more intentional equipping in leader meetings, discussing ways to mentor/disciple.  Need to broaden scope of training.

Better Documentation of MSM    I’m talking pictures/video.

B-.  Doing a better job with this, trying to post pictures and video when possible.  Still working on getting a MSM video together for the website, which would drastically improve this evaluation grade.

WIN Event    World in Need Event to promote spiritual and physical needs globally

A.  One of my favorite events of the year.  Liked it so much, going to do it again this coming year.  What an eye-opening, worldview forming event this was.  Well worth the time and effort.

Inter-generational Church    Promote events and ways to bridge generations in church, church programs, church events.

B.  Could definitely use improvement, but was able to pull off the best inter-generational event in my ministry career.  Did a “speed-dating” type event, connecting the older & younger generation together.  Still hearing about it even 4 months later!

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Teen Culture Survey

At each major event, I like to require a registration card for some sort of give-a-way.  Attached to the registration card, is a short little survey to help gauge teen culture.  Here an example:

Which one is better?register

(Circle Answer)

 Drink:    Pop     Energy Drink     Water

FREE:  Shopping Spree at Favorite Store    OR

 Concert Tickets to Favorite Band

 Dislike More:    School      Chores     Miley Cyrus

For those that are curious, here’s the results of the survey:

#1 Drink of Choice:  Pop (or Soda for my East Coast Friends) – kinda surprised energy drinks only got 1 vote.

Would rather have a Shopping Spree at Favorite Store…although malls are going down in attendance.

Dislike More:  Tie between School & Miley Cyrus!  No comment.

 

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