This week was a big week in our student ministry! On Tuesday night we had Senior Night in our high school ministry where we honored and celebrated our seniors. As you will see, the whole service was pretty much focused on them. Then on Wednesday night we had Edguation in our middle school ministry where we honored our 8th grade students and sent them off to officially become part of our high school ministry. Both nights where incredible!
What We Did at Porch (High School) – Senior Night Worship Set List: The Ascension (Phil Wickham), All Things New (Elevation Worship), Man of Sorrows (Hillsong), Jesus I Come (Elevation Worship), and Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] (Hillsong United). Video:2015 Senior Video Teaching: Every year for senior night I prepare a message just for our seniors. It’s always something all the students need to hear but it’s specifically for the seniors. This year I did a talk called “4 Questions to Ask Yourself As You Graduate High School.” Highlight: I have three highlights from this night. First, after my talk I brought all our seniors upfront and had them sit along the stage. Then I asked everyone else to gather wound them and place their hands on them. If they couldn’t reach them they were to touch the person in front of them. Then I opened the floor for our students and leaders to pray over our seniors. For about 5-10 minutes we lifted up our seniors in prayer and it was amazing. Second, we had Porch alumni shirts designed and we gave one to every senior. The shirts looked awesome and the seniors loved them. Third, the worship was incredible! The band rocked, our two seniors in the band were singing their hearts out, and the students in the crowd where going at it. I saw students who normally don’t show any emotion in worship lift their hands and sing their hearts out to God.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School) – Edguation Opening Video:Worst Doctor Ever Upfront Game:Lego Lava Walk Challenge. This is something I ran across on Download Youth Ministry. We did it as an upfront game with all our 8th grade students. We spread about eight pounds of legos across the front of the stage and had each 8th grade students walk (or run) across them. We timed each one to see who could do it the fastest. Video:Edge Announcement Video (this was by far my favorite announcement video to film because of the end – watch it). Group Game:Scatterball. We play this game a ton in our middle school ministry and our 8th grade students requested it for Edguation. We did a few round for just them and then a few for everyone. It’s basically dodgeball, but with only one ball (we throw a few more in to speed it up) and you can only take up to 3 steps (when it gets down to a few people we let them take as many steps as they want). Click the link above to download the graphic we used for this game. Teaching: Every year at Edguation I prepare a special message for our 8th grade students. This year I did a talk called “3 Things to Keep First As You Enter High School.” I also did a live interview with one our high school students at the tail end of my talk where we talked about following Jesus in high school. Click here to listen to the talk. Highlight: Watching our 8th grade students leave the room and walk into a huge crowd of high school students that were cheering for them (and spraying silly string and blowing horns). Then they went to another room where they hangout, talked about our high school ministry, gave them free stuff (Porch shirt, ESV compact Bible, and a invite to Porch).
This week we changed things up quite a bit for our high school ministry and had our last night of small groups for the school year for our middle school ministry. Both were great nights and went really well. Our attendance for both nights was down due to a high school band concert and camp for 6th grade student at our local middle school.
What We Did At Porch (High School)
Because we knew attendance would be down and we just spent six straight weeks going through the book of Acts we figured it would be good to have a night where we allowed our students to just hangout and build relationships. We pulled the church grill out and grilled up some hotdogs and hamburgers and just hangout. Also, since there was a Cavaliers playoff game on that night at the same time we showed the game on the big screens. Overall it was a fun night and everyone seemed to enjoy having a night to just hangout, eat some food, and watch the game.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School) Opening Video:Yawning Looks Like Yelling Upfront Game:Secret Menu Items. This is a fun “fake or real” game from Download Youth Ministry that works great as an upfront game. Group Game:Train Wreck. This is a game we do a few times a year because our students love it. You set two rows of chairs up facing each other on opposite sides of the room. When you say “train wreck” students must get up and run to another chairs across from them. Each time you have a leader pull one or two chairs from each side so a few students are eliminated. Depending on the size of your group, you may want to only pull one chair at a time or if your group is large you may want to pull a few so the game doesn’t last too long. Click the link above to download the graphic we used for this game. Teaching: We didn’t have any teaching this week. Instead students broke into their small groups for one last time before the end of the school year (we take a summer break from small groups and weekly meetings) and just hangout. Highlight: Watching our leaders hangout with their small groups for the last time of the school year. I love our small group leaders and am always encouraged by the way they pour into our students.
Last week in our student ministry we finished our last teaching series for the school year. Each school year we try and cover at least two books of the Bible (usually an Old Testament and New Testament book). Earlier this year we went through the book of Jonah, which was one of my favorite teaching series of all time, and for the past six weeks we have been going through the book of Acts. You might be wondering how we fit the entire book of Acts into just six weeks. I’m glad you asked. That’s why I am writing this post.
To cover the book of Acts in six weeks we combined two things: teaching and personal reading. Lets talk first about teaching. Over the six weeks students heard talks from various parts of Acts. I didn’t just randomly chose parts of Acts to teach on. Instead I looked through the book of Acts and picked out six different passages that seem to be key points in the narrative but also passages that highlighted something I felt like the students in our context needed to hear and understand. The six places in Acts we taught from were: Intro, Promise, and Call (Acts 1:1-11), Early Church (Acts 4:23-37), Stephen Martydom (Acts 6:5, 8-7:60), Paul’s Conversion (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-9, 15), Paul and Silas Rescued from Prison (Acts 16:22-34), and Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). Feel free to click here to listen to these talks from our high school ministry mid-week services. There were so many more passages in Acts I wanted to cover but with only six weeks I couldn’t. That’s why we didn’t just settle with teaching from these six places in Acts and forgot the rest. Instead, as I said before, we combined the teaching with personal reading.
For the personal reading part of this series we broke down the book of Acts into a forty day reading plan. Each day had students reading about half a chapter while a few days had them reading an entire chapter. We then put this reading plan on a bookmark sized card and called it the “Acts Reading Challenge” (click here to see one of these cards that was completed by a student). We gave these out at the beginning of the series and challenged students to read the entire book of Acts on their own before the end of the series. Once completed we asked students to turn their cards back in to receive a gift. I wish I could say all our students took this challenge but some did and I couldn’t be more proud of those students that took the time to read God’s Word.
This was the first time I have ever combined teaching and personal reading for a series and I plan to do it again next time we go through a book of the Bible with our students. Like any plan there were things I liked and things I believe we did well, but there were also things that didn’t work well and we will need to adjust next time around. However, I enjoyed being able teach from specific places in the book of Acts while equipping and encouraging our students to read the rest on their own.
We had some pretty good nights in our student ministries this week. For our high school night we changed things up and met in a different room and had an acoustic set for worship instead of the full band. We knew attendance would be down this week due to a band banquet at the local high school so we wanted to meet in a room that was a little smaller so our normal (much bigger) room didn’t feel so empty with a smaller crowd. Below are the details of what we did this week in our student ministries.
What We Did at Porch (High School) Upfront Game:Mexican Food Trivia. This is a fun little game from Download Youth Ministry. We decided to play this game since this past Tuesday was cinco de mayo. Acoustic Worship Set List: Made Alive (Citizens & Saints), Hail the King (Citizens & Saints), Brokenness Aside (All Sons and Daughters), and Jesus Paid it All (Kristian Stanfill). Video:The Skinny of Evangelism (Skit Guys) Teaching: We finished our Acts series by talking about Paul in Athens from Acts 17:16-34. The main idea we talked about was evangelism and what we can learn about it from Paul’s example in Athens. Click here to listen to the message. Highlight: The acoustic worship was awesome! I love stripping away most of the instruments, lights, and big stage and having a simple worship set where I can hear the voices of our students singing to Jesus.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School) Opening Video:Top Soccer Shootout with Scott Sterling Upfront Game:Stocking Face Tug of War. This was a fun game I ran across online. Basically you buy a few pairs of panty hoses (stocking kind) and tie two pairs together. You bring two students up and have them place the end of the panty hoses on their heads and over their faces. One of the best parts of the game is seeing their faces mashed up inside the panty hose. Then you have them play tug of war with their heads. First person to pull the panty hose off their opponent head wins. I’ve seen some groups do four way tug of war with this game. Click the link above for more details and instructions for this game. Group Game:King of the Circle. We play this game a few times a year and it’s always a pretty big hit. You tape a circle down on the ground (we just do a square) and you tell all the students to stand inside the circle. Students must place their hands behind their backs and attempt to push others out of the circle. When you get pushed out of the circle you are out. We did separate rounds for guys and girls because the guys get extremely rough in this game (actually some of the girls got pretty rough as well). Click the link above to download the graphic we used for this game. Teaching: Same as what we did at at Porch with our high school students but a little shorter. Click here to listen to the message from this night. Highlight: The opening video was a huge hit! We usually do an opening video each night and most of the time they are super funny to our students. However, they loved this one and were going crazy. Some of them were even posting about it on Instagram later that night. We also had a student pray before my talk and when he did he prayed for Scott Sterling from the video…got to love middle school ministry.
We had another great week in our student ministries! Below are the details of what we did both in our high school ministry and our middle school ministry.
What We Did at Porch (High School) Group Game:Dueling Unicorns. We did this game last week in our middle school ministry and it was a blast! We decided to give it a try with our high school students and they loved it! It involves party hats, shaving cream, and balloons. Fun game for the students playing as well as the students in the crowd watching. Click the link above to read the details on how to play as well as download the graphic we used. Worship Set List: Unstoppable God (Elevation Worship), Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] (Hillsong United), All I Have is Christ (Sovereign Grace Music), and Made Alive (Citizens & Saints). Teaching: We continued our Acts series by talking about how God rescued Paul and Silas out of prison as well as used them to lead the prison guard to Christ. Click here to listen to the message. Highlight: Having our campus worship leader, Jonathan Claytor, join us and lead worship with our normal Porch band. Our regular adult leader who plays and oversees the band was out of town so Jonathan came and filled in. It was cool to see our students get a chance to play and lead worship with him since they see him on stage every weekend at church leading worship.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School) Opening Video: Toy Wars
Upfront Game: Shake it Off. Easy game but loads of fun. We brought a few students up and had a friend of their choice put around 70 sticky notes on them. Then they had a minute and a half to shake as many sticky notes off themselves without using their hands. And of course we played Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” while the students where shaking the sticky notes off. Couldn’t play this game without having T-Swift help us out. Group Game:Scatterball. We play this game about once a month because our students love it and ask for it all the time. Basically dodgeball but you can only take up to 3 steps with the ball. We start with one ball and then throw a few more in as the game goes on. Click the link above to download the graphic we use. Teaching: Same as what we did at Porch. We continued our Acts series by talking about Paul and Silas being rescued from prison and leading the guard to Christ. Click here to listen to the message from Edge. Highlight: Most nights I open up and lead the first game. Then I usually have leaders do the other parts of the service and I don’t come back up until I teach. This night I had my leaders do everything up until I taught. It was awesome sitting back and watching them lead our students. I love seeing our leaders get up on stage to lead games and help us pull off an awesome night.