This week we had great nights in both our middle school and high school ministry. There was good energy both nights and saw a ton of new students come through the doors both nights as well. Below is the details of what we did this week.
What We Did at Porch (High School)
Worship Set List: The Ascension (Phil Wickham), How He Loves (David Crowder Band), This Grace (Kristian Stanfill), Give Me Faith (Elevation Worship), and Made Alive (Citizens & Saints). Video: Collide Retreat Promo
Teaching: Instead of teaching this week we had some students share their personal faith stories. Last week we had our student leaders do this but this week we opened it up to any students who wanted to share. This is part of a series we have been doing for the past three weeks called “What’s Your Story?” Highlight: Hearing a solid group of freshmen guys share their faith stories. We have a greta group of freshmen students and these guys are leading the way. Proud of them for standing up before their peers and sharing their faith stories.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School) Upfront Game: Pizza Eating Contest (with a twist). I called three students up on stage and gave them each two slices of pizza. I had the crowd count down to from three and before they hit one I stopped them. I told the contestants we have some special toppings for their pizza. I then had some student leaders cover the pizza slices in things like ketchup, mayo, mustard, grape jam, lemon juice, and more. Then we had the contestants race to see who can eat their pizza the fastest. Group Game:Scatterball. This is a classic version of dodgeball we do at least once a month. Our students love it. Click the link to read the rules and also download the graphic we used during this game. Videos: Edge Games XI Week 3 Highlights and Collide Retreat Promo Teaching: Last week we finished a three week event called Edge Games. This is a huge outreach event we do each year. Throughout the event we do short video talks that lead up to the final night where we present the Gospel. This week we received what we talked about in those videos and followed up with students who indicated they responded to Christ that final night. We gave each of those students The Simple Truth Bible to help them start spending time in God’s Word consistently. Highlight: Hard to pick just one highlight. There were so many awesome things about the night. We had a new record attendance of over 140 students there (some didn’t check in so we counted between 145-150). We followed up with over 21 students who indicated they received Christ the final night of Edge Games. The energy was high all night and students were having a blast. Overall it was a fantastic night!
It’s been a busy past few weeks in our student ministry. We are in the middle of a massive three week (first three Friday nights of this month) event for middle school students called Edge Games, interviewing students for our two summer mission trips, and coming off of Student Ministry Sunday this past Sunday. Before I tell you what we did this week in our high school ministry called Porch, let me tell you what we did Sunday for Student Ministry Sunday.
What We Did at Student Ministry Sunday
Student Ministry Sunday is basically a Sunday where our students take over and lead our Sunday worship services. Our high school ministries worship band made up of students does the worship, students host and pray during the services, students greet and welcome people at the doors, and I get the privilege to preach. Worship Set List: In Tenderness He Sought Me (Citizens & Saints), The Ascension (Phil Wickham), Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] (Hillsong United), and Man of Sorrows (Hillsong). Upfront Game: Donuts on a String. Yes, we played a game. It was a blast and the congregation loved it. Contestants have to eat a donut off a string without using their hands. If the donut falls off the string they must eat it off the ground still using no hands. Preaching: I continued the series we have been in for a few weeks now called “Story Teller God.” In this series we are looking at some of the parables Jesus told. I preached on the two debtors from Luke 7:36-50. Click here to listen to the sermon. Highlight: It was a blast watching our students greet and welcome people at the doors. For the past few years we have kind of made it a tradition that on Student Ministry Sunday our students go crazy when people walk through the doors. They high five people, make tunnels over people, and scream and clap for them. It’s awesome!
What We Did at Porch (High School) Upfront Game:Face the Clothespins. One of my favorite upfront games. Bring up a few pairs of contestants and have one of them see how many clothespins they can put on the face of their partner in two minutes. Click the link above to download a free graphic and countdown for this game. Worship Set List: Psalm 18 (Citizens & Saints), All I Have is Christ (Sovereign Grace Music), Jesus I Come (Elevation Worship), and Sweetness of Freedom (Citizens & Saints). Teaching: Last week we started a series called “What’s Your Story?” I taught last week on what the Bible says about sharing the Gospel and also how to share your own personal faith story. This week instead of me teaching our student leaders shared their faith stories. It was great seeing each of them stand upfront and share their stories of how they came to know Jesus and how He has changed their lives. Highlight: Getting to sit back and listen to students share their faith stories. Nothing beats hearing students lift up the name of Jesus and share how He has radically changed their lives.
This was is our last week of not having Edge (our middle school ministry). Next week we pick things back up with Edge and I will share what we did there as well as at Porch.
Every student ministry loves to see new students walk through their doors. With this comes our responsibility to make sure these new students feel welcomed right off the bat. I’m sure there are many students who go to a student ministry program for the first time and leave never to return again because they didn’t feel welcomed. I want to share a few things with you that we do in our student ministry to help new students feel welcomed. Don’t mistake the name tag picture to be a suggestion on how to make new students feel welcomed. Name tags will just make them feel awkward. Don’t do it. Follow the suggestions below.
Train your student leaders to look out for new students and to connect with them as soon as a new student walks in. In our high school ministry we have a student leadership team made up of students from 10th-12th grades. One of the weekly responsibilities of this team is to be on the lookout for new students and to be ready to connect with a new student when they walk through our doors. I encourage them to ask them where they go to school, what grade are they in, what kinds of things do they like to do, and what made them to decide to check out our ministry. Even if you don’t have an official student leadership team you can train a few students to do this on a weekly basis. Not all students are great at this. You will have some students who are naturally more friendly and can easily walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. Find a few students who are gifted in this area and put them to work. The best way to help a new student feel welcomed to to have a another student welcome them and spend some time talking to them. The sooner this happens the better so train your student leaders to be quick to welcome and talk to a new student.
Train your adult leaders to connect with new students as well. Not only do new students need to be welcomed by another student, they also need to be welcomed by an adult leaders. Train your adults leaders to be looking out for new students. Train them to not just look out for them but to actually talk to them and to get to know them. It makes a huge impact on a student, especially a new student, when an adult intentionally talks to them and shows an interest in them. It’s easy for our adult leaders to clump up together and not connect with new students. For many adults, talking to a teenager is not always easy and at times very intimidating. But our adult leaders have to be willing to leave their comfort zones and connect with both new and regular students.
Train yourself to talk from upfront with new students in mind. Whenever you the student pastor stands or main leaders stands upfront and talks to the crowd of students, make sure you talk with new students in mind. Don’t just jump up there and welcome them to your program. A new student will not know who you are so introduce yourself. If you have trained your student and adults leaders well than new students have been talking to them all the way up until your program starts. Once it starts and you get upfront, quickly introduce yourself and give a general welcome. I also make sure I do a few other things when it comes to this idea of keeping new students in mind when upfront. Whenever I start my message, I always quickly review the current teaching series we are in as well as what we have talked about the weeks prior. Also, when I talk about things like retreats and mission trips I always explain what these look like and why we do them. All these things are things that are regular students know and may not want to hear explained over and over but making a new student feel welcomed and comfortable is more important.
These are just a few things we do on a weekly basis to help new students feel welcomed when they walk through the doors of our ministry. Even though I think we do well in this area we have not arrived. We can always get better. I’d love to hear from you. What are some things you do to make new students feel welcomed when they walk through the doors of your student ministry?
For the first three weeks of February we do not have our normal Edge (middle school) program because we do an event called Edge Games that happens on the first three nights of February. It’s a huge outreach event we do each year in combination with some of the other campuses of our church. So this week we only had Porch (high school) and it went really well this week. Below is what we did.
What We Did at Porch (High School) Game:Dumb Apps. Another great game from Download Youth Ministry. We did this as an upfront game with two contestants. Click the link for details on the game and to buy it for only $3. Worship Set List: Sweetness of Freedom (Citizens & Saints), Raised to Life (Elevation Worship), Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] (Hillsong United), and Hail the King (Citizens & Saints). Teaching: This week we wrapped up our Jonah series by looking at Jonah 4. Jimmy Kozy, who is on staff at our Hudson campus, came and was our guest speaker for the night. Next week we are starting a series called “What’s Your Story?” that will be about sharing your faith story with others. Highlight: The vibe and atmosphere before the service even started was great. Students usually roll in around 6:45pm and we usually don’t start the service until about 7:30pm. During that time we have some games set out in the room like ping-pong and kanjam (which is a youth ministry must have) as well has a football and such guys will throw around. The energy and vibe in the room was great. Students were hanging out, playing some games, and having a blast.
This week we had great nights in both our high school ministry and middle school ministry. We had a what we call a “Coffee House Night” in our high school ministry that went really well and was a great night of building community and worshipping together. In our middle school ministry we had our third week in a row with over 100 students there! Below are more detail about what we did both nights.
What We Did at Porch (High School) Coffee House Theme: We usually do one of these nights each semester. We meet in a different room than normal and do our best to create a coffee house environment. Instead of rows of chairs we have tables and instead of the band doing their normal set they do an acoustic set. We also offer free coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. We build in more hangout time than normal and throw a few board and card games out on the tables for students to play while they hangout. We still have a time of teaching but we usually keep it shorter than normal. Game:Coffee Trivia. Ten random facts about coffee. Click the link to download it for free and use it yourself! Worship Set List: Mighty Warrior (Elevation Worship), Brokenness Aside (All Sons and Daughters), Raised to Life (Elevation Worship), Jesus Paid it All (Kristian Stanfill), and 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman). Teaching: We continued our Jonah series by looking at Jonah’s obedience and Nineveh’s response to God’s message in chapter 3. Click here to listen. Highlight: The worship was incredible! One of the reasons I love doing coffee house nights is for the worship. I love the acoustic worship and our students always sing out and engage in it really well.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School) Upfront Game:Follow Faceoff Instagram Edition. Another great game from Download Youth Ministry. Group Game: Clothespin Chaos. Every student starts out with a clothespins clipped onto their sleeve. When the music starts they have a set amount of time (we did 5 minutes) to try to get clothespins off of other people and put them on their own sleeve. They must also watch out because people will be trying to take their clothespins as well. Student with the most clothespins at the end wins. Teaching: Every other week we have small groups and this week was a small group week. Students discussed Jonah 3 in their small groups and were challenged to go home and read chapter 4 on their own. Highlight: Having another night with over 100 students there! I know it’s “not all about the numbers,” but I love knowing our students are loving what we do and they are excited enough about it to bring their friends. Plus, that’s over 100 students that are hearing about Jesus!