Thursday, August 15, 2013

Changing it Up

For years our flow of our weekly youth group gathering has been the same pretty much:
  • Icebreaker
  • Announcements
  • Lesson
  • PODz (small groups)
  • Hang Time
For over a year I have been feeling the need to change it up.  It's good to change things up and to break away from "how we usually" do things. 
Over the summer we meet at the beach on Sunday evenings for youth group.  This is a great change.  It gets us out of the building.  Puts us in a different setting. 

This summer we changed even how we do youth group at the beach.  After about an hour or so of swimming and hanging out we get the students together make any necessary announcements then they immediately break up into PODz.  No lesson/message/devotional.  We just go to the small groups.  Each students was given a Rootworks workbook at the beginning of the summer.  They do a chapter a week and then discuss that with their POD. (this has allowed me to work ahead in planning and preparation for the next series we do together)  The goal was also to instill in the students the habit of spending time studying God's Word.

In the fall when we return to The Loft we will be changing up the "look" or layout of our weekly youth group gathering.  We will still have an icebreaker to start things off but we are going to move into some worship time in music.  This isn't something we did every week before.  Last year we did msuic once every couple of months.  There will be a message mixed into the music time.  Changing up the layout each week trying to work the songs and message together hopefully incorporating some video in the mix.  We won't do PODz each week like we have done in the past.  We will follow our worship gathering with an hour of Hang Time.

The great thing about the PODz was the YM team had an opportunity to connect with students individually.  So our team will have to step it up and connect during Hang Time, check on their students and follow up with them. 

We will do this layout for about 5 weeks then on the 6th week have our gathering be totally POD time and students and leaders will discuss the previous 5 week series.  To help with this students will get a booklet at the beginning of each series with the fill in the blank outlines for the  whole series, 3 personal quiet time devotions for each week, a prayer journal and a place to list "5 friends I'm praying for".

The next week will be totally focused on outreach.  Hopefully our students will have been praying for 5 friends for 6 weeks and will invite/bring them on outreach night.  No music, simply present the gospel and an opportunity to respond.  Connect with the guests during the extended Hang Time and of course some sort of "big" food that night. (teens really like to eat)

Our Goals for this new school year will be:
Connect - YM leaders connecting with students and investing in their lives.  Students connecting with friends who need Jesus Christ.
Challenge - Challenge students (and leaders) to grow in their faith.  To create the habits necessary to move them to the next level in their faith walk and relationship with Jesus Christ.
Inspire - Inspire students to share their faith with their friends and to bring friends with them to youth group.
Equip - Equip students to serve each other by allowing them opportunities to serve during youth group each week.

I'm excited to see what God is going to do within our youth group!  I have been serving at NHC since 2001 the thought of these changes gives me the same excitement and feeling I had when I arrived at NHC years ago.  So maybe if you have been in the same church for a few years and you think it's time to move on perhaps you just need to change things up.  (I had no thoughts of moving on.  I was just thinking out loud)

What will you do differently in your youth ministry than you did last year?

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