Six months ago, we broke new ground at Saddleback in our attempt to help our students develop a Sticky Faith. We introduced the idea of what we call Worship Together Weekends, where we cancel our youth group program once a month and encourage families to attend the adult worship service together. I wrote all about it here.
Tomorrow I’m giving a little 6-month update to our executive team about our learnings, etc. and figured some of you might be interested as well. I haven’t put together the formal presentation yet so these are just some bullet-point thoughts that I’m sure will find their way into it:
Overall, I would grade Worship Together Weekend (WTW) as a success. Not a massive success…and there is still work for us to do, but it has been successful. A few reasons:
– On average, 73% of our teenagers are attending church on WTW.
– Out of a couple thousand families of teenagers, our youth offices have had three negative phone calls, emails etc. from parents. Certainly there are concerned parents who haven’t reached out….but only THREE?
– To the contrary we have had lots and lots and lots of parents pull us aside during WTW and share how much they love the idea…even if their teenager doesn’t!
– Our team has had numerous conversations with teenagers who have grown up at Saddleback and have stated that until WTW began they had never stepped foot in the worship center.
– These weekends (for the most part) feel fairly intergenerational. Students are helping lead worship, are featured in the announcement videos, etc.
Some areas we can improve:
– The majority of our students haven’t bought into the concept. In our youth gatherings, when we announce that WTW is coming next weekend, there is palpable sense that we just sucked the fun out of the room!
– Our adult weekend speakers, for the most part, have not done a good job of acknowledging the presence of the students in their messages. They typically greet the youth group in their intro…then proceed to preach a completely adult-centric message.
– We need to message and brand the weekends more effectively and consistently. They are becoming routine (in a good way) but still don’t feel like a vital part of Saddleback’s DNA.
We aren’t there yet….we have a long road ahead of us….and I’m not married to the WTW experiment. What I am married to, however, is the desire to help or teenagers feel more and more like highly valued, highly important members of our church family.
I’m going to let Josh Griffin know about this post and ask him to either add his thoughts in the comments or write his own post at morethandodgeball.com