You have an ally in your youth ministry; one that most youth workers fail to recognize or leverage. It’s an ally that shows up unexpectedly at some times and has to be created at others. And fall seems to be it’s favorite season. I’m talking about momentum. I’m always pleasantly surprised by what a little well-timed momentum can accomplish in our youth ministry! Because the fall and the start of a new school year is such an exciting time, it’s the perfect opportunity create a little extra boost of momentum. Here are four ideas that may help create a little extra momentum this fall.
Every year about a week after school starts (but you could literally time this with the official start of fall), we host our annual “Fall Kick-off Weekend” (our large group gathering happens on the weekend). At Fall Kick-off we pull out all the stops and send a message to our students that although summer is over, the action is just beginning! We leverage the fact that 9th graders are excited to be in high school and 7th graders are thrilled to finally be in the youth group. We launch a brand new series, that is both designed to get students excited about the upcoming school year as well as attractive to un-churched teenagers. We decorate the room, unveil new ministry logos and swag, and create an atmosphere that says, “We are super excited about the new school year and hope you are, too!”
SMALL GROUPS LAUNCH
If you run your small groups year-round, I’d like to encourage you to re-think that strategy. We cancel our small groups during the summer months for two strategic reasons: It gives our small group leaders a much-needed break, AND it creates a longing for their re-launch every fall! The re-launching of our small groups each fall creates a massive amount of momentum for our ministry. It really is a win/win scenario because it forces us to shake things up during the summer months while simultaneously building anticipation for the fall.
Because football is the most popular spectator sport in the country (yes, bigger than NASCAR and Cricket!), it makes sense to use it to the benefit of your ministry instead of competing against it. And the bigger the high school football scene is in your community, the more this makes sense! Some ideas we’ve incorporated over the years:
- Monday Night Football in the Youth Center: We barbeque and watch the game together
- 5th Quarter: Students are invited to church after the Friday night High School game for a safe place to hang out. I’ve seen 5th Quarters that are very simple and mellow and others that are massive outreach events.
- Tailgate Giveaways: For a couple of years, our high school ministry made an appearance at a different football game each week and gave away free tailgate goodies like hot-dogs, air horns, etc.
I purposely saved the best for last! The fall is a fantastic time to unleash a fresh crop of caring adults. As much as I love events and activities, those aren’t the sign of a healthy youth ministry. Adults building relationships with teenagers is! A well-trained, empowered team of volunteers will create healthy momentum that will sustain your ministry this fall and far beyond!
What other ideas do you have for building momentum this fall?