Below are a handful things that used to be normal practice in youth ministry, that now seem almost obsolete. But I think some of the stuff from yesteryear still works. In fact, reaching into the archives once in a while is actually a great way to freshen things up. Here are a few Old Skool things I think are worth working into your rotation:
- Hand-written Notes: This one is tough for me. I don’t like to write by hand (partly because I’m a lefty and the constant smudging of ink bugs the crap out of me….) and rarely take the time. But I’ve recently (re)started hand writing birthday cards to folks on my team, and I’ve been shocked at the response. In a day when it’s easier, and socially normal, to simply toss up a “happy birthday!” comment on facebook, taking the time to write out a card is seen as going above and beyond. What used to be normal is now considered “extra”.
- Make a Phone Call: These days most youth ministries have most of the following: A website, a facebook page, a twitter account, an instagram account, and a mass text message service. The result? There is rarely a need to actually put our $400 phones up to our mouths and ears (which will, I suppose, help us avoid brain tumors)! This week, freak a junior higher or volunteer out and actually call them on their phone. The voice-voice reminder or word of encouragement…to them as an individual instead of as part of the group, will both confuse and delight them.
- Hold An 80’s Event: I’m not talking about an 80’s themed party…but rather doing an activity or event that was popular in youth ministry way back in the 80’s (or 90’s…or 00’s). We have “shelved” a lot of really cool youth ministry stuff simply because their time has passed or because we somehow feel like youth ministry has evolved beyond some of these things. Here are some ideas: An old skool car rally, a polaroid camera scavenger hunt, door-to-door Christmas caroling, roller skating at an actual roller rink…..
Somebody wiser than all of us once said, “There’s nothing new under the sun”. So much of the “new” aspects of our ministry to junior highers is really just a twist or addition to older stuff. In other words, we have built better junior high ministry mousetraps. I propose that every now and then we go back to the old skool mouse traps….they worked pretty well to start with!
What “Old Skool” youth ministry strategy/skill/event/practice would you add? Share it in the comments!
P.S. The best (and true) story of an old skool event gone bad wins a prize!