This is a big week for Jimmy Fallon – between taking on the Tonight Show and all the press that’s involved with it.
Critics will be waiting to pounce on him, eager to summarize if he “nails it” or “fails it.”
There will be a lot of leadership lessons for you as you watch it all unfold. As you think about it, share any learning curves you’ve already observed about it (or circle back here throughout the week as you pick up on some more). For example, some people have already made up their mind that “no one will ever compare to Leno.” Have you ever faced that in life, your career or in a ministry as you took over from your successor?
Meanwhile, enjoy this fun riffing that Jimmy and his crew offer on their different church experiences growing up. This dates back to 2011 when Kirk Franklin was to be a guest and Jimmy’s house band The Roots started to play some “Gospel music” with a nod to their understanding of church.
To be clear, I wasn’t actually watching it. It was on in the background.
Nonetheless, it was what it was. My man card was on the line.
So I had to explain why I would never watch Olympic ice skating. (Kudos to anyone who goes into training to do it, but honestly… it just ain’t my thing. I do admire the hockey guys – little known fact: T.J. Oshie’s parents are Rocky and the Statue of Liberty.)
What it did though is get me thinking. As I kept hearing Scotty Hamilton (yes, I know who he is) say the phrase “short program” over and over again, I thought:
“What if the ‘short program’ meant you had to be under 4 feet to compete in it?”
Suddenly, the creative juices were flowing.
What if we could spice up the Winter Olympics in other ways?
Any athlete who publicly endorses Subway must publicly eat a foot-long sub seconds before their event.
All ski poles will now be old Panera baguettes.
While doing their aerobatic spins and turns in the air, snowboarders must quote lines from Seinfeld… without repeating each other.
New sport: the Polar bear dive – who can stay in the longest?
Athletes who have won previous medals must wear them all when competing, like they do in interviews.
Recruit guest commentators from closing time at the local pubs.
No laws or penalties against photo-bombing athletes on the podium during national anthems.
Make all the indoor events outdoor events, and all the outdoor events indoor events.
Bobsled teams are required to ditch their sled and use one of the hotel beds provided for them.
The gold medal winner is decided by callers phoning in their vote.
Reporters and TV crews aren’t allowed to just cover one sport but have to show two competitions in every shot.
Put a concession stand in the middle of the rink speed skaters skate around. Play Frogger soundtrack.
Any sport involving a gun requires participants to wear an Uncle Si “Duck Dynasty” beard.
If the weather is bad, give athletes the option to play an X-Box version of their sport instead.
Provide a highly-caffeinated goalie during Curling… which actually makes more sense than Curling.
For one whole week, only eat the food products that are endorsed by Olympians. Then complain about how you feel.
People watching at home must eat a piece of chocolate whenever they hear a name they could never pronounce, even if they took a Rosetta Stone class to try.
Have Joan Rivers stop athletes on the way in to ask them what they’re wearing.
Require all athletes to take a selfie while performing their sport.
Plant Mr. T and Samuel L. Jackson at the key spot of a snowboarding run. Have them start arguing really loud about tacos, just as each athlete goes up in the air for their big move.
Send a memo to all the athletes before they compete to share how there won’t be any awards given away today. It would read: “Isn’t it best to just know that you’re the greatest in your heart instead of getting a medal?”
When it comes to taking kids to fun places, you might try to “sell” the idea from time to time.
This is usually when you’ll talk about something “amazing” that the kids will get the chance to take part in. For example, maybe you’ll mention a huge roller coaster at the amusement park you’ll be visiting. Perhaps you’ll do what I heard one youth group did – the leaders would regularly dare each other and students at a yearly summer camp to jump off a local cliff and fall 50 feet into some water below.
In retrospect, have there been times where you’ve pumped up the danger a bit? Or in contrast, have you always kept everything safe beyond any measure of risk? I’ve found both can backfire, from kids who think church is too “vanilla” to other students who feel “less than the others” because they didn’t want to take part in something that was beyond their limits.
For example, check out this video of a water slide – any thoughts on if the positives or negatives of planning a trip that hypes this up?
When is it appropriate to involve an element of dangerous fun in your youth ministry?
We’ve all probably heard stories where this went wrong and kids were legitimately hurt through an experience. What about the emotional damage we may not see – where a kid feels lame because they didn’t get up on a high ropes course like the rest of the youth group.
What’s the difference between appropriate fun… and hazing?
By “T.P.” I don’t mean let’s show up in Columbus, Ohio and throw toilet papers at their Enterprise rental cars (because as youth workers we have to use the ghetto cheap car companies that no one has ever heard of).
I mean let’s “Twitter Plunder” the #KidMin13 feed.
I’m talking some appropriately snarky posts that are the equivalent of when someone T.P.’s your house… full of love, but also some playful jabs.
For example, you could randomly post these throughout the weekend:
“At #KidMin13. I heard @OfficialPetra is signing autographs. Anyone know where?”
“A little help? Looking for the closest Starbucks. #KidMin13″
“MY FLIGHT IS DELAYED! PLEASE TELL SOMEONE AT THE #KIDMIN13 MAIN STAGE NOT TO START YET!”
“Found a small piece of feather in the hair of the woman at registration. Picked it out. She said to put it back. #KidMin13″
“Still haven’t found a Starbucks. Anyone know where there’s a Dunkin Donuts? #KidMin13″
“I’m all for creative object lessons, but why are there radial saw blades on the chairs in the main room? #KidMin13″
“Just met a children’s worker from France who spit in my face. Somehow it still felt romantic. #KidMin13″
“People… I need coffee. Is there a Panera Bread anywhere? An overpriced Italian Bistro? I have the church credit card. #KidMin13″
“The worship leader has us doing VBS motions for every song. This is the best day of my life! #KidMin13″
“Need to go to the bathroom… are we supposed to raise our hands first? Can I just go? #KidMin13″
“I… NEED… CAFFEINE…. NOW… NOW…. NOW…. #KidMin13″
“About to attend ‘How To Run A Non-Halloween Halloween Event’ then ‘Ways to Avoid a Background Check When You REALLY Need Volunteers’ #KidMin13″
“Won the Sword Drill! Got a bouncy ball! And a light-up bracelet! And Strawberry Starburst! And Chinese Finger Traps! #KidMin13″
“Who is this ‘Bob the Tomato?’ #KidMin13″
“Met a woman who has been doing children’s ministry for 4,926 years. #inspiring #KidMin13″
“Smuggled Mr. Muggles into my hotel room. Yay! #Ilovecats #ClapClapClap #KidMin13″
“Totally blown away with new perspective. Going home and installing white carpet in all the kids rooms at the church. #KidMin13″
Back in my single days, I certainly had my share of cheesy pick-up lines. They ranged from flattering things I heard in songs (“Heaven must be missing an angel ’cause you’re here with me right now.”) to quick blurbs inspired by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (“Girl, if you was gravy I would sop you up with a biscuit!”)
(I didn’t say they actually worked.)
I’m sure you’ve noticed that being a Christian creates its own subculture of references and “isms.” I wonder if you’ve ever heard or said something as ridiculous as this when hormones meet the holy:
“I read the Bible daily. My favorite book is Numbers. Speaking of numbers, can I have yours?”
“My spiritual gifts are prophecy and discernment, which means I have a double-revelation that God wants us together.”
“Would you like to get into the Word with me? Great. This is my car, and I call it ‘Word’ Where to?”
“My multiple e-Bibles take up 85% of my iPod memory. I’ll let some love songs about you have the other 15%.”
“Girl/Boy, you are so unblemished that I would sacrifice you.”
“You make me want to be a better tither.”
“I’m here on a mission trip. But if we can’t be together, I’ll be mission you.”
“I’m praying for you. Not just for you, but ***FOR*** you.”