Question-300x300As summer is quickly coming to an end and fall is quickly approaching, I like to think about how the events or programs I oversee can be better. I also like to brainstorm new ones. My goal is to learn from my failures with summer events, so I don’t repeat them in the fall. Through failure I’ve grown to love the planning process a lot more. Here are 7 questions I ask myself based off of events/programs that I didn’t think all the way through.

  1. What’s the purpose of the event/program? – Knowing the purpose of the event I’m planning helps me gauge my target audience. Not every student will want to come to a worship event or discipleship event. Knowing the purpose allows me to go all out on promotion that is specifically created with the purpose of the event in mind.  My goal is to reach those I’ve identified as my potential taget.
  2. Will students want to come? –  I have to be careful that I don’t plan something based on my own preference but I plan something that will be great and fun for students. I’ve pulled core students in on the planning just to get their perspective on an event or program.
  3. Is there opportunity for building relationships? – I think of this question in terms of student to student or leader to student. Of course there will be both going on but being intentional about which one best fits the event takes the event to the next level.  A lot of times I push students to our events so they can get connected, so I have to think about that during the planning process.
  4. Is there follow-up or next steps needed? – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed the opportunity to challenge students to take the next step or follow-up with them because I didn’t think it through beforehand. I’ve been thinking about helping students follow-up with friends that they bring to events. This is definitely a question you want to ask yourself.
  5. Should it cost and is it the right amount? - I’m always thinking is there a way not to charge. Sometimes it’s doable, like the park day we do where we provide lunch, but this is not always the case. Some events or programs have no budget and students have to pay, which is ok, as long as it’s the right price point which has been thought through. Parents will definitely appreciate this step.
  6. Where can we cut cost? – Again I’m thinking about budget and parents. Budget money is coming from people who believe in the God given mission of the church. I definitely want to care about where their money is going. So where can we save money is the question.
  7. How can we help students invite their friends? – Students are connected non-stop with their friends through social media and text. We’ve had great success using these mediums to help them invite their friends.  The goal is to be as creative as you can be.  If you’re not that creative get some of your students to help you.  They will love it and you will have potentially started a new ministry.

Now, I know there are more than just seven questions, so what else can we think about in the planning process to make it the best event/program ever?  Would love to hear your thoughts!!!

hope it helps

ac

summer-events-all

Summer is right around the corner, and that means we’ve got summer interns coming in hot!

I’m thrilled to add them to our student ministry team – each of them is “home grown” – the only summer interns we bring in are former students in our ministry who are ready to come back as leaders. We do offer longer internships for outsiders (if you or someone you know is interested, let me know!).

So what am I hoping our summer interns get out of this summer?

Watch
Enjoy the first month. Work hard. Do everything that is assigned. Get to know the team. Get to know students. Highly relational boss. Be above nothing. Laugh and learned a lot. Begin to wonder why people think youth ministry is so hard.

Partner
Co-lead an event. Co-teach a Bible study. Co-plan a trip. Work directly with a supervisor/mentor to understand the ins and outs of everything there is to do in youth ministry. Begin to understand the full scope of serving students.

Lead
Your turn. Lead the team. You shoot and edit the video. Run something from start to finish. Pull it off. Backup as needed, encouragement all the way, but it is yours to lead! Begin to feel the weight of leading a ministry and the pressures that comes with it. Also begins to understand the depth of fulfillment when following God’s call.

So pumped about this summer!

JG



This summer of ministry has been incredible! There have been some incredible highs and some … great learnings for us as well. So picking a few favorite moments has been incredibly difficult but thought I would take a crack at it. Here are a few of my top moments in ministry this past summer:

Having Pastor Rick at Midweek
Midweek for the past 3 years has worked incredibly well for us. In the summer we pause small groups to let host homes and leaders recover before they re-up for the next season. In place of Life Groups we run a 7-8 week summer series called Midweek. This year we had Rick Warren come and teach one of the nights – it was incredibly fun and powerful way to start the summer. My favorite moment that night was gathering around him and laying hands on him as a student ministry and praying for God to bless him, to give him wise leadership and to grow his faith.

HSM Summer Camp
The gang over at Christ in Youth (aka CIY) did an amazing helping us pull off our Summer Camp this year. I love the environment of camp, the energy, the passion, the decisions, the baptisms. Summer Camp works SO well for us – it is a huge platform for our leaders to relationally minister to students, it forms new small groups, it connects incoming freshman. Simply incredible all the way around.

Guys Trip
We brought back this event from forever ago called Guys Trip – we took a smaller group of students up into the mountains for some total dude time. I wrote quite a bit about it here, but in general terms it was one of the most original and fun couple of days all summer. There’s something special about getting away with the guys and no distractions (read: cell phones and girls).

Working with Summer Interns
I love summer interns! This year we had 5 of the most incredible interns that made me smile all summer long. They are great youth workers, awesome friends and worked incredibly hard. I think learned a TON this summer, I certainly learned from them as well.

How about you – what were your highlights of summer 2012?

JG

Our student ministry band kids (Cluster of Students) made a fun backwards countdown video for our children’s ministry Sector 5 Summer Event. Pretty clever stuff, especially the beginning and ending. If you notice, most people are walking backwards (because everything is reversed) but a few people are in on the joke and do things in reverse. So simple yet creative and fun – love it!

JG



Kurt did a brilliant job of teaching an “after camp” message during our summer Midweek series in HSM. It was one of his best talks I’ve ever heard about coming back after the camp high into the real world. The video above has a few clips from it – thought you might like to hear some of it as well!

JG

HSM’s Guys Trip 2012

Josh Griffin —  August 20, 2012 — 13 Comments

Years ago HSM used to have the tradition of a “guys-only” trip filled with adventure and wonder. The summer it was time to bring it back! And while the girls ran a parallel trip but with painted nails, ocean views and fancy dinners – the guys trip took a slightly different route. And while much of what happened up there has been sworn to secrecy, here are a few of the highlights of our amazing overnighter in the mountains:

  • The Log Cabin Mansion (sleeps 30)
  • Since there was 50 of us, we shot BB guns at a target to see who got a bed
  • All-U-Can-MEAT (17 different kinds/cuts of meat, it’s whats for dinner)
  • Wilke Waffle Extravaganza
  • Gladiator ring w 3/events
  • 4-mile hike to the start of the hiking trail hike
  • devotion on Samson
  • quite time in the morning for everyone to spend time with God
  • Midnight capture the flag
  • Opening speeches on Why America is the Greatest Nation of All (alternate topic: Why America Dominates Everyone Else)
  • Medal ceremony – 10 medals for various reasons (courage, purple heart, fearless, going to bed early like a sissy)
  • NERF SWAT missions to kill the VIP
  • Xbox 360s linked with Halo
  • Every kind of Pringles, every kind of beef jerky
  • 11 boxes of Pop Tarts and an unlimited refillable snack bar with 10 different options

Here’s some of the promo we used to get students to sign up:

“The wolves howl at the bright moon as they rip into the freshly killed caribou. The pack lowers their heads in submission as Kodar, the Alpha male, pads softly forward to claim the still-beating heart, his by right. He devours it quickly. The wolves howl their approval and continue their feast. It is a good night.”

What does this have to do with Guys Trip? If you have to ask yourself that question then you shouldn’t be going. Guys Trip is THE overnight right-of-passage journey into manhood that you have felt the longing for in your soul. Join us, if you dare, as we head to the mountains to live off the land, eat nothing but meat, embrace adventure, and develop much needed skills to survive. The limit is 50 men. So sign up now.

It will be a trip long-remembered!

JG



We had no idea if this event was going to work or not!

We had a 9-12th grade car show a few weeks ago and received a great response. We invited teen drivers to bring their cars to the church and non-drivers to hang out. We had car-related giveaways (car fresheners, detail kits, vacuum, etc.) and held parallel parking competitions, regular parking competition, and a cleanest car competition.

We didn’t give a message or offer an altar call, but we did connect the teens to our awesome volunteers.  1 Corinthians 10:31 (“Whatever you do”=Drive) could be used for a short devotional.  I was not a slow driver as a teenager, so I shared about my experience with speeding and tickets.  I then encouraged them to drive carefully and responsibly.

COMPETITIONS
Cleanest Car, Loudest Exhaust, Best/Loudest System, Parallel Parking, “Regular” parking, Drag Races vs. Church Van (Youth Pastor’s Dream)

GIVEAWAYS
Air fresheners, Detail gift certificate from local dealership, Roll(s) of quarters for car wash, Steering wheel covers, Vacuum, Windshield Washer fluid, Gas gift certificates

OTHER
If one of your teens’ dad or other relative has a cool car, ask them to bring it.  We wanted to keep this a teen-focused show, but you could invite a local car dealership (or a car salesman in the church) to bring a few cool cars.

Not many people thought that this idea would work.  “No one will bring their car” or “Why would anyone come to that?” are things I heard enough times to make me want to eat a cat.  The car show turned out to be the best event we did all summer.

Did you try anything this summer that totally crushed or totally bombed?

Andrew Brashaw is a youth pastor of 8+ years in New Lothrop, MI.  He doesn’t blog or own an iPhone, but he does Twitter once a month @andrewbrashaw.

The amazing summer intern Cory Tomlinson sent along each of our games from summer camp to share with you. Our students got SO into the games and had a total blast. Enjoy!

Octopuzzle

Supplies:
1. Tiles (Puzzle Pieces) That Spell Out HSM

Directions:

1. Separate Into 2 Teams
2. Have each person on the team link arms together
3. Have the team move their line into the pool
4. While staying linked, have the person closest to the deep end dive down to pick up the tiles (puzzle pieces)
5. Pass the puzzle piece down the line towards the outside of the pool making sure arms stay linked together
6. Repeat step 5 until all pieces are out of the pool
7. Have the entire team stay linked and move out of the pool
8. Put puzzle together

Kneelay Race

Supplies:
1. Dixie Cups
2. 2 Sparkling Cider Bottles
3. Home Depot Buckets
4. Water

Directions:

1. Have teams line up into 2 lines (1 line per team)
2. Have person going first wait on their knees (do this every time someone gets ready to go)
3. Hand student Dixie cup and have them fill it up with water in the home depot water bucket
4. That student races on their knees to the sparkling cider bottle and once there fill the bottle with the water from the cup
5. Once poured that student runs back to their line to high five the next person to go.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until Sparkling cider bottle is filled up to the line with water
7. First team done wins

Sponge Bowling

Supplies:
1. 2 Liter Soda Bottles
2. 4 Carwash Sponges
3. 2 Home Depot 5 Gal. Buckets
4. 8 Frisbees
5. Water

Directions:

1. Line up using an even number of students for every team. (as many students as possible, as long as it’s an even number).
2. Have two students set aside to throw the Frisbees.
3. Start with a sponge in the bucket
4. The person next to the bucket will fill up the sponge with water.
5. Then carefully pass the sponges down the line to get the water into the 2 liter bottles.
6. Fill each bottle to the designated line.
7. Once all of the bottles are filled to the lines, have everyone return to behind the line.
8. Have the two throwers starts throwing the Frisbees to knock down the 2 liter bottles.
9. If they do not knock all of the bottles down within four throws, the throwers are the ONLY ones who may go retrieve the Frisbees.
10. First team to knock down all of their “pins” wins.

Stomp the Yard

Supplies:
1. Balloons
2. Ribbon

Directions:

1. Put one team on each side of the tennis court
2. Have each team pick 30 people that will play the game
3. Have the people not playing the game blow up 1 balloon for each person playing and tie it to the ankle of someone who is playing.
4. Once all of the players have balloons tied to them have the people not playing sit down until points are awarded.
5. First team to get step 3/ step 4 done wins the first round of the game.
6. From there, all of the people with the balloons on their ankles will proceed to the court.
7. Half of each team must be on both sides of the net.
8. Once everyone is situated then the whistle will be blown.
9. When the whistle is blown then every player’s goal is to pop the balloon on someone’s ankle from the opposing team.
10. The last team standing will be awarded the final set of points.

Batter Up

Supplies:
1. Bases
2. Whiffle Balls
3. Caution Tape

Directions:

1. One team is in the outfield while the other is up to bat.
2. The pitcher will throw the ball and once the batter hits the ball to the field the field people must try to catch it.
3. Once an outfielder has the ball they MUST FREEZE where they are.
4. Once they are frozen FIFTEEN people from the team out in the field must run over and line up behind the player that caught the ball.
5. While they are trying to line up the hitter must run from home base to home base.
6. If the hitter can get back to home before the opposing team lines up 15 team members then they get the points, if the outfield team gets lines up first then they win the points.

Slip-Ball

Supplies:
1. Slip N’ Slide Tarp
2. Baby Soap
3. Baby Oil
4. Kickball
5. Bases (Baby Pools)

Directions: (It’s a game of kickball on a slip and slide)

1. Have one team in the outfield and one team up to kick.
2. Have the pitcher roll the ball and the kicker kick.
3. If the person up to kick kicks the ball, they should start running the bases.
4. If the ball is caught the kicker is out.
5. Continue cycle until there are three outs then switch who is kicking and who is pitching.
6. Continue for two rounds per team.

Hope they help or inspire you in creating some great games, too!

JG