A few months ago we talked about our first steps in helping our students develop a more Sticky Faith. We interviewed Kara Powell about how to help students have a faith that lasts beyond graduation and how churches are working to build communities that are integrated to a degree but still have effective age-specific ministries as well. If you missed the interview please check it out right here.

The second half of that week we talked about what our church was introducing that very week: Worship Together Weekends. The plan was to cancel youth services once a month in order to encourage families to attend the adult worship services together. The hope was that exposing our teenagers to the larger church experience at Saddleback would help them feel like part of the overall church family, not just part of the youth group.

We’ve been getting a ton of questions about it and many have asked for an update, so here we go!

So far, so good!
The first several weeks of Worship Together have been really great—by cancelling youth services the first weekend we actually also happened to coincide with several holidays (July 4th, Labor Day, etc.) so having the joint services was helpful on the lower-attended weekends anyhow. The real test is probably still coming soon, but it has been great so far.

We have a student section.
Yes, we have a section that is specifically designed for students—but we encourage students to sit with their families and friends first before heading there. Some choose to be there and our student ministry team is very present at all services that weekend, meeting parents, greeting, or on stage for announcements or welcome.

No momentum has been lost.
You would think that cancelling youth group once a month would kill momentum, but we haven’t had adverse affects yet. We communicate with texting and Facebook almost exclusively with our students so they know exactly what’s happening each weekend if we’re on or off. Hasn’t been confusing at all, which is a slight miracle.

So where will we go from here? We committed to a one-year experiment, and so far it seems like everybody is pleased with the results, and we’re excited to hear about other churches that are experimenting with new ideas to help students STICK!

Are you trying new things to develop Sticky Faith in your students?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Summer Idea Lab

Josh Griffin —  June 11, 2012 — 5 Comments

Summer is a great time to try new things…and that’s what we’re doing! Here are a few things we’re kicking off in this next season that might inspire you to try something new as well. Share what you’re excited about in the comments, too!

Worship Together Weekends
Starting in July we’re going to cancel our “youth group” services and worship as a whole church—young and old. Our pastor is going to do his best to address students in his message, and the various other service elements are going to be designed to include or at least acknowledge the whole church worshiping as one.

We’re so excited about this change in our church, because in our setting it doesn’t happen naturally. Chances are your church could use a little “inter-generational kick in the pants,” too. Summer is a great time to something a try.

Youth Ministry Instagram Account
We just created an Instagram account for our student ministry—fun pictures taken on the spot at summer events or up at camp will instantly be shared with parents and other students. We’ll have them dropped onto our Facebook page as well. A simple, fun way to instantly connect with people who aren’t on the trip or waiting for word back home.

Prayer Walk at High Schools
This past weekend our student leaders organized a prayer walk at the main high schools represented in our youth group. The idea was simple but effective—kind of like a “See You at the Pole” but we didn’t want to wait until the fall. So we met at the flagpole, prayed together and then walked through the campus (empty since it was on a weekend) and prayed for the students, teachers, and staff that are represented in each area you walk. Football field: Pray for the athletes.

Walk by the school office? Pray for the principal, etc. Then after about a half hour everyone met up for food at a local fast-food joint, too. So fun! In the summer, you could pick the most convenient day of the week for your group.

So there are a few ideas from us—look for a handful more tomorrow as well! What new ideas are you most excited about this summer?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.