This school year I decided to split up the kick-off events for youth ministry at Hayward Wesleyan to focus exclusively on the two different groups: middle school and high school. So the Middle School Youth (msy) Kick-off was on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 from 6:30-8:30p for grades 6-8 only, and the High School Youth (hsy) Kick-off was Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 6:30p for grades 9-12 only.
This was the first year we did not do the annual Back 2 School Bash, which I have done for the last 14 years, but Loretta Sunderland did for several years before that. This was a break in tradition. I made the change because the event wasn’t pulling students back into youth like the original intent was, so I decided to focus on each group and make the “start” or the kick-off event meaningful to msy and hsy.
This is what our msy Kick-off event consisted of:
DYM (Download Youth Ministry) games have been extremely helpful and fun. We used a few of these to start the evening:
- Sit Down If: This was funny.
- Would You Rather – Back to School Edition: This went really well. We had two sides to the room and the students had to choose whether to go to one side or the other depending on what they chose they would rather do.
- Crowd Charades – Back to School Edition: This didn’t work very well. The categories were difficult for middle school students to both act out and guess.
We then played the bottle flip game. Sometime at the end of last school year (16-17), I saw a Facebook post that said teachers survived three things:
- Fidget spinners
- The dab
- Bottle flip
So I did the bottle flip with the students. I shared some donated “water” bottles that the students had to drink and determine the level they were comfortable with. Then they practiced on some tables I had setup. Then we played a couple rounds of this:
- first one of 4 students to land an upright bottle
- first one of 4 students to land an upright bottle around the back
- first one of 4 students to land an upright bottle over a crowd of students in front of the table (high land)
It’s important to have food or something special to eat for a kick-off or any fun event. Personally, I don’t care much about food, but teenagers do! This is so important! So I decided to provide ice cream sundaes for the students with ice cream, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and whip cream. The small group leaders jumped in and served up the sundaes for the students. It was awesome! The girls got sundaes first while the guys played games in the Theatre room. Then the guys got the sundaes.
Nothing is more fun at Youth group than the “talk,” right?! So right before the sundaes were served and while a few leaders were getting things ready, I shared with the students when msy started this year (6p) and ended (8:30p). I also shared the “rules” which can be summed up with one word: RESPECT.
- respect yourself
- respect others
- respect adults
- respect property
After the sundaes I wanted to introduce the leaders to the students in a fun way, so I asked the leaders to sit in a hot seat and be peppered with questions by the students. It was fun!
This was the devotional, teaching part of the night. This year in msy we are going to focus on the book of Exodus and see who God is, the story of redemption and salvation, and what God does with his people. I wanted to start the conversation on the character of God and who he is, so we focused on Exodus 34:4-7.
I asked how the students and other people viewed me and the same about God. Then we read through Exodus 34:4-7 and talked through the character of God that this section addresses (and repeats throughout the Bible).
Here is what the whiteboard looked like:
Here is what the teaching slides looked like:
So then we played a Nerf War.
Those who didn’t want to play Nerf went and hung out upfront (I wanted to give an out to those who don’t like Nerf). Most of the students stayed and played a 20-minute game of Nerf. It was awesome!
We cleaned up and closed up shop. It was a great evening!