Creative ideas, thoughts, mind wanderings for youth services, events, meetings, cell groups..
BIG FILM NIGHT
We hired a video projector, got a big screen set up in a room, got the sofas in from the 'youth room' then set up the PA via the mixer with speakers at the front and the back and showed Lord of the Rings so it was a kind of cinematic experience. Of course, if you've got a home entertainment system with surround sound, you could always use that!
WRITE A SCRIPT - click here for more
Both this idea and the next require some time and probably someone with non-linear video skills (ie. software) - go visit my making movies page for more.
This time it was a review of our mission to Lithuania, starring only the youth leaders. We replayed the 2 weeks and the significant incidents (Lithuanian food, Lithuanian dancing, singing in a Lithuanian church etc) as if it was a video from the Lithuanian tourist industry - the film was deliberately given a sepia/brown colour to make it look old, and Lithuanian music was also added. It was very funny.
If you can't manage something on this scale or don't have these skills, you can still make some fun movies, acting out scenes and just replay them using a camcorder (which you connect up to your video player).
Kind of fun this. There is an advert for the Peugeot 307 where a man looks at a picture of a Peugeot 307 then smashes his car up to make it look cool, like a Peugeot 307. He then drives and shows it off.
Our remake was to have a picture of a Porsche then to mimic smashing up noises etc. of a car, welding noises etc. (sample these sounds or do a search on the internet for them). We then showed us proudly displaying our 'amazingly cool' new car, only to reveal it was a dirty old Citroen ZX. We've done others. What other adverts could you remake?
AUSSIE NIGHT - (click here for the rest)
With one of our young people heading back to Aus to visit family and have a year out, we put together an Aussie night.. there's an Australian shaped cake, various assorted 'teddies' of koala bears, kangaroos etc. There's chairs, tables, the TV all upside down..
We also had the Kangaroo egg and spoon game, similar to the original egg and spoon game except the candidates had to hop. Out of 6 eggs, 1 wasn't hard-boiled. They didn't know which one. Our Aussie friend decided the best way to win was to eat the egg! There was also the upside down game. 10 people all together (in pairs). 5 people stand on chairs with 5 people below them. The 5 above have to drop sweets into their mouths from above - be careful - we used large sweets that they couldn't choke on. I take no responsibility here..
Have a play dough time - or use that stuff that you can put in an oven and harden - Fymo(?) Get creative - it can be fun!
Another popular one. I thought the young people would think it a bit sad but no, they didn't want to stop. I thought they were grown-up? Like me? I was painting too. No budding artists but lot's of expressions of worship. They even want to do it again?!? Tables covered in paper, water pots, water paints, paper and brushes
THEME AN EVENT
We did an event around Autumn and sprinkled leaves everywhere round the church. We tried to debug the leaves first but hey, a few spiders here and there adds to the realism. We also used cargo/army netting. Might be difficult to do if your theme is winter.. Still, at Christmas we used lights..
USE THE SIMPSONS
Always a popular one. And believe me, if you want to come up with a point you'll find a Simpsons clip to match it (click here for some suggestions). Be careful to watch it before - some have swearing, lewd comments etc.
HAVE A NIGHT WITH LOTS TO DO
Have a meeting with different things to do in the room - cooking, drawing, poetry, drama, games, who knows what else - what do your young people like? Anything?
Use a CD if your band sound like a screeching cat. Use the band anyway - it's often better than some of the worship you normally get. We use non-Christians sometimes as it gives them an opportunity to find out more about Jesus. Empower your crew - who cares what they sound like!
GET GUEST SPEAKERS
We've had speakers from Chinese Mission, Eastern Europe, local missionaries, other youth leaders you know (do a swap i.e. you take their group if they take yours). Be creative
GO DOWN TO THE BEACH/PARK/HILL
We did a service down at the beach (only 12 miles away). It was great although I lost sensation in my fingers playing the guitar due to the fact it was January and was below freezing. Plus they ate all my chocolate..
USE YOUR COMPUTER
HAVE A THEMED NIGHT
Murder mystery nights are good - you can buy a game but check it out first (content can be very offensive and rude!) and you'll probably need to chop it for length. Other nights are good - 70s night, popstar night, religious night, posh night etc.
GET COTTON SHEETS AND DYE THEM
Get the dye from DIY/hardware stores and some fixer and get the sheets in the dye (add water etc!) for some great effects. We've got around 25 blue-y sheets where we used black dye in a small metal bucket and created some great effects. It really makes a difference to a naff room - use masking tape etc, to fix to walls, put on tables etc. Ask people in the church for the sheets
We've done prayer tapes. Go round people in church who run certain activities, get a minidisc player (or similar) and a mic and start recording. Give people the questions in advance, make sure it's clear then put it on tape/CD and get people praying. Hey, get the young people involved - you can nick their minidisc player for starters!!!
Get images relating to your talk or meeting and use 'em. Get a slide projector, TV, video projector and flash up images as part of your presentation. When we first did this in 97 it was real basic - an old slide machine (that sadly died) with some terrible images. We also got photos off the internet, printed them on inkjet OHPs and flashed them up on the OHP while reading over dance music in the background. Hardly revolutionary but it worked
For people if you can't afford or find any decent ones. Make them specific to your group. They can be encouragement, help, guidance etc.
What about giving all the young people a contact card with a list of all the names and numbers of youth leaders on. In an emergency it could prove useful. Do them business card size. Get the leaders permission first!!!
This is great. Look in Yellow Pages for inflatables and get them in. You should be able to get a good deal.
How do you fancy getting a load of sand and transforming your house into a beach for the night? We did. Well, the house was rented. Get some plastic sheets on the floor, get rid of some furniture and get down the beach for some sand. Remember IT IS ILLEGAL to take sand from the beach so get some that's been blown onto the road or beyond the beach. Get it back and lay it down in the house on the sheets. Get everyone to get their best beach wear too! We did this for New Year's Eve and did an all-nighter. Driving kids home New Year's Day was an interesting experience!!
AWAY DAYS - click here for more
Can't do a weekend away for one reason or another? Why not go somewhere for the day on a Saturday? Take a specific group - a cell group or young leaders and just spend some time building them up
Of what you do, where you went, contact numbers, names, events etc. make notes of meetings with young people. Keep financial records if someone else doesn't do it for you. Keep resources, useful materials, other people's ideas - anything that may help you in the future
Young people and leaders. You need to get your kids fired up. It may sound real obvious but many youth works don't do this. Give them opportunity, train them, mentor them, encourage and rebuke them. Do this with your leaders too. I sent my leaders constant notes of encouragement or phone calls, e-cards, anything. I also kept them informed. Communication is all
Some more ideas fore you, more ideas to inspire
1. Regular socials – Thursday nights each week, or one Thursday of each month. Young people in the church? Your young people and mates? The local area? Think carefully of the consequences of any decision
2. Evangelism focus – bringing mates, have a cool youth service, or make your small groups or big groups (whatever) more non-Christian friendly so young people bring friends
3. We have a regular evening youth service at the same time as the (non-young person-friendly) evening service. At the moment we are exploring the possibility of a more media-based service (moving youth service), maybe on Sunday afternoons and aiming it at college age – 20s - 30s etc.
4. What about a café for local people on Saturdays? Staffed by church and young people?
5. What issues are facing your young people at the moment in the sense of temptation. For us, like you it's stuff around alcohol, drugs, going out to pubs and clubs under-age, Sunday jobs, week jobs, pressure of education or job, motivation for employment (to go out, greed?) and more.. what can you do to ID and support your guys through this?
6. Our desire is to see God moving in power so our message has power. Too many times the church is weak, un-loving and out of tune with the Spirit, not doing things. No wonder what the world has to offer is so much more tempting? What can you do to make a change here?
7. Start working with secular agencies (as I've said before). What about doing an event in conjunction with these local secular agencies such as the police, youth service etc, which is young person led, empowered and driven (with support) – like the ‘Jabber’ event in Manchester where young people rap, breakdance, sing r&b and other stuff?
8. Studio work – recording work – a schools band?? What are the skills, practicalities? Make a CD with the young people involved, we're doing that in Feb 2003 and it's gonna be cool.
9. A Year-Out Programme for young people at church? How will it be run? Who will be responsible? Who for? Why? When? How will the support and funding work?
10. Intercession prayer nights once a month - we're looking forward to these and believe that organically over time the church as a whole will also come on board
11. Ideas initiated from young people – have a group of young people as a creative ‘think tank’
12. Have a Lending Library. You get a responsible young person or leader (who wants the job) and they catalogue a list of resources owned by the church, youth work, leaders etc that are available. They then take calls from other young people who want to borrow these things for a set time and make the arrangements (phoning the leader with the book for example and getting them to bring it on the Sunday).