Happy Wednesday to you! And thanks for checking in for today's Student Ministry Recap HSM Edition! My hope is to come to you every Wednesday with a report of what we did the night before with our High School Ministry (HSM). Let's get started.
Last night went really well. It was our 7th week of the season, and week 6 of our kick off series. Remember, I start here at Hickory on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015. So, we're still in the 'honeymoon period'. Nonetheless, we're already seeing awesome things happening.
For the first month, I left things the way they were. No major changes to any programming or format. I wanted to watch and learn, get to know the students, and evaluate the health and status of what was already happening. Thus far, I have been impressed by the programming, the student engagement, and the overall desire to see the student ministry grow; from both students and church leadership. The ministry is fairly healthy. While there is a lack of adult leadership for both our programs, I believe it is something that we can overcome.
But along with the good stuff there are a few things that needed to be addressed pretty quickly. So last week (the first week in October) I started addressing them in simple, yet helpful, ways.
1. Student Tracking
Keeping track of student is a super important thing. Knowing who is attending, who isn't attending, and keeping track of contact info is crucial. In his book, Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn't Last and What Your Church Can Do About It, Mark DeVries lists creating a student directory as one of the most important building blocks for a student ministry. So last week we had each student complete a contact card and sign in on a weekly sign in sheet. I have always used both methods when developing a database and tracking weekly attendance. I was thrilled last night when most of the student signed in without having to be asked or reminded!
2. Creating a Welcome Area
Although we do not have student led ministry teams yet, I wanted to start introducing a few elements to the students as a way of planting seeds for the future. Last week, I threw together a simple welcome table with the contact cards, sign in, fliers and promotion material, and of course a basket of candy. We will be adding more in the way of bulletin boards, lighting, and fresh promotional materials and free take home gifts.
Those two things aside, the rest of the night was really great. Here's a quick run down.
7:00 to 7:45 - Open gym.
We played a simple game of kickball. Yes, high schoolers still play kickball!
7:45 to 8:00 - Snack and Transition. We used this time to move from the open gym game to our regular programming in the youth room.
8:00 - Welcome and Announcements.
- The BiG NIGHT OUT, upcoming trip to a local restaurant for their 'wing night'.
- Parent Meeting Reminder
- The HSM Scavenger Hunt for Food, where the HSM partners with the Deacons to collect food for the holiday seasons, and pass it along to those who need a little help.
8:15 - Game Time.
- We broke out the "Minute to Win It" box and played 'Tilt-A-Cup'
8:20 - Message Time.
- This being week six (the final night) of our series, What Matters Most to God?, we talked about the importance of loving our neighbor. Altogether the six weeks covered what will eventually become our three ministry purposes; that we love God (Worship), that we love Jesus (Discipleship), and that we love others (Service). (I hope to share the outlines and discussion group materials as a downloadable resource later this week, if I can get it all together by Friday.)
8:40 - Discussion Groups.
- We split the group up into 4 groups so the students could go through Romans 12:9-21, Paul's Love in Action, and discussion what it looks like to LOVE our Neighbors.
9:00 - Final thoughts.
- Once the discussion time was done, we regathered to for some final words, and emphasized that God calls us to be a people who Love God (Worship), who become and make disciples (Discipleship), and who love other (Service).
9:15 - Worship.
- One of the things I really want to see happen with our student ministry is for students to develop a heart for worship. So last night, I ask two of our student to lead us in a couple songs of worship as a way to wrap up our series while planting the seed of worship within the group. And the students did awesome!
It really was a great night.
Now the stats...
- Time length: 2 hour and 25 minutes. (The group current gathers from 7:00 to 9:30 including the open gym.)
- Student Attendance: 17 (This is up two from last week. We are seeing some steady growth considering our start.)
- First-Time Visitors: 4.
- Overall Grade: 'A' Everything really went well. The teens had appeared to have a good time. And hey, they actually sang when we had our worship. That's always a win!!
The next two weeks will look a little different for HSM as we host a parents meeting on the 20th and go out for dinner on the 27th.
Be sure to share your questions or comments below. For as much as I hope to share my ideas with you, I would love to hear your ideas!
Jay Higham is a 24 year veteran of student ministry; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Youth Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 19 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 little girl. You can learn more about their ministry to the family by visiting their family blog at, www.TheHighamFamily.com!