The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, June 29, 2004

In This Issue

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Featured: :Out of the Box Outreach Event" Contest WINNER!

You've heard about the contest, and the deadline was last Thursday night at midnight ... and a winner has been chosen.

PLEASE READ THIS NOTE FROM JONATHAN: This was a tough decision and I want to ask you all a favor. This contest was an opportunity to share ideas and reward one group with a cool prize. But obviously there will be hundreds who don't get chosen and we don't want them to feel bad. After all, many of these ideas will make it to our OUT OF THE BOX OUTREACH IDEAS CD coming out this winter. So please celebrate the winner with me as it was a difficult choice for our committee to make.

"Out of the Box Outreach Ideas" can be interpreted many different ways. And opinions definitely differ. Our committee concentrated on the definition of the event:

1. The idea should be "out of the box." I simply challenged you all to think of something besides the typical "band and a speaker" program that we've all seen. So even if many of us have heard of or used some of the submitted ideas, if they aren't the same programs we see 20 times a year (opener, band, speaker) then they qualify as out of the box. But obviously, the more creative, the better.

2. The idea needs to "attract those who don't know Jesus." We actually received a bunch of very creative ideas that just weren't great "outreach" ideas. These events need to have a draw that will pull in more than just our regularly attending church kids.

3. The event needs to point toward Jesus. That could mean a Gospel presentation, creatively inviting them to be involved in the church, or it might mean just showing them Christ's love.

We saw creative ideas for service projects, feeding the homeless, three-on-three basketball tournaments, lip sync contests in the spirit of American Idol, and even topical studies of real life issues relevant to teens today. It was hard to narrow it down to the final four. But our committee narrowed it down ... and the job became even tougher. What should we weigh more? How unique the idea was? The impact it had?

I finally just put it up for a vote and it could have gone any direction. The winner won by one vote. It was a close race.

So celebrate with me our winner, a volunteer youth leader at First Baptist Church in Lyons Kansas, Becky Karas. Becky's idea is creative, it has a big draw, and it not only is an opportunity to share the Gospel, it's an opportunity to try to get kids more exited about getting involved in their youth group. Check it out:

Winter Beach Party Nite in Kansas!
The key to this event is the timing. What better thing to do in Kansas in the winter than ... HAVE A BEACH PARTY! Kids always feel more comfortable inviting friends to an event like this because it sells itself- it's something they can't do anywhere else! (Sorry Californians and those from Florida, you just won't understand this one!) Kids love dressing up in bathing suits and summer wear in the middle of winter. You can have loud music playing, beach volleyball, tropical fruits, all at an indoor pool- Becky's group uses the local college indoor pool. Bring sand in and do sand castle contests if you want. The sky's the limit. This event attracts un-churched kids. Loud music, food and fun with a short Gospel presentation at the end. Relationship building is what this is all about. With Becky's group, most came back for regular youth group with their friend the next week. A bunch of new kids came in addition to kids who hadn't been there in a while who received postcards in the mail. God used it!


Something You Can Use: More Outreach Event Ideas

Here are the other three finalists- not far ahead of many of the others:

Slam Dunk Contest Okay- you've heard of this type of event. But how many have been in your area in the last year? And ya gotta love the three different divisions.

Ben gives credit to Chinese Christian Union Church in Chicago, IL for this idea, because he "stole it" from them. The idea is to bring in an adjustable basketball hoop. Then students can enter the slam dunk competition at either 7, 8, or 9 foot divisions. You can format the contest however you like; the NBA Dunk Contest has each contestant perform 3 dunks and then a championship round with the top dunkers. Some High School and even Middle School students can do some pretty neat stuff when the hoops are lowered. (Some people even use trampolines for this event- although they put serious research into safety precautions and liability.)

This event isn't just for participants, it attracts a lot of people to watch, so have a short evangelistic message before the final round.
Ben Pun, Youth Director, Chinese Baptist Church, Houston, TX

There were several skateboarding outreach events submitted. And some might not think of skateboard events as "out of the box." But Sara's event stuck out because of her incredible marketing, networking, attention to detail, and follow-up plan. She went all out for this event- I think all of us can benefit from many of her ideas. I'll let you read her exact description:

After seeing my kids bring a skateboard to every event I had, I decided not to fight it but to work with it. My heart is outreach and I looked at the trends of teens. We were missing the skater kids. So, I decided that the community needed to come together as one body in Christ to offer a completely free event to the lost.

I contacted churches, businesses, the press, the news and shared the goal. They were pumped. People, churched or not, do have a heart for teens.

So, we developed a ramp building team, built some ramps, rented some. We brought in 9 Christian punk bands and some high school secular bands to draw all high school kids. We brought in a pro-Christian skate team and contacted some local pro skaters the high school kids recommended.

We had a prayer tent, first-aid tent, registration tent, volunteer check in tent, free hotdogs, chips and water, free t-shirts, free Livin' It DVD's, tons of free give aways from local businesses and especially skate shops.

We ran it from 1-9 and we even made a small 30 second commercial and ran it on MTV! (I am aware that MTV is Satan's pipeline to our kids, but we threw Jesus right in the midst of it to draw those kids.)

Every Christian band shared the Gospel and encouraged kids to go to the prayer tent, the pro-skaters did demos and shared their testimonies. It was amazing and God moved in a huge way! There were tornado warnings and God opened up the sky!

Every one who came registered. Follow-up was done from the registration cards, the value of getting free prize giveaways. We issued a wrist band for registered kids, different wrist bands for kids wanting to skate (they had to have a signed waiver), and even different wrist bands for the back stage area where we served the bands, skaters and hard working volunteers.

I ended up doing this event with zero dollars from my budget!! Know that if it's God's will, people see the vision, it's a done deal. Find a need, joy, love, passion, whatever in your church or youth group and make it an outreach. Just think way outside the box! Remember the goal here was not to entertain our kids. I challenged every Christian involved to serve! It was to love on the un-churched! To SHOW Christ's love.

25 churches ended up being involved, over 125 volunteers and over 500 participants.
Sara Grivas, Youth Director, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Livonia, MI

Scott went out of the box with this one. Basically, this is a car show designed to reach "low riders," "hot rods" and their owners. The style of the cars will attract different participants and onlookers. Be sure to provide food and awards. Realize- that you'll see some risqu? stuff (bikini clad girls painted on cars, crude t-shirts, etc.) Scott's church allows for the lost to be the lost. Depending on your church's stand you might even provide some non-Christian bands to play, asking them to control their lyrics. This event will bring attention to your group/church (especially if you put up a well designed booth with a car theme) and provide a great opportunity to build relationships with the car owners and possibly some car clubs. If you have a Christian car club in the area they should be included in the show. This can also work as a fundraiser by renting booths to car shops, detailers, and accessory (rims and tires) dealers.
Scott McWhirter, Director of Student Ministries and Community Outreach, West Side Christian Church, Denver, CO

New Movie Reviews: Mandy Moore and the subtle lies in Chasing Liberty ...

Chasing Liberty
(released on DVD and video May 2004)
Starring Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode

Boy meets girl.

Boy lies to the girl, and must live the lie through most the film.

Girl falls in love with boy.

Boy falls in love with girl.

Girl discovers the lie and says, "Was everything a lie?"

Boy says, "Not the love part- I really fell in love with you."

Girl stomps off anyway. No ... wait, girl changes mind.

Boy and girl live happily every after.

Sound familiar. Shyeah!

Sorry- the only real lie in this film is "Choices don't have consequences!"



New on Our New "Growth" Curriculum page

You've seen our "Topical Curriculum" page on our web site. This page has always had two choices, "OPENERS," which are discussion openers, and "OUTREACH AGENDAS," which are complete agendas for your outreach program.

But what about your "GROWTH" program?

OUTREACH AND GROWTH are two different things. OUTREACH PROGRAMS have the goal of attracting kids that don't know Jesus, and pointing them toward him. These programs will have basic Gospel messages and opportunities to respond in a commitment to Him. GROWTH programs have the goal of helping your Christian kids grow and draw closer to God.

This past week, we launched our GROWTH PROGRAMS page, under "Topical Curriculum." This page provides FREE quality discussion ideas, small group questions and content you can use for your weekly GROWTH program.


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