||Jonathan's Resource Ezine
Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
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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!
SEE THE OTHER THREE FINALISTS BELOW
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
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)
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 ...
(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!"
CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS REVIEW
CLICK HERE FOR JONATHAN'S MOVIE REVIEW PAGE
New on www.TheSource4YM.com 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.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR TOPICAL CURRICULUM PAGE
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