So it’s summer time. That’s a reality that I can get my head around. I like the sunshine, and at this point in my part of the world, that’s starting to feel like a rarity. (Hey there, flooded river due to rain … nice to see you stop by.) But when the summer starts to fade away and students are all busy getting that brand new wicked fresh trapper keeper for school, and parents are loathing back to school clothes shopping, well, that’s when I get all hyped up for Fall Kickoff.
I really feel like there’s a few times in the ministry season when you want to go all out. Like blow the doors off. One is Christmas, because Christmas is awesome. Make your space look like Santa’s elves exploded over everything. Another is the end of the season. You’ve made students suffer through your awkward sex talks, mediocre games and haphazard bible quizzes for an entire season, so now’s the time to redeem yourself with a stellar event for the ages. Forget the party, just head straight to the “After Party” party. Your students need to reason to blow off steam after all the exam anxieties are done and over. Put out a great spread of food, crank up the outdoor speakers, rent a bounce house, and turn on the sprinklers. It will be a great way to say thanks to your students and leaders for pressing forward. It’s also a super way to introduce new students into the mix without them feeling singled out.
But my favourite time to blow the roof off in a ministry season is Fall Kickoff. This is the time when everyone is ready for something different. They’re getting back into the swing of things, and what better way to let them know that youth group is right there with them, than by having a Kickoff event that brings the house down. Go after that band you’ve always wanted to bring in, partner up with some other youth groups, utilize the left over summer weather whileyou still can, and really ring in the new season with a sonic boom. It’s not about how big your budget is, but how loud you can get and how high you can set the bar for the season ahead. It says to your students that they are worth getting excited for, that they can expect big things ahead. Just don’t play all your cards on the first night as depicted in this photo from the 4th of July Fireworks in San Diego this year. 20 mins of fireworks in 15 seconds.
So go for it. Go big. Go for the win. Be loud. Be awesome.
And if you annoy the 55+ bible study going on next door, well then, all the better.
Kevin Downey is a veteran Youth Pastor from Chilliwack British Columbia (this is an actual place) , father, pastor and comic enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter @revkev73.