When our students first walk in the door, we want them to get an awesome first impression. So we have a team of super fun and friendly greeters, wearing super fun and friendly t-shirts, who welcome them. We think it sets a great tone for the day, especially for new kids who maybe aren’t accustomed to church being a place where they can laugh and smile. Each Greeter gets a few t-shirts customized with their favorite phrases and colors. We use Spreadshirt for our tees, but CafePress and RedBubble are also good options.
WEIRD CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS AT THE DOOR.
As often as possible, we ask our Greeter Team to get the fun started by doing a little contest or game at the door as students arrive. To celebrate the first Sunday of the school year, we handed out cheap little noisemakers to every student (I think I still have ear damage, but it was worth it). A few weeks ago, students tried to guess the weight of a watermelon and, of course, the winner got to take it home. Once, we even let students vote on our worship leader’s new style of beard… and then we shaved his face. Live. At church. It was gross.
Idea for Your Class or Core Groups Gratitude Jar?? http://www.rethinkingyouthministry.com
Just a simple idea that could become a regular and meaningful ritual in your ministry.
In its most basic form, you just get a jar and provide your youth with slips of paper and pens or markers (or even smooth stones, post it notes, or whatever you can dream up). At each meeting, invite everyone to record one thing they are thankful for from the recent week. Then you can each share what you have written (or not) and place it in the jar. As the year goes on, the jar becomes fuller and fuller. In December, you pour out these prayers of gratitudes and read them all over again as a reminder of the past year.
You could also consider putting them all up on a bulletin board at the end of the year or using this as part of a creative art project (Glue them all down onto a canvas to form an image? Tape them together on the wall to form the word “thanks?). Another option would be to have a youth group meeting where each person creates/decorates their own gratitude jar. Each student takes theirs home and adds to it whenever something good happens in their lives.