Surviving Opening Weekend

The fall season for high school ministry kicked off Thursday and I’m wiped already.  Today middle school gets up and running again.  I’m tired and feeling old (even though I’m not); yet, the excitement gives me the energy I need to pull off another opening weekend.
It’s not that things are being thrown together, it’s just doing a kickoff weekend (no matter the season) can feel a little chaotic.  It feels like you have to fight for your life to survive.  So how does one get through that first push?  Well, to start off you’ll need:

  1. Lot’s Of Candy: Even if everything fails, teens love candy.  If you get them jacked up enough that’s all they’ll remember.  Stay away from chocolate, just go with pure sugar.
  2. To Be Very Excited: If you can sell to others how excited you are, then they’ll get excited too.  Balloons, streamers and decorations help with the excitement.
  3. Crazy Games (with even crazier prizes): Go all out with a kiddie pool filled with pudding.  The messier the game the more memorable it will be.  Doesn’t matter how many kids puke with that pickled pigs feet eating contest, you can guarantee it’ll be the talk of the hallways the next day.  And just blow your budget on an ipad, and give it away.  They’ll love you.

You could do those things on opening weekend, but all that leads to is false expectations.  One thine I tell my team is that while kickoff weekend may be a little chaotic the way to start it out is by:

  1. Being Authentic – Just be yourself and show the teens you really want to get to know them.  It might be awkward at first, but it’ll be worth it.
  2. Remembering This Is A Journey – Week 1 may feel sluggish, awkward or even a let down, but it’s only one step in the journey.  Be persistent and know that fruit doesn’t grow overnight.  
  3. Relying On God’s Grace – Not sure what exactly to do?  Let God lead you.  Your not effective without Him.

Do those three things and kickoff will still be tiring; however, the joy you’ll feel from God’s presence is priceless.  While there is nothing wrong with being excited, having candy and fun games, just make sure it isn’t the focus.  If you draw kids in for the wrong reasons you’ll risk a lot of backlash.

How do you survive the beginning of a new season?