After The Students Go Home
Last week we had our first ever Night Camp. This camp came about as the result of a “failed” attempt for another event. So we experimented and Night Camp was born at our church. The great news is that our “failure” became a great success!
What about after the event? You know how it is to come home from a camp, an awesome event or even just an incredible night at your weekly youth large group gathering and having a “ministry high.” But if you don’t capitalize on opportunities after the event, you’ll miss huge areas for growth. Here are some steps to take after the event.
You have invested a lot of time and energy. You need a break, sleep in, take a walk, sit on the beach, fish in the lake. Take a day and rest. Work this into your calendar in advance as you prepare for the coming event. Rest is important because it’s easy for the joy of a successful event to become a downer if you are drained physically. If you are unrested you are wide open for attack. Take a day off. Discouragement comes easy when we are tired.
Gather all your volunteers and pull in some key students to get their input on the success of the event. What were the things your team did that was great? What were the things you did or didn’t do that need improvement? What are steps you will take to make these improvements? Will we do this again next year and if so how will we improve on it? How can I get more students involved? How can I get more adult volunteers on board?
Build on it
If the event was a success there has probably been some momentum started, so you need to build on that momentum. Look for ways to use the event to encourage students to get more involved, to grow in their faith, connect with others in accountability and fellowship. How can the success of the event help launch some better discipleship in your group? Remind the students of how much they enjoyed the event by using videos or pictures taken at the event.
If done right we aren’t doing student ministry alone. There are probably some awesome volunteers who gave of their time, talent and resources to help you at the event. Their contribution is huge in the success of the event. Think of ways to thank them. Make sure to say, “thanks.” Our Night Camp would have been a flop had it not been for the adults and students who volunteered at the event. When church members go to pat you on the back, point them to the volunteers.
Where does God want your church’s student ministry to go next? What is the next event you need to invest time and prayer into? How can you leverage the excitement from this event and use it for the next event? Ask God for wisdom as you lead.
Chances are church members may ask you about the event or make a comment about the event or something they saw on social media about the event. Use that as an opportunity to answer well. We shoot ourselves when we give answers like, “It was great” or “The students had fun.” Seize the moment to draw that member into what God did and is doing in the student ministry.
“We had a prayer time and many students, who had never voiced a prayer out loud because of fear or not sure of what others would think, prayed out loud.”
“Students who normally don’t sing or raise their hands in worship were fully engaged and you could see the passion they had for their Lord in their worship.”
When we answer well we gain support, future volunteers, and prayer warriors who will pray for the student ministry.
God often uses the special events to grab the attention and heart of our students. Just as important as the planning leading up to the event is the follow through after the event.
About the Author
Andy Lawrenson has been in student ministry for 26 years both as a volunteer and paid staff member. Andy and his wife, Misha, have been married for 28 years and have three children: a son in middle school and twin eight-year-olds, a boy and girl. Andy loves getting together with other youth pastors to talk about… Read More