Kicking off your school year, the new year, a new series, groups ministry or simply anything in your youth ministry that is different from routine has to be great! Teenagers need something to look forward to, need something to be excited about and need something not the same. If you follow these simple rules you can make kickoffs great again.
Think Outside the Box
Forget everything you usually do for your programming nights. If you could do anything to kickoff the new school year or new series or small groups, what would you do? Let yourself dream a little. If money was no object and you could do the kickoff up right, what would it look like? How would it feel? What would you hope to accomplish? What would the end goal be for your students? Thinking outside the box means dreaming and being innovative with your kickoff and give your students and experience they haven’t had yet.
6 Months Out
In order to do something incredible you need to be planned out and have time to implement your plan. You should be thinking about kickoffs at least 6 months out. Period.
If you are going to go all out for a kickoff it would be wise to budget accordingly. This should be something you budget for and plan on the year before when you submit your request or as you are going through your budgeting process. When you know you have funds to use towards making an awesome night for your students, it opens up doors of ideas you can tap into. You use funds to push something to a new level, especially if the return on that investment has a chance of being significant. Leverage your budget to make kickoffs awesome.
Student Buy In
Use your students for promotion! Incentivize them, cast vision for the event and create some hype around what is going to happen. Use this generations FOMO (fear of missing out) against them in a good way. Use students to help you plan and implement the kickoff. Allow students to take ownership of certain areas. When students take ownership, it overflows into everyone else around them. Change your mindset from your kickoff being “for students” to “with students”.
Your kickoff needs to create moments for students to grab onto. It doesn’t always need to be emotional but it does need to be memorable. It goes back to why you are having a kickoff in the first place. What does a student need to walk away with from the kickoff. If its a small group kickoff, they probably should walk away knowing who their group is, their leader is and that its going to be an awesome year because they could tell someone cares about them. If its a kickoff to welcome students back from summer, it has to be fun and they should walk away thinking “I have the best youth group ever”. If its a kickoff to a series, they should walk away with an action step and a teaser for what the series is going to help them understand and see. How can you make moments during your kickoff to give them something they cant get anywhere else? Moments are crucial in the development of teenagers. You probably can still remember mountain top moments from middle school and high school vividly. Create a moment for your students to remember forever.
Duh! But seriously, pray for wisdom, discernment, favor and for God’s presence to be all over your kickoff and the results from it.
Make Kickoffs Great Again and put something behind it this year!
Award Show - (think dundies, Oscars, make students the stars, red carpet)
Color War - colored powder and a mess is always fun
Team Competition between small groups - competitions are always a way to galvanize people together
Use Food Trucks - yes a little expensive but they set a really cool vibe up
Fireworks - how cool are fireworks - be ready to spend a little bit but it could be just the spark you need to end the night well
Have Fun - Fun is a universal language everyone knows and understands!