“So, what’d you do for Christmas?” That is a very common question among pastors to students. I love asking my other student pastor buddies that because they give me such good ideas. I’m so not creative. This year, I thought I’d tell the cyber-youth ministry world what we did just to get all the creative juices flowing.
Last Christmas was my first Christmas here. We had all the student ministry meet at a neighborhood clubhouse (about 5 miles away), and we Christmas caroled throughout the neighborhood. This year, we did a very similar event, but with a serious twist. You won’t believe the brilliance! We actually held the event at our church (GASP!) and used it to make an impact in our immediate community (WHAT?). Yeah, isn’t that crazy? Haha, but seriously…we did all meet in our student building at 6pm. At 6:30 we sent out three groups (7-8th, 9-10th, and 11-12th grades) to hit up three of the closes neighborhoods to the church. We drove-up, we caroled, we gave them Christmas cards with our best CHRISTmas wishes and our church information, and we left alone. We didn’t even prank them (some of youth pastors need to hear that as a word from the Lord).
Then when all the students came back to our student building at about 7:30, we had a surprise for them. We had hired a live jazz band to come in and play as our background music during our gift-swap game and Christmas “stuff your face” meal. So when the band was playing, we had all of our students whip out the $5 Gift Cards they were told to bring (we even instructed them to bring extras if they were bringing friends).
All I had them do was to pass the cards around the circle while the music was playing just to see every card that was there. Then when the music stopped and started replaying, they passed them around the opposite direction (somewhat like musical chairs). Then with whatever card they had, they had to trade it two more times with other people. Then they had to pick one partner, and I made them trade their card one more time.
Then just when they thought there were stuck with that $5 gift card, I told them that it was cool if they wanted to trade it with whoever they liked. Then we just started the feasting, had the band keep playing, and the students had about an hour (8-9pm) to just chill out Christmas-style with their homeys. So all in all, it was a very simple, easy, relaxed night without a lot of stuff. They loved it. Tons came. The band rocked…er…jazzed. And we all just enjoyed our fellowship together in Christ. I just realized how weak this article is. I hope it didn’t waste your time! haha. The main thought: keep it simple and get a live jazz band. Peace out.