Just this morning, I had a youth pastor friend ask me about our student ministry’s WOW Factor. To be honest, I let Jesus be the Lord of our WOW Factor. What I mean is, if Jesus leads me to do something that week, then I try to pull it off. I’m not a very creative person at all. I have a great creative guy on my staff who always makes me look cool and creative, but I can take no credit. When I do get a creative idea…I know its from the Lord!
We have done some pretty stinking cool WOW Factor stuff in the past though. While taking our teens through the book of Exodus, we set up our stage to look like the Old Testament Tabernacle. I would move through each section and point to each piece of furniture while I taught on it. Each section was separated by tabernacle curtains: aka pvc pipe and a shower curtain from the dollar general store.
While taking our teens through the book of Leviticus, we did grill a steak on stage in the student building. We used it as an example of blood, a burnt sacrifice, and a pleasing aroma to God (which was the repeated phrase in Leviticus 1-7). When we talked about the Levitical food, feasts, and fellowships…we invited everyone out to eat with us afterwards to the local Mexican restaurant so that we could immediately apply the importance of feasting and fellowshipping together…and to get our Mexican food fix for the week.
While taking our teens through the book of Numbers in the story about the snakes biting the Israelites in the wilderness, we did call the local pet shop to bring in snakes. We let a couple students hold them on stage behind me (way behind me – I hate snakes) while I talked about what it would be like to be surrounded by fiery serpents that were literally killing everyone.
While going through Deuteronomy, we would bring kids up who were really strong looking and who were really tiny to illustrate the point that Deuteronomy is a peace treaty between superpower kingdom GOD and tiny pansy nation ISRAEL.
In Joshua, we more heavily relied upon video to illustrate the beauty of the new creation that is to come.
To be completely honest, I don’t think there NEEDS to be a WOW Factor. The WOW Factors we have used only serve as an illustration to what God is communicating to us through His Word. The WORD factor is way more important than the WOW factor. I have ONLY used WOW Factors when my WORD Factor study is completed. God changes lives and gets student’s attention by His Holy Spirit through His Word and for His Son. I would caution everyone, only result to a WOW Factor after you have adequately prepared with the Word.
Other WOW Factors we use week to week. We use video a lot to illustrate points. We’ve showed videos of talking pets to just catch of glimpse of the weirdness when Satan talked to Eve in the form of the serpent.
We usually play a game at the beginning of each service. At times our games have a lot to do with what the sermon topic will be on. For example, we’ve brought up huge coolers filled with water. Then we had a contest to see who could hold their breath the longest under the water. That was either for our sermon on the Flood or the Crossing of the Red Sea. We’ve had stare-down (no blinking) contests for sermons about David and Goliath.
But most of all, the Word itself is the greatest WOW Factor. I really think we have to try super hard to make the Word boring! My students love hearing the honesty of the Word in things like Jesus is coming back all tatted up with some serious bling bling going on (Rev 19). When Jesus comes back and destroys His enemies personally with just a sword, there will be blood about 5 feet deep for 184 miles (Rev 14 I believe). Those are just a couple of examples. When we choose to put the majority of our time in the Word, then we have the coolest WOW Factor of all….Jesus Christ’s glory as the God-man!