Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the author’s blog Large Church Ministry. An edited version appears here with permission.
by David Thompson
Being in ministry at a large church means we have a lot of students and a lot of extra curricular activities to attend. We want to visit sporting events, plays, concerts, etc., but do not want to be away from our families all the time, so taking advantage of visiting several students at an extracurricular activity is crucial. A few years ago we started Fan Club. It is easy to organize and can make a huge impact on the students and the community.
As a staff we typically like to plan out the two or three extracurricular events that we will attend each month, with the criteria of trying to make contact with as many students and families at this event as possible. Once we decide on the events, we make it a Fan Club event. On the night of the event we invite students to attend the activity with us. We encourage them to wear our “Fan Club” t-shirt and even make posters cheering for the student(s) we are going to watch.
A few important tips
We cheer for students, NOT for teams. Many times we will have students on both teams, which is great. We wear our neutral Fan Club t-shirt so that we don’t represent a single side.
Let’s face it, students can be obnoxious, so we do not allow students to cheer against anyone. We try to help them understand that this is a great way to represent our church, but if they go too crazy then people may get turned off and even annoyed by us.
Fan Club can be an amazing ministry. It is very important to plan ahead and lay out ground rules for your students, and we usually end the night by having dinner together.
Our goals at the end of the night:
- To have really cheered loudly for the students from our group we came to see.
- To have connected with the students who came to be a part of the Fan Club
- To make every student and parent in the gym/facility know that we are fun, loving, and caring people, and we would love to be able to have some conversations with them about our ministry.
How do you support your students at extracurricular activities?
David Thompson is a second year CYMT graduate resident and veteran youth minister. He serves as the Director of Student Ministry at Trinity UMC in Birmingham, Ala., a 3000+ member congregation. David has been in youth ministry for 11 years.