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.
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:
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.
CYMT is excited about its newest endeavor, Theology Together. Theology Together educates both teenagers and youth workers as they engage in theological reflection, spiritual practice, vital service, and vocational discernment. The Theology Together process produces reflective action that is embedded in the fabric of youth ministry in all of its contexts. We believe strongly that youth are theologians and belong at the center of tough, life-changing dialogue around faith, relationships, and life. We place teenagers in the driver seat alongside their youth pastors and leaders, equipping each individual to think differently about youth ministry, to provoke a sense of awe and wonder: a WOW moment.
Youth theology is theology built upon the simple doctrinal principle of the priesthood of all believers, and takes that principle right down to its natural conclusion: that all believers, including youth, teens, adolescents, etc. are theologians. It is theology that values all youth as theologians. Here we will share with you how to engage with youth theology in your own ministry.
A few weeks ago, we shared the launch of Theology Together 2.0. Today, Dwight (the director of Theology Together) will be sharing with us one experience […]