Exploring Advent with Teenagers (Wednesday Night in Review 12.5)
Set List: Lord I Lift Your Name on High, God of Wonders
Additional Resources Used: Horrible Nativity PowerPoint photo album. Short video clip of Peter Griffin confusing the meaning of Christmas. Several slow Christmas-themed songs. 4 interactive prayer stations.
Evening in a Sentence: We took time this evening to explore what Advent means and why Christians celebrate it, and then we allowed students time to walk through 4 prayer stations that challenged them to dig deep and see Advent for a genuine period of expectant waiting. (You can see my teaching notes and station guides here. The ideas from the stations come from Rethinking Youth Ministry)
Element of Fun: Fellowship time over dinner. Finish the Christmas Song Lyric challenge.
What Worked: There was a lot about tonight that worked. Our dinner was delicious and allowed us a good time to talk and unwind before diving into the lesson. The Christmas Song Challenge was a lot of fun for just about everyone. The Horrible Nativity slide show was hit (you can see almost all the ones we saw and even more here). Our discussion on Advent was a good time to hear student thoughts and allowed some of them to learn the basics behind what it is and why we celebrate it. The best part of the evening was our time in the prayer stations and our discussion afterwards. We divided the students among three tables and gave them time to debrief about their experience, and it seems as if just about all of them heard God speaking into their soul about how they need to connect with Him during Advent this year (it seems that most of them realized they need to slow down).
What Needs Work: Our music time seemed a little lackluster. The building construction created some items we needed to work around. We again struggled to get leaders to show up on time.
Summary: Tonight was the best evening of ministry I have experienced in quite some time. Students interacted with familiar Scriptures and came through with exciting and challenging ideas that they never thought of before. The discussion with students after the Prayer Stations was simply astounding, and being able to share with one parent in particular after the night was over was a great moment, for myself and for her.
Student Numbers: 12
Leader Numbers: 5
Comparison to the same week last year:
Student Numbers: 24
Leader Numbers: 7