Typically I have written about events after they are done. Since the holidays are coming up and I know youth workers are looking for ideas to celebrate this time of year with students, I thought I’d write about a few in time for you to plan.
Thanksgiving meal with students – I don’t do this event any longer because our church does a church-wide Thanksgiving meal the Sunday night before Thanksgiving. The Sunday or Wednesday student worship service before the Thanksgiving break is a great time to do a big meal with students. I’ve provided the turkey and/or ham and had students and leaders bring in food potluck. I’ve done this event with hardly any money and did turkey subs from Subway instead of a big traditional meal and charged a few bucks. I’ve catered this meal by buying 50 full thanksgiving take out meals from Cracker Barrel-my favorite one! A lot of creative ways to provide a good to great meal.
At the meal, we always have some serious worship. More of a low-key set focused on worshiping the Lord. I’ve typically had a testimony time during the service. I know those can go bad quick, but with the holiday focus its usually pretty safe.
The main part of the meal is writing thank you cards to people. We encourage students to write cards to youth leaders, parents, other students, pastors, etc. I tell teens do not write boyfriend/girlfriend letters, inappropriate messages, or silly stuff. The more serious they take it, the better it is. This has always been a very special time for students.
Out of all the events that I have done in 14 years of ministry, I think this one is a favorite among youth groups. Lots of fellowship, but most important the opportunity to encourage people and be encouraged through notes.