Last night we sent November out in style as our youth ministry hosted our first ever bowling outreach event! After 3 hours of caffeinated bliss & another 40 free bonus minutes of waiting around with those few student’s whose parents were delayed (Give me patience Lord), I was reminded of how vital & impactful a fun, crazy, loud & agenda-less outreach event such as bowling can be to the health of a youth ministry! Here are three things I noticed during last night’s craycray partay!
1. Students come who normally would not come to a service.
There were many students who had never been part of our youth ministry before, but who came bowling with a friend because they knew it would be fun! Not only did they have fun, but they connected with many of our core students & leaders as well! One of our guy leaders connected so well with a particular HS guy, that they exchanged numbers & our leader invited him to our midweek experience (Where he will hear the gospel & encounter the love & presence of Jesus)!
2. Students connect with each-other in ways they may not connect at a service.
It was so awesome to see some of our HS girl student leaders, who are also members of our worship team, hanging out & having fun with a newer student who came by herself as they shared a bowling lane & laughed at there not-so-high scores! I also noticed two twin MS girls who are fairly new (And very shy) go from outsiders to part-of-the-fam within just three hours & as they consumed nachos & screamed their little lungs out!
3. Students connect with the Youth Pastor & Leadership on a deeper-relational level than they are able to connect at a service.
As great as I hope & believe our weekly youth experience is, it’s often hard to connect on a deep relational level with students the way I want to due to time as well as the responsibility that comes with speaking, leading worship, etc. The wise old youth pastor who once told me “Play with them & they’ll pray with you,” knew what he was talking about! While most students probably won’t remember my messages, they will remember that time we spent laughing together as we threw gutter balls all night long! And in the end, I can use that relationship to point them closer to Jesus!