I hope your youth group took a few weeks off. I really do. You needed the break, your students needed the break, your volunteers needed the break, and so did your family. But now it’s time to plan for the first time you meet again in 2018. For many of you that’s either Sunday, Jan. 7th or Wednesday, Jan. 10th. Whenever you start up, I’d do it with a slow pace, especially since everyone is also starting back to school.
I’ve got a few ideas:
1) Go buy up the Christmas candy that is by now 75-90% off!
This stuff makes for great game ideas and prizes. In fact, the candy canes could be crushed up to make and sell heart-shaped peppermint bark candy for Valentine’s Day. Red/silver Hershey’s Kisses can be repackaged for V-day treat bags. Let the kids eat the green ones while they work or brainstorm ideas for marketing those at St. Patrick’s Day. Something along the lines of “Kiss me; I’m Irish!” You’ll think of a better idea!
2) Christmas Decoration Scavenger Hunt
I bet you can read right through this idea. Here’s a fun way to get the church decorations back down and in their storage tubs. Points for different things, etc., and each box/item must go past a “point judge” so that the right stuff does make it back into the right place.
Stores will GIVE you their leftover candy canes if you say it’s for a church and you promise to take them all. Come up with a list of people who blessed the youth group in 2016. Make yard signs that say, “Thanks for being a breath of fresh air for our group” or “You were really sweet to us this Christmas.” Sneak up on your benefactor’s house, stick the candy canes in the yard, leave the sign to be seen out the front door, and then “ding-dong-ditch” back into the cars for the next stop.
4) New Year’s Party stuff is 50-75% on sale by 1/1
Buy it all up, have a party and make sure there’s a chance for a devotional time that reminds students that “Old things are gone; behold, the new has come.” Give them a chance to listen to what God has in store for them in 2017.
OK, here’s my start to giving you some ideas for the first few meetings in 2017. Take these and make them better, then let me know what you came up with! I’d love to hear (and borrow!).
STEPHANIE CARO has been involved in ministry for more than thirty years. She’s the author of Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches and 99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker. She’s senior consultant for Ministry Architects and lives in Houston with her hubby and puppy.