KFC & UMYF started something new in September. Once a month, we have a theme night. What is a theme night? It’s basically just a crazy take on traditional youth group. We still have worship, games, and a lesson. We just theme it!
Last month our theme was Jimmy Buffett Beach Bash (of course it was, it was only 19 degrees four days earlier). Our Worship Arts team decorated the Fellowship Hall with surfboards, beach balls, and sea shells and students dressed up in Hawaiian shirts and a socks/sandals combo that could take any “vacation outfit” you’ve ever pulled off.
Here’s why we love it:
1. It is a great opportunity for students to invite friends.
Youth group can be kind of intimidating. Sometimes students may not want to invite friends because they’re unsure about what’s happening that night, or sometimes because it is just hard. When you give youth group a theme, it hypes up the energy and makes students want to show off their community of believers. We are loving that theme nights have given students a chance to reach out to their friends and invite them to see what they’re a part of.
2. It is giving our Worship Arts team a chance to serve.
We have an awesome team of middle & high school students that come every week at 4 pm and help set up for youth group. They are able to use their creative gifts to design the room for youth group. When we give them a theme, it gives them a chance to come up with creative ways to decorate the room. When we had 80’s night, they made life-size rubiks cubes and when we had our Christmas theme they made a photobooth. We have incredibly talented students and it’s been awesome watching them put their gifts to use in the church.
3. It is a chance for our students to celebrate being young
We believe in challenging our students to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ. But we also believe there needs to be a fun effect to that sometimes. When we theme something, EVERYTHING we do brings the theme into play. For instance, our games were “beach themed”. We randomly selected several students to come up front and do “spontaneous” tasks that we gave them. A 7th grade girl had to rap about pineapples for 30 seconds while a senior had to pretend to be a crab getting attacked by seagulls (the seagulls were played by two trained leaders. No students were harmed in this activity). For dinner, we had “Cheeseburger’s in Paradise”, and our lesson was about “Charting Our Course” for the New Year. Which brings us to our fourth favorite thing…
4. We do not ever sacrifice a chance to learn on a theme night.
We want our students to grow in their relationship with Christ, and YES we love to have fun, but we recognize that there’s a serious side to that relationship. Middle and high school present a lot of challenges for our students. Challenges that they are facing every day and they need a relationship with Christ now more than ever. They are figuring out what they believe and who they want to be and sometimes they need to hear a message that is sculpted to where they are and have a chance to discuss it with a leader afterwards. We still get to provide students with that on a theme night.
Our next theme night is Pajama Jam, February 23rd. This will be a night of cozy sleepwear and intense pillow fights. Students can come in a comfy pair of footie pajamas and bring their favorite teddy bear or baby blanket (promise, we won’t make fun). Really excited to try Strobe Light Pillow Fight that night too.