Sunday, July 19, 2009

    Rethinking Sunday Night Youth Group


    For years now, our youth group has met on Sunday evenings. Sunday evenings seem to compete with fewer extracurricular activities. But recently, it seems that Sundays are just as busy as any other day. In fact, if a youth attends Sunday School, Church, and Sunday evening youth group they can spend almost the entire day at church.

    So this year, we’re going to try something new: Wednesday Night Live. For better or worse, we’re going to see how it works to meet on Wednesday evening. But hopefully, it won’t be just us meeting on Wednesday night. I really believe that one of the defining factors of a strong church is what happens between one Sunday morning and the next. In an effort to get people to church during mid-week we’re encouraging the small groups, music groups, younger children, and older adults to all consider meeting on Wednesday evening. From 6:00-6:30, we’ll all share a meal. Then from 6:30-8:00 everyone, representing all age groups, will go to their particular activity, event, or group.

    We’ll see how this all works. When I was growing up, it seemed that Wednesdays were church nights. But then, so were Sundays.

    Anyone else planning to meet during the week?

    --Jacob

    12 comments:

    doctorheadly said...

    sounds like what our church has been doing for years. dinner (free and open to the community) @ 5:30, separate for age/life station specific groups, then go home. This year we will be shifting toward a more small-group based model however. should be interesting...

    middle school momma said...

    Our Wednesday nights are a centering rock for our congregation - we offer small group options for all ages and stages, beginning right after school (3:15), with a flexible dinner time that is come-when-you-can. We are incorporating a 10-15 minute message for all who are in the building in the middle of the evening. All activities/groups end around 8:00pm. It's a lot to plan for but it gives us a chance to check-in mid-week and refocus.

    Chris said...

    We made the same exact move a little over a year ago. It seemed so trivial at the time but simply changing the night we met as a youth group turned into one of the most significant changes we could have ever made. It has impacted the youth ministry at our church in more ways than I thought possible. Change is good and necessary.

    k said...

    We meet on Friday nights. But our meetings are only for the youth. We start at 7:30 and are usually out by 9:30 but Friday nights allow us to stay out a little longer when doing activities such as bowling, or a praise concert, etc seeing as there is no school or work for most the following day. And some may say Friday is the weekend and they want to do other things but what better than to be in house of the Lord with those who are of like-mind then to be lured and tempted to attend parties or other activities that aren't Christ-centered.

    Sayward said...

    I'm interested to hear how this works out, you'll have to keep us posted on this. I'm actually thinking about doing the exact opposite of you. Sunday night does not have a ton going on and I'm competing with just about everything every other night of the week! How do you get volunteers if the whole church is doing small groups and what not? Do you offer a Bible study for your leaders?

    Justin said...

    I am actually the lead youth worker but I happen also to be a volunteer. I need to find additional employment and have a great job prospect but that would mean moving Thursday night youth group to Sunday night as the job goes until 6pm Monday-Friday. Many of the kids in the group can't come on Thursday due to school activities but I am just not sure what I should do. Of course getting a salary from the church would be nice but at this point I don't believe that is possible. The other option may be to start at 7pm and find a person who is willing to drive the van route.

    Brian said...

    Justin: clearly, scheduling time for church activities is becoming more difficult in our busy culture. As Sayward points out, sometimes we are even forced to compete with our church activities!
    I think ultimately we have to figure out what works best on a church by church basis. If Sunday is the best night when you can be fully present as an adult mentor and your youth are flexible enough to make it work, I say go for it. Ultimately, you may want to make it clear that your are in a position of having to choose between a paying job or asking the youth group participants to be flexible in their scheduling.

    the wypij's said...

    We have our youth night (rooted youth ministry) on Thursday nights. I'm honestly sick and tired of fighting with school sports, homework, test, and the rest of the garbage that gets in the way.. I'm thinking about moving it to Friday Nights.. Like a few people have already pointed out.. It's a night where school activities are out of the way... The worst part of Friday night?

    I will lose all of my spare time..
    But I think the sacrifice is worth it... I'm thinking about trying it out next month.

    Lames said...

    Hey, how is this going?

    emerger said...

    A note when we tried to do Youth Group on a Friday night... most of our youth work and Friday and Saturdays were their key days/times for earning their keep.

    Hannah Quast said...

    I too am strongly considering the opposite move. We have had extremely low participation at our Thursday night meetings (we only have one teen who comes regularly) and I am told that it's because of the day. The youth used to meet on Sundays before the program fell apart about a year before I came on. I am currently talking to our most active families to see what they think about moving back to Sundays.

    Patrick Bezanson said...

    Currently ours is on Friday night, and as the above noted I miss my free time! I've been considering a change in night to Sunday because of another younger youth group activity on Friday. Some of the teens said they don't love the idea of Sunday because it's their lazy day, don't want to go out, or they are doing their homework. It's hard to know how much truth there is to this.