World’s best midweek ideas, The

world’s best midweek ideas, The

Geglein, Tracy

10 of the top wednesday night ideas on the planet

We asked youth leaders all over the world to let us in on their best secret-weapon Wednesday night winners. Then we picked our favorite 10 ideas.

And these would be them . . .

1 the supper club bible study

Each Wednesday at 6 p.m., we meet at the church, then go to a restaurant for Supper Club Bible Study. We dine together, then travel to a “mystery site” for our Bible study. On the way to the meeting site, we plan adventures such as a “drive-by greeting” (we pass by a drive-through window at a fast-food joint just to say hello), or we stop suddenly on a side street for a Chinese fire drill, or we stop by an older church member’s home to say hello. The kids love the excitement and mystery!

—Tracy Geglein Madison, Indiana

2 family night

My small, rural congregation was having trouble getting adults to support and interact with the kids in our youth program. So we created a Family Night on the third Wednesday of each month that replaces our normal youth-group meeting. It’s become a powerful intergenerational event-we now average between 30 and 50 people each month. And even singles and people in nontraditional families attend.

We play intergenerational games and sometimes go bowling or rollerskating. The teenagers love it! The church loves it! And now our adults are interacting with our young people and showing more support for the youth program.

—Roberta Ingle Wanatah, Indiana

3 movie night

We use our Wednesday night meeting as an outreach opportunity. To make the group accessible to non-Christian teenagers, we start out with games for 20 minutes, followed by a video clip from a movie that sets the stage for a short message. Then we have kids form small groups to discuss the movie and message.

—Mark Hancher, Sylvania, Ohio

4 youth-led service activities for tweenagers

Two years ago we revamped our Wednesday night gathering for junior highers by empowering our kids to help plan the program They chose te name JAM, which stands for Junior High Active Ministry. Each Wednesday we have a 15-minute Bible lesson followed by a 45minute community-building activity or service project.

Our tweenagers have done yard work for homebound church members, filled relief boxes for the Samaritan’s Purse ministry, made gifts for children, and worked to gather food and school supplies for needy families. They now have a real sense of ownership in the group, and they see themselves as the body of Christ in action.

—Tonja Senn, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

5 death- anddying night

A week or so before you plan to do this Wednesday night idea, call a local funeral parlor and arrange for your group to visit. Also buy a will kit and be ready to talk kids through it.1 On the designated Wednesday night, start by asking your kids to each create a will. Then travel together to the funeral parlor, and have a representative talk to your kids about death, the importance of funerals, and other related topics. Give kids a chance to ask questions, then tour the facility.

Top off the night with a tour of the nearest cemetery (make sure to get advance permission). Have kids look for the most faith-inspiring or unusual epithet. Or have them find the graves of local celebrities. Then present a short devotion on Christ’s attitude about death-use the death of Lazarus as your focus (John 11).

—Greg Carrick, Victoria, Australia

1 You can get a do-it yourself will kit at any major bookstore, or order one from The AV Limited Company at (304)842-3429.

6 brain drain

Our attendance at Sunday youth group meetings dropped because our kids were struggling with homework and grades—their parents barred them from youth group until they improved!

So, to emphasize the importance of schoolwork, we launched a Wednesday afternoon Brain Drain program. From 4 to 6 p.m., we have a study hall for homework. We provide tutors and snacks.

From 6 to 6:30 p.m., we serve a simple meal provided free by a church family. From 6:30 to 7:30 pm., we have a Bible study. Kids are welcome to come to any or all of Brain Drain. And it’s been a great way to involve more adults in our kids’ lives. During the summer we continue our gettogethers with games or movies followed by a discussion time. We call it Drained Brains-The Summer Hangout!

—Lisa Warner-Carey San Pablo, California

7 life skills for tweenagers

Our Wednesday night program for middle schoolers begin with 30 minutes of fun activities and pizza or snacks. We follow that with a 45-minute session on a life skill that’s interesting to kids. We recruit church members to share their expertise in diverse areas-from make up (for girls) to auto repair and maintenance to woodworking. You’d be surprised how much older folks know and how eager they are to share what they know. And we always find a way to tie the skill into a biblical principle.

—Pam Carver,Trussville, Alabama

8 silent night

Every so often we use our Wednesday night gathering for a Candlelight Night. We douse the lights and burn one big candle. We play soft music in the background and pray. Then we open it up for anyone who wants to speak. We let the Holy Spirit lead. Sometimes kids discuss personal issues. Sometimes we spend the time worshiping God. Most often there’s someone who needs to get something off his or her chest-maybe a problem in the group that’s gone untended. These nights have been our most memorable.

—Robbin Biggerstaff Cliffside, North Carolina

9 on site prayer crusade

On the Wednesday night before the National Day of Prayer (always the first Thursday in May), we load our group members in several vans and go to different locations to pray. Prayer sites include the police station, the courthouse, a high school, a nursing home, a hospital, the youth pastor’s home, and the senior pastor’s office. Basically, we choose any place that has an impact on our young people or the community. We gather in a circle, hold hands, and have two or three kids pray at each site.

—Steve McConkey, McAllen, Texas

10 bakin’ it

On Wednesday nights I gather my senior highers for Bake Night. It may sound goofy, but it works! We have a full kitchen in our fellowship hall. We bake cookies, play music, tell jokes, and have fun. When we’re done, we bring the cookies to a local family shelter, where freshbaked desserts are most welcome. My kids hand out cookies to the children and spend a little time talking with them, playing games, or reading stories.

—Leanne Winchester Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Jan/Feb 2000

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