Thanksgiving in Youth Ministry
We have officially entered into the Thanksgiving season! Halloween is behind us, and Christmas is before us BUT before we get into the Christmas season.
Let's not miss Thanksgiving!
Below you will find three things youth workers need to know about Thanksgiving.
1. Teach the practice of remembrance.
The holiday of Thanksgiving here in the United States is the remembrance of a pivotal season in our country's history. The holiday of Thanksgiving is about remembrance and the practice of being thankful for what we have and what God provides us.
This Thanksgiving season, how cool would it be to teach our students the practice of remembrance?
If you were to ask your students today to remember who won last year's Super Bowl, this year's World Series, or the year Fortnite came out, your students would probably be able to rattle off those items. But if you were to ask your students to remember the last thing that God did for them, they might not be as eager to respond.
Why is that? I think it could be for a number of reasons but submit to you it is because we do not teach them the practice of remembrance.
So this Thanksgiving season, how about we teach our students the principle of remembrance?
2. Use break is a time to connect with your students but ALSO your volunteers.
We got into student ministry obviously to make an impact in students lives for the sake of the Gospel. God called us to connect, teach, care for, and equipped students to carry out their calling in their lives.
If you have been in youth ministry for longer than 20 minutes, you know most of youth ministry is not done directly to students rather rather done directly for students. Meaning, your role is to equip the saints to carry out the ministry of youth ministry.
If we took Jesus as our example in this... he had 12 disciples, three in his core, and one he loved. If Jesus was adequately able to disciple 12 people, maybe if our youth ministry is more than 12 students, we need to ensure that we have adult leaders who are assisting us and carrying out God's vision for our youth ministry.
Because of that, this Thanksgiving season, what an excellent time to show thanks to your volunteer team. This can be as simple as shooting a selfie video on your cell phone and sending them a text message, letting them know that you were thankful for them. Or it could be picking up a few gifts to help them in their calling as they serve students in your youth ministry. This holiday break, of course connect with your students but also focus on giving thanks to your volunteers!
3. Don't do a turkey bowl.
This one may seem a little weird, and I agree. This is a freebie for you to try to keep you out of hot water. Years ago, I promoted the idea of doing a turkey bowl where we would take frozen turkeys, go into the church parking lot, and use them as bowling balls to knock down 2 L bottles of soda.
While at the time, it seemed like a harmless yet entertaining activity to do with students and ticked a few people in our community off. It's because it looked like the church was not being good stewards of resources that are not plentiful around the globe.
Now I know you can take this to extremes for sure. And I'm not sure where to precisely draw the line, but to say and encourage you to at least think this one through.
Maybe this Thanksgiving holiday season, you do not use frozen turkeys as bowling balls.
Thank you so much for what you do week in and week out for students in your community. It is a joy here at YM360 to resource and serve you, as a leader, as you carry out your calling to minister to students in your local context.