4 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Experience

Students are spending their money (and they have a lot of it) more on experiences than on possessions.  This is what I read recently in an article on the HomeWord.com website.

I know, fascinating, but what does this have to with youth ministry?

I think a lot actually.  In fact this simple piece of information, experience over possession should be shaping how you do ministry. 

Here is the key, your students want to experience God.

Does your youth ministry help to make that happen.  I don’t mean you giving them information or safe environments or fun.  What I am talking about is creating a space where students can experience God.

Here are 4 ideas to create experience atmospheres

  1. Stations

One of the best things that I as a youth pastor is introduce my students to the Stations of the Cross.  We would do it every year around Easter.

The idea is that you have 12 stations set up throughout the space that you meet.  Each station has an interactive component that helps students experience a part of the Easter story.

If you want to see what is needed to run it and how it looks check out this website.  It would not cost you much money, but it does require some time and effort to set up.  However, it is worth it.  I have found that these nights do more for students understanding what Jesus did on the cross then any sermon I could preach.

  1. Taken

Imagine this.  It is just another typical youth night.  Things are going well when a bunch of guys come in and kidnap your group.  They transport the students to an unknown location.  The students would be confused, even scared.  Then someone gets up and begins to talk about the persecuted church.

I promise you that your students would never forget that night.  Also they would have experienced just a little of what the persecuted church experiences.

  1. Hammer

Instead of talking about forgiveness, instead of having students just pray about experience, try this.

On a piece of paper they write down something that they would like God to forgive them for.  They then come to the front and nail the piece of paper to a cross.  They then can pray and thank God for His forgiveness.

  1. Giving

One year Halloween fell on our youth night.  So as a youth ministry we went door to door and instead of asking for candy we gave the homes a gift.  We had put together a little package of useful things for each home.

Other times we have gone out and shovelled walks, raked lawns and picked up garbage.  It is in the midst of giving and serving that so many students can experience God.

Students are wanting experiences so help them experience God.

Question: What ideas do you have for helping students experience God?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.