You’re busy and Easter is upon us! I thought I’d give you a few tips to create a great Easter Gathering. Maybe this will put some time back in the margins for you and give you an opportunity to do some self-care or simply spend some time going to a basketball game at the local high school.
I assume since this is an Easter gathering—you will be talking about the Resurrection of Christ. I highly recommend picking songs that will lead people to reflecting on past talks about the death of Christ and to ponder the magnitude of the resurrection. The Resurrection is a topic that gets confusing for students, because of the amount of theology that is often included, so using songs, videos and other objects can be helpful in illuminating the idea. We will get to the sermon a bit later in this blog post. However, I wanted to start by giving you an idea first for a mixer, a game, songs and then finally, I’ll leave you with an idea for a talk.
Typically, I plan a service like this (feel free to move the order or add things relative to your context and church culture):
Host welcomes and explains the mixer.
Host comes back up to explain game.
Mixers are great because they get everyone involved. Let’s be honest with one another, we all have that kid in our student ministries that is picked for everything. A mixer gets everyone involved and gives you an opportunity to make some kid a hero. When you have a winner of the mixer, bring her or him on stage, and give your students an opportunity to celebrate the winner. When a student is celebrated, that is a WIN in student ministry.
Where My Peeps?
Create a list of nouns that are pop-culture relevant. Place those words on stickers or printable labels and pass them out to each student as they walk in the door. DO NOT LET THEM LOOK AT THE STICKER NOR ASK A FRIEND TO TELL THEM WHAT IT IS. Once everyone is in the room and has a label on their back, play some music and have them go around and ask “yes” or “no” questions about the word on their back. The object is to guess what label is on your back before anyone else. Each student may only ask 2 or 3 questions per person until moving on to someone else. I have created a list already, keep in mind that this list was created for a church I was working at in Chicago so some of the stuff may not be relevant to your context. The winner gets a box of peeps (gross), make sure you use this as another opportunity to make a kid feel like a HERO. Bring the student on stage and have everyone applaud them.
Get that Jelly in my Belly.
Call up four people to fish jellybeans out of a bowl of whipped cream. Have two sitting in a chair doing the fishing and have two lying down on their back in front of them. The person that successfully gets the most jellybeans in their partner’s mouth wins!
For the first song, I will have the band play some pop-culture song that is relevant to the talk that evening. I know for some contexts and church cultures this is a taboo and there is some credence to forgoing the use of secular music in your service, if this is the case. However, I found that it is a great way to break down walls and barriers that students often associate with Church. Students that are new to the notion of a faith journey often have dogmatic misconceptions of what a relationship with Jesus entails. By playing a song from pop-culture you’re allowing space for their misconception (and walls) to crumble, and their heart to soften to a relationship (with both you, the leader, and more importantly Jesus).
So here are some songs and charts I’d use.
These lyrics are perfect for a talk on resurrection. I’m sure you can find TAB somewhere.
This song makes me want to boogie and worship, I call it “boworship.”
This song is so emotive and points to Jesus’ empowerment of his people through the resurrection.
This song captures the Easter message so well, “Over everything, our redemption—God with us.”
Finally the talk; It’s an obscure concept to explain that Jesus is risen from the dead both physically and spiritually, that then He appeared to His followers (first Mary Magdalene), proceeded to have an entire meal of food and finally ascended to the right hand of God (according to Luke’s account). The Resurrection is the catalyst of Christian empowerment; it is also all about movement. Matthew’s account leaves us with a lovely cliffhanger at the end while quoting Jesus, saying “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Those words at the end of Matthew are the crux of the resurrection. While, in verse 18 of Matthew 28, some of the disciples doubted, Jesus continued to draw near to them calling them towards their goal of “making disciples of all nations.” This is the purpose of the resurrection, that we are gifted with the sweet spirit of Jesus that leads us to pursue others, the same way that Jesus continues to pursue us with the Resurrection. The labels that we bring to the empty tomb–those we place our identity in, “lost, broken, unworthy, failure, too young, ugly, overweight, unloved, child of a single parent, hypocrite, loser” are suddenly replaced with the empowerment of Jesus. For us, as followers we are allowed to be who God has designed us to be, “known, loved, cared for, missional, peacemaker, dweller, justice bringer, alive, and risen.” To bring this point home, I would hand out nametags and have students write one word describing how they really see themselves and to then place it in their pocket. At the end of the sermon, have them scratch it out and rename it with an adjective that describes how God sees them.
To bring this point home, I would hand out name tags and have students write one word describing how they really see themselves and to then place it in their pocket. At the end of the sermon, have them scratch it out and rename it with an adjective that describes how God sees them. I hope this gives you some ideas for a sermon on the resurrection. What are some verses you’ve used? What games help set up an eggcelent (see what I did there?) student ministry gathering?
EDIT: I love using a bumper video before a talk, I particularly like this one.