6 Ways We Have Fun As Students Walk Through Our Doors

We try hard to engage students with fun from the moment they walk in our doors. Here are a few things we do…

1. We have greeters to welcome everyone and we give them fun t-shirts to wear that say things like “High Five” and “Fist Bump”.

2. We ask fun “would you rather” questions as students walk in and then show the results later on the screen with opportunities to win prizes.

3. We have contests as students walk in like “guess the number of jelly beans” or “guess how much this watermelon weighs” and then we give them away later.

4. We hand out noise makers at the door. Sound annoying? If we did it every week it would be, but when we do it once in a while it creates a lot of fun energy.

5. We hand out glow sticks at the door and turn off the lights later.

6. If a new student walks through our doors we open our “candy cabinet” and watch their eyeballs explode. Every new student gets a full size candy bar as soon as they walk in.

Our goal is to break down walls as students walk in so they don’t have a chance to feel lonely, scared, or bored. We want to let them know that we care about them, that they are walking into a safe place, and we want to have fun with them.

 

What Do You Think?

Do you do anything fun as students walk into your environment? How do you make students feel welcome? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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  • T.J. Woodard

    Would love to hear more about #2, not necessarily examples of questions but how you are collecting/displaying answers and how that plays out later.

    • https://shop.stuffyoucanuse.org/ Kenny Campbell

      I knew people would want to know how we display results on the screen, and the reason I didn’t elaborate is because we had something built in-house. I literally searched and tried every polling website and software I could find, and nothing had the functionality of what I was looking for.

      If you want to see what we built you can view it here…
      http://shine.ms/poll/poll.php
      Username: kenny
      Password: crosspoint500

      I wanted the functionality to vote on the ipad with an easy 1 touch vote where the page doesn’t reload every vote. And then we needed to view it on the big screen with a dramatic “reveal” with an animated bar graph. So there it is. Unfortunately we don’t have a way to offer it to anyone else at this time. Maybe a developer out there would build it for us and we can offer it on this website? If that’s you, let me know!

      • Tabitha

        Has there been anything developed further where this might become available on your site? It is very cool :)

        • http://funninja.org/ Kenny Campbell

          Hi Tabitha,

          Not yet. I will be doing it soon though, hopefully before the end of 2013 I’ll have a functioning voting website available that will be made specifically with youth groups in mind.

  • Lori Mcdonald

    hey Kenny – we have a hard time getting students to our Senior High Programming. Senior High is really tough – they dont like to play games, ect … any ideas?

    • Josh Ward

      Hey Lori! I’m Josh, the creative elements/environments guy for the High School Ministry at The Chapel at Crosspoint (aka where Kenny works). Here is how we engage our students to come (and stay) at our gatherings. We like to start off with this question:

      How can we create an environment that is attractive to the unchurched, yet still spiritually helpful to those who are?

      For us, we’ve found that engaging students is by designing and enhancing the idea of small groups. And then challenging them to bring their friends! We’ve used incentives before by offering maybe free food or gift to first timers; We’ve also done random prize drawings with only the new kids’ names inside. But it is the push and dedication of our small group leaders that drive students to bring their friends and to keep on coming themselves.

      We put a lot of emphasis on our welcome center– whether it’s themed for the night or what not; it’s their first impression. And a student will have already decided within the first 5 mins of them being there if, whether or not, they will come back. We have dedicated leaders who greet them- and if they are new- learn their name, info, and make them comfortable.

      Lastly, our whole first hour is tailored to the typical high school student. We offer a very sociable environment through our cafe, game room and open gym. This allows kids to come early, talk to their friends, hang out and what high schooler isn’t attract to food? Also the type of music we play is a subtle way on having kids feel like their simply at a coffee shop.

      If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me at jward@thechapel.com! I’d be happy to talk to you about this more.

      • http://www.womeninyouthministry.com/ Gina Abbas

        Thanks for sharing this. I am currently working with high schoolers (after working with middle schoolers for a LONG time). It’s funny because half of them ask “why don’t we do games like the middle schoolers?” and the other half is so over games. We do a lot of on screen games, where HS students can participate or not…up to them. Also…Josh and Kenny…if you have small groups as part of your Sunday program, what do you do mid week? Just curious. We have a regular youth service on Sundays and home groups midweek. And for polling we use “Poll Everywhere” for now. It’s really fun!!

        • Josh Ward

          Hi Gina! We actually don’t have any programming for High Schoolers on Sunday Mornings. We push for our students to be active in serving in other ministries on Sundays.

          • http://www.womeninyouthministry.com/ Gina Abbas

            I don’t want to hijack this thread…but would love to read more about that if you ever blog about the pros and cons of that. A large church near me does that (no Sunday am for high schoolers….instead serve) and so many of their high schoolers show up at my Sunday am program because of it.

          • http://funninja.org/ Kenny Campbell

            Gina no worries, it’s all good – I love the conversation. I will write a post about it either tomorrow morning or Monday morning. Thanks for bringing it up, it’s a great topic.

          • http://funninja.org/ Kenny Campbell
        • http://funninja.org/ Kenny Campbell

          Our middle school group doesn’t meet mid week. We do everything on Sunday morning and have found that to be the best time for middle school ministry for a lot of reasons. Look for a blog post soon about why we chose Sunday morning as our only weekly gathering time for middle school.

    • http://funninja.org/ Kenny Campbell

      Hey Lori! – High School is definitely a tougher nut to crack. Josh has some good stuff to say, and I’d add that relationships are key. If you could find a group of college students or adults that love kids and want to pour into them along with you, that’s honestly the key. It’s tough to make specific suggestions because every context and culture is different, but I would encourage you to keep investing in kids and trying to create environments that they love coming to. That might not even be at your church, maybe the best environment is a house group or something, it really depends on your culture and context. And don’t be scared to take risks, have fun and keep doing what God has called you to! Your students are blessed to have someone that loves them and wants to see them grow in their relationship with God!

  • Jeff

    Did you have the t-shirts made or did you find them somewhere?

    • http://funninja.org/ Kenny Campbell

      We designed the t-shirts ourselves and use spreadshirt.com to print them. We use spreadshirt because they allow small quantities and a quick turn around. Every time we have a new person join the greeter team we order them a couple. The volunteer chooses the color and phrase.