Youth Ministry “Trick” #6

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My first five “tricks” were pretty serious, even heavy.  The honest truth is that most of Youth Ministry is not all that serious.  Don’t get me wrong, the most important parts are very serious.  Most of what I do is pretty light hearted, and, often times, down right hilarious and more fun than a person should be allowed to have while getting paid.  But we must keep in mind that all the fun stuff is not the end.  They’re a means to an end.

One thing the Youth Leader can do to build excitement and foster some camaraderie is to have traditions.  I know, this word can be evil for us fundamentalists, but I’m not telling you to put up idols in your youth room.  I’m talking about having a few things, that have little to no spiritual value, that become regular occurences.  Events or awards that just become a part of youth group life.

Every month we give out the “Bonehead of the Month” award.  We recognize embarrassing and/or brain dead moments.  It helps to have Heather a few blondes.  If you’re thinking that we’re having fun at someone else’s expense, you would be absolutely right.  But I am compassionate enough to not publicly embarrass my shy, insecure kids.  You have to know who can take it and who can’t.  It is a very special month when one of our adult volunteer staff “wins”.  It’s epic when the BBQthDirector is the recipient.

Barring some legendary act of boneheaded-ness, I’ll probably be April’s Bonehead of the Month.  Just the other day, I ran over my crutches (I’m still babying the ankle).  But cut me some slack here.  It’s a chore climbing up into my 3/4 ton Dodge 2500 van.  I propped the crutches up against the side of the van, pulled myself in, then got distracted by the young people I would be transporting out into the community for soul winning.  Forgot about the crutches (which BBQ Boy I calls kick stands)!  I was backing out of the parking spot and felt a bit of a bump.  I got out to check things out, and there were my crutches, still under the front tire!  An everyday, innocent mistake, dontcha think?  Especially in comparison to what one of my girls did not five minutes later.  She was, literally, skipping along, all happy-go-lucky, when a curb appeared out of nowhere and tripped her.  I wasn’t there to witness this classic moment, but the eye-witness reports confirmed that she ate it baaaaad!  She even skinned her knee!  But you know what they say: “It’s only funny until someone gets hurt … then it’s hilarious!”  So, I guess I’m not exactly a shoe-in for Bonehead of the Month.

p72500052One of our big traditions is the “Ugly Banquet”.  This farewell-to-summer tradition has evolved some through the years, but the basic ideas have held strong: dress as ugly as you can for a $20 grand prize, eat, and re-live the year’s memories.  Many teens go thrift store hopping, which is a blast in and of itself.  Others will find stuff at yard sales and such through the year and hang on to their digs ’till the appointed time.  The big draw is the slide show.  Back in the day, it would be about 35-40 pictures shown through those old skewl slide projectors (it was quite costly to turn pictures into slides).  Now, with the advent of digital cameras and PowerPoint, we are able to re-live 250-300 pictures worth of youth group memories.  It’s all capped off with a countdown of the year’s top ten classic moments and my fave five fotos.  I guess we do get a bit spiritual with this one.  I usually end with a message to try to help them to also remember the commitments they’ve made through the year.

There’s a few more things that we think of as Lighthouse “signature” items.  We always take a big “family portrait” after camp.  We really like to take pictures, and through the years, “everyone look different directions” was a traditional pose.  Jumping pictures are the new rage.  Back in the day, when we still did winter retreat, stopping for root beer floats or freezes was a definite must after a sleepless night up on the mountain.  We used to initiate the incoming freshmen, but now we cheer wildly as the new maggots first step into “Teen Church”.  I don’t know exactly why we do it, but it’s a tradition.

I love our traditions.  It helps make us … uh, traditional….

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12 comments so far

  1. S.J. on

    *looks at picture* Jay, I hate u.

  2. Naenae on

    I am laughing really hard right now! Oh the memories! 🙂 The pic at the top, classic. I loved Ugly Banquet, especially all the crazy looks you would get as you were headed there. I have many “Family Portraits”. I am so glad we have such great memories with you! 🙂

  3. Becka on

    Wonderful pictures. lol I have some pretty scary ones of Ugly Banquet. I loved it so much that I was trying to get Matt to do one here, but he didn’t seem sold on the idea. We are going to have an end of the year banquet at a restaraunt this year (probably formal/ semi-formal), and hopefully make it a tradition, but nothing will ever compare to the “funness” of UB. I especially liked re-watching the old Video Scavenger Hunt movies (well except for the embarrassing edition when I was a loud-mouthed ninth grader).

    Good one, driving over your “kick stands.” lol And someone should train those curbs to stay where they belong!

  4. jaynepomuceno on

    S.J., you requested a pic with your eyes open. There ya go!

    Renae, I’ll bet you got some looks. I remember sprinting out to the van from the house. Didn’t want the neighbors to get the wrong idea.

    Becka, can’t blame Matt. It’s definitely different. Works for us, might flop a whole bunch of other places. Actually, the first one I did was pretty much a flop. The older ones didn’t really like it. As a matter of fact, the older ones didn’t really like anything I did. You know what, the older ones didn’t like ME for that matter. But I saw the potential, and 12 years later, here we are! You and Brittany came through with one of my favorite outfits of all time (siamese twins).

  5. Becka on

    Okay, that siamese twin idea was fun, but it sure was hot and really annoying to have only one hand to do stuff! lol Never again. lol Actually, I think it would work for our teens here. They are just quirky and odd enough to think it would be fun. lol But, then again, it might diminish my memories! lol I guess we’ll stick to regular banquest.

  6. zaza on

    Miriams’ skirt is way ugly! wait, that was our uniforms! *oops* lol. just kidding. i had a closet full of them and then after graduation i had a garbage full of them. lol.

    UB fun times! never won, though. sad to say, maybe it should be ‘glad to say’. anyways, wasnt there like a place where we could take pics? like wasn’t there a toilet bowl and we would take group pics? or am i just mixing up my memories?? help! lol.

    i guess it would work for ppl who were at lighthouse…if i was visiting a church & heard their promo for an UB i would’ve that they were all crazy! lol.

  7. Naenae on

    you are correct Zaz. Although I think that was the first year, we always had a “photobooth” for those “cute” pics. 🙂 one year it was all toilet papered out!

  8. Becka on

    It was the very first year that there was the toilet bowl.

  9. jaynepomuceno on

    Oh, man, Becka you’re right about the summer heat. I’ve pretty much given up on the crazy suits. It’s just way too hot.

    Zaza, I think that picture was the year Aleassa came straight up in her school uniform. No embellishing or accessorizing. Cracked me up! She was the very first one to do that.

    And, yes, the photobooth is still a tradition. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find an available toilet since the first couple UBs.

  10. jenmarie on

    lol, we could just set up the nearby bathroom as a photo booth…wouldn’t work for the fam photo though, don’t think we could all fit in there…

  11. jaynepomuceno on

    Jen, I think we could find a way!

  12. Jane on

    Wow….only a “Sarahjane” could pull off something so bold! Sassy….that pic is just smashing! =D


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