It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We are less than 50 sleeps away from Christmas Day. And that means there’s only a 30-50 day window to throw your Youth Group Christmas Party. No matter where you are in the planning process, here are a few questions your team could consider that might just make this the best Christmas party in the history of your ministry!
How can we make the party as inclusive as possible?
As ministry leaders, I think we would always say that the party is meant for everyone. But I have learned from some very wise friends along the way that I naturally don’t consider what the experience might be like for every kid who walks through my doors. As a confident, loud, energetic partygoer myself, I don’t always consider what this experience might be like for the introverts in my group. I may intend for it to be a fun experience for guest.
But I haven’t always considered what insider language I am using, which automatically makes an outsider feel like an outsider. I’ve learned we also need to consider the kid who is walking in alone, and really doesn’t have friends in the youth group yet. If it’s a combined middle and high school party, how have I considered both the middle schoolers and high schoolers in the room? The kids who aren’t yet allowed to have social media and those who use it hourly?
How can this party strategically strengthen relationships?
Early in my ministry career, I was so focused on the Christmas party being fun that I never put enough thought into this question. Every event we host in youth ministry should help us move toward a bigger goal.
Let’s just say that goal is that every teenager would feel like they belong and are connected to a group of students their age and an adult who cares about their journey!
To prioritize this, maybe we need to consider the way they register for or let you know they are coming to the Christmas party. Maybe it’s planning the party around when your volunteer small group leaders can actually be there. It could be they register and arrive in their small groups. Maybe they find their small groups upon arrival, and you invite them to participate in fun activities with the people they already know. That way, you create a setting where students can be more comfortable with each other for future conversations in the new year.
How can I get my students to invite their friends?
One way to measure if our youth group is a place that teenagers feel safe to invite their friends is if they are already inviting their friends without you asking.
Christmas parties are a great “invest and invite” opportunity. But sometimes us ministry leaders can get so busy planning the party that we forget to put extra effort into something else.
How can we get a teenager to take that courageous step in inviting their friend to youth group?
I asked this question to a group of youth workers recently, and their answers were helpful and worth trying! They suggested inviting the students into the planning process so they had a stake in the outcome of the party. Involvement from your teens may just provide the detail or tweak that would make them want to bring a friend. Another leader suggested that we need to consider when we are scheduling our Christmas party. We need to ask ourselves if there is anything happening in the community, schools, or families that day/time of year that would compete. A big tournament game, another youth ministry Christmas party, the community Christmas festival/market, a school dance? Pick a time for the party when there is the least amount of competing for attendance!
How can I maximize fun and discipleship in the same event?
There isn’t a right way to do this. But here’s what we all need to be reminded of.
It’s okay for this to just be a party. After all, FUN is part of discipleship! Maybe the best thing a Christmas party can do is connect a kid to peers and an adult who cares about them, so they might be more willing to engage in conversations about faith in the future.
A strategic Christmas party is thinking about what’s next. What is this Christmas party setting the stage for? How will you invite them into what’s next? Maybe there is one thing, maybe there are three. How can you make that invitation to what’s next engaging and fun without sounding like a list of announcements at the end of the party? This can easily sound more like “please come back.”
Ready to start planning your Christmas party? We’ve got you!
Download our FREE CHRISTMAS PARTY PLAN and GRAPHICS here!