BY: CHRIS RATHBONE
A few years ago I was watching Jimmy Fallon and I had the thought “why is this so entertaining?” I noticed that he was doing simple everyday things that were really funny. Up to this point the entertainment part of our services was the game time. I have never enjoyed this. There was nothing wrong with it and my students seemed to be somewhat entertained by it but it was not great. So what was Jimmy doing that was so great?
He was himself. The best part about his show is his personality that showed through in every segment that he did. So I started to plan segments in my services that I enjoyed. I no longer had to stand up there and pretend that my game was super fun, I could now stand up and do a segment without it being forced. When we made this change we noticed that everyone was more engaged in the service and carried on into our worship and message.
Here some ideas of what we have done, but before I get to that understand this thought: your pastor hired you because he thought you were the best fit for your group. So don’t force things. If games are not your thing then don’t do them. (I have a leader do the games for me) If you don’t like something then don’t do it. You will be way better at something you like then faking something you can’t stand. Be yourself. Chances are your students like you, so don’t be some other guy when you take the stage.
Every week I pick a few segments and string them together to make up the fun part of our service. Honestly, I don’t spend hardly any time on this stuff. Each segment has a bumper video to introduce it so there is a flow to the service. Without the bumper videos transitions can be awkward. Here are a few examples.
Youtube Video of the Week: We do this one almost every week. I simply find a video that I think is funny and we watch it. It’s pretty simple but the key to this segment is the commentary. I basically try to recreate a scene of friends watching funny youtube video together. When you have someone on stage with you, as a co-host, it helps with all the segments.
Bible Trivia Crack: Often we piggy back on what is popular at the time. We took the popular Trivia Crack game and made the question relate to the Bible App reading plan we are all doing. It helps us remind the students to do their reading plan in a non-nagging way.
Weird News: I search for strange current events and read the story. It helps if you can tie it into your message or announcements somehow. Sometimes we show a video of the news clip.
Amazon Reviews: We have only done this one a few times but when we do it the students love it. We find strange reviews on amazon.com and read them. Search for “Sugar Free Haribo Gummy Bears” and “Samsung UN105S9 Curved 105-Inch 4K Ultra HD”. These reviews are really funny.
Birthdays: We recognize birthdays every week. If a student has a birthday they get free stuff from our cafe and we sing to them in a new and exciting way.
Mondays At 4:15: We just started this segment. One of my students is very funny so one day we decided to shoot a “TV Show” every Monday. Each week we invite a special guest to do an activity with us. We have done Dude Perfect trick shots, eaten atomic wings, and our next episode we are going to record our 40 yard dash times. It is stupid and pointless but it gives me an opportunity to spend time with some students and they enjoy it.
Awesome April: I am terrible at games so I put one of my leaders in charge of coming up with a game. The only thing we did that was different was have a really cheesy bumper video for her when her game started.
So take this and run with it. We are not doing anything revolutionary here. These take a little time upfront to plan but once you have the idea and the bumper videos made you just spend a little time each week updating them. Is this stuff important? Not really in big picture but these little things can help make a service memorable. And when your service is not forgotten you will get a chance to minister to them the next week.
Click HERE to see all of the bumper videos.
Chris Rathbone is the Student Pastor at Eastland Assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also oversees all media and production for the church. If not at the church Chris is probably at the lake not catching fish, cheering on his beloved Golden Hurricane, or spending time with his wife Cara and daughter Claire.