We had a good, but interesting, weekend. We kicked off a month-long experiment of seating students around tables instead of in rows. For years and years, this practice was a habit of our high school ministry and we never had the room to do it in our JH meeting space. Plus, I liked the idea of holding it back so when students entered the high school program it felt new and different...."Wow, we get to sit around tables instead of in rows!". I'm not sure they ever really got that excited about it, but that was my hope. But in our new building, the high school auditorium won't accommodate tables due to the sloped floor and fixed seating, and our JH room is plenty large so we decided to take an old high school strategy and try it in our JH program.
Even though it will be much more work to find the appropriate number of adult table leaders, write some discussion questions around our lessons etc. there really is a TON of potential with the tables. Our program instantly felt smaller, more relational, more 'visitor friendly' and it gave way more ownership to our volunteer leaders. I'm not sure we will make it a permanent fixture in our program, but it does have some promise.
ATTENDANCE: Attendance was a little low...still feels like families are in a holiday hangover of sorts.
FUN FACTOR: The program was super minimal; a game, a fun "Top 10" list and music. We bolstered the program a bit by adding some table interaction. Overall it was a really fun weekend.
LESSON: We didn't have a lesson. Instead, we handed out a short survey to get to know our students better which included questions like favorite movie, favorite radio station, how often they come to church, what they would like to learn about, have they ever invited a friend, etc. We also gave them a little New Year's Self Assessment that they filled out for themselves and put in a self-addressed envelope which we will mail back to them in 6 months so they can be reminded of some of the goals they set etc. Next week we will kick off a 3-week series on friendships.
MUSIC: Once a month our band is led entirely by high schoolers. While the quality is usually higher, I never enjoy it as much as when our junior highers lead.
VOLUNTEER INVOLVEMENT: It was really high this week primarily because sitting around tables forced them to be more proactive with students which was cool.