Halloween is a time where we want to fill our local communities with the light of God and splice through the darkness with the truth. Here are some ideas to help the youth feel like they aren’t missing out on the fun, get their friends involved and impact the community at Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

1) Light Festival

“Ending the night with fireworks, the Night of 1100 Lights pours light across the town but we focus on showing the love and splendour of God! We want to show that light really does overcome the darkness!” – Jo, Friend of Reign

Lots of churches are doing light and bright parties but why not make it a bit more hip with the youth? Ask the worship team or some of the musical if they can play some live music. Dress up in light, bright and sparkly costumes.

Maybe set a theme such as sparkles, glow, multi colours or maybe superheroes. You could make cosy winter drinks and set up some interactive stations around the church.

Fancy making a church-wide event? See if there is an outdoor space where the community can come along. Set up some games, music and food then fill the space with all the lights! St. Paul’s Weston hosts an amazing event called “1100 Lights”.

 

Check it out here.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Trick or Treat with a Twist

The church was built to get involved with the community and meet people where they are even if they are in darkness. Why not open the church up to Trick or Treaters, always giving treats of something yummy with words of encouragement attached to it. Fill the front of the church with fairy lights and lanterns.

Parents will probably be thankful for not having to knock on strangers doors and for non-scary costumes. It also will help the community to see youth are actually quite awesome and not as scary as they may think!

 

 

 

 

 

3) Pumpkin Lanterns

Pumpkins are normally scarily decorated but the humble pumpkin is such a yummy seasonal vegetable and makes the most beautiful lanterns when decorated with stars, lots of diamond shapes and crosses. The carvings can glimmer light onto your walls, make pretty outdoor decorations for a nighttime roasted marshmallow fire or show the community the incredible light in Jesus.

Help to reduce waste by mustering up a pumpkin soup with the insides and give it to a charity who help the homeless, or just enjoy it all together. You can make an autumnal evening of it with music, snacks and winter warmers.

 

 

 

 

 

4) Tour of Surprises

Do a daytime event on a weekend or during half term with a tour of surprises. Make a tour of the local community and arrange for the youth to receive a surprise activity, item or clue at each stop. They could also give something at each stop.

Choose 4 or 5 places such as a hospital, charity, pier, park with a pre-organised game, ice skating rink.

 

 

 

 

 

5) Harvest

Harvest is such a magical time in the calendar, with a celebration of our food and giving thanks to others. Make a celebration day or evening with fun events. Ask everyone to bring something for the local FoodBank, you could even ask to help the FoodBank organise their collections. You could do a ready steady cook dinner with teams and find some seasonal fruit, veg and staples to make a yummy dinner and eat all together. You can integrate with some fun autumn games.

 

Sometimes it can feel like the youth and the church are disconnected from each other. Here are 5 simple ways to help your youth and the church develop a relationship and feel more connected.

Our students, friends and team share some tips and tricks to help the church and youth feel more connected to each other (they may also help to get in more volunteers!)

Prayer can not only help grow our faith as it encourages us to be in conversation with God and seek His help, but it also helps us to think about what we pray.

By encouraging the church or leadership team to pray for specific things within your young people’s lives and praying with the youth for other aspects of the church, helps us to think of eachother and feel more connected.

Because prayer invites testimony, praying for each other helps the church feel connected and invites spiritual and numerical growth to happen.

It may require us to keep updated in what is going on across all congregations, teams and individual people within the church but it will also help the youth and members of the church to have something to talk about.

We believe discipleship and growing youth ministry is all about being relational, that it is more than just a programme.

Youth ministry thrives for relationships helping them with their spiritual adventure. Help the church to see that youth ministry isn’t just a programme but a place to see the youth’s relationship with Jesus grow by being relational and working as a community!

We are near enough born for relationships and connecting with others. Christian author, Stasi Eldredge, says;

Part of discipleship is being overseen by a spiritual parent. One of the best ways to see youth and church members disciple others is by seeing how healthy discipleship works from your example.

Encourage your team to spark conversation with the youth and be real, help show the church the youth are wanting a relationship with God and connection with the community and no one is too old for getting down with the youth!

Inviting people in to talk to the youth about their testimony or have a go at serving on the youth team is a great way to help the youth get to know people in the church and know who they are.

Often, I felt the youth got a bit bored with my voice and having someone fresh to talk to help inspire them. They may feel like someone else in the church inspires them with their faith more or their story may resonate.

When someone comes to faith often they feel motivated to serve and help others, sometimes serving helps us to come to faith because we see generosity, love and relationship. The Bible inspires us to serve, and joy can come to us through helping.

Asking the youth to help serve on a team will not only make the teams super grateful but will help the youth to build relationships with people in the church and with God. Working together can be fun, starts a conversation and helps us to feel part of something.

It also helps the youth to see the generosity of the volunteers helping and maybe help them to respect you. Serving on a team can be so life-giving and gives all the feel-good vibes!

Many studies have found having a mentor helps people massively in all aspects of life, especially teenagers. According to research from 2008, having a healthy mentor-style relationship during teenage years helps to reduce the likelihood of substance abuse, promotes better mental health, increases confidence, betters academic performance and improves family relationships. This relationship helps youth to feel listened to, supported and increases personal relationships.

So many of our students are inspired by people in the church who mentored them or invested time into their spiritual journey. This helps to ignite a passion to do the same.

Alex, who is currently studying on the Degree says; “Because people discipled me and invested into my life, I want to do the same for others. I want to be the person who invests into others and helps the to grow in their relationship with God.”

If you feel they are able, it may be good for the youth to mentor someone else. Maybe there is a younger person in the youth who would benefit with a mentor in your youth group.

Action!

Finding a Mentor – Ask the church if there is anybody who would like to be a mentor for one of the young people and to sign up in whichever way is easiest for your context. Then you may be able to see people who would suit mentoring a specific young person in the group.

Sam, Friend of Reign

We hope this gave you some inspiration! For more resources, stories and information check out our blog and website

*With all these suggestions make sure you keep on track with safeguarding and DBS. Speak to a church leader if you need any help with this. Have fun!

Welcome to ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

“When we were younger we had a really inspiring youth leader – actually my auntie – we had a very mixed youth group. Many of us weren’t Christians at the time and she loved us anyway and did life with us. She loved being with us and was there for everything. I guess I wanted to do what she did for us for other young people. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be walking with Jesus today. I love being a youth leader – you get to hang out with young people and be a kid again too!” – Olivia Dicksons, York

 Click here to read more stories like Olivia’s.

Follow this link to hear more about the course.

 

In this, our third and final podcast, we talk with Reign Ministries Director, Kyle McKinnon and youth practitioners Brad Laing, Meghan Murphy and Sam Williams, as well as researcher Phoebe Thompson about the implications of the Losing Heart report for youth ministry training organisations.

If you have a heart to change the trend in your local context and could use support and training, contact us to see how we could help prepare you to develop an effective, disciple-making ministry in your church or youth project.

 

Today’s podcast is fifteen minutes long.

 

The team at Youthscape Centre for Research surveyed over 2000 churches regarding their youth and children’s work.  It’s key three findings are that:

  1. Churches, especially smaller ones, do more children’s work than youth work.
  2. Churches are failing to talk about the topics young people want to discuss.
  3. Churches know that they are struggling with their children’s and youth work but don’t know how to fix it.

The Losing Heart report suggested a crisis of confidence that churches have in their ability to reach young people.

Yesterday we began our podcast series with researcher, Phoebe Thompson sharing a summary of the Losing Heart report.  If you missed yesterday’s introduction podcast, you can listen to here.

In todays podcast we discus the report with a team of youth ministers.  We discuss how the church can better prepare itself to receive youth, and the role of the volunteer in the future of youth ministry.  Today’s podcast is 15 minutes long.

 

 

In December 2016 a sobering report was released by Youthscape Centre for Research.  It highlighted the crisis of confidence that churches are having about their ability to engage young people.

Many simply can’t seem to provide any youth work or don’t have any young people left to work with, and it’s hard to know what comes first: young people leaving the church, or a lack of youth provision. For many of these churches, the workers are few and they are losing heart and confidence.

Losing Heart Report, Page 8

Since our heartbeat at Reign Ministries is to train youth ministers and volunteers and spark movements of discipleship among young people we thought it imperative to sit down with researcher Phoebe Thompson and discuss her findings.  We’ve broken our podcast into three parts which we will run over the next three days.

If you would like to read the research for yourself you can download it at:  https://www.youthscape.co.uk/research/publications/losing-heart

Today’s podcast is just over eight minutes long.

Welcome to our series ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

“I began thinking about youth when I started my gap year at church. I started university but was put on a different course that I had applied for and so I came back not knowing what to do. My youth worker at the time offered me some work with her at the church. We had an amazing youth service one night and I thought ‘I really want to do this all the time’ and so I started looking at where and how I could study youth work. There weren’t many colleges near me that I could do this so the format of Reign Ministries really worked for me. I wanted to stay at the church I was at too.
What I love is that I didn’t have any training but young people were telling me that what I was doing was ‘amazing’ and ‘fun’ and they loved it so that encouraged me to pursue the degree. One young boy in the youth asked if he could help run an evening so just seeing his passion growing made me realise how valuable what I was doing is.” – Pippa, UK

 Click here to read more stories like Pippa’s.

Follow this link to hear more about the course.

Year three student Annabel Stott brought four young people from St. Francis Church in Doncaster to Moldova with us last week.  Here are her reflections on how the trip will transform those who participated:

 

“…The five of us from Doncaster were part of a much larger group totalling 19 from England; Scotland, Portugal and America…

As this was the first time that we have taken a group from this church away on a mission trip, it felt important to take a group of young leaders who could be influential in our own mission and ministry back home in Doncaster; with the hope that the trip would inspire them to come back and be role models for the younger youth in our church and community. Who knows, hopefully next year we will take even more out to Moldova! For all of them this was their first mission trip, for a few it was the first time away from home and for a couple the first time out of the country, so don’t feel like you have to be well travelled to join one of these trips! The experience has completely changed their lives and they have all come home more inspired and much bolder.

At the start of the trip we flew out to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova to meet with the OM (Operation Mobilisation) team and to prepare for the culture that we were to submerse ourselves in for the next week. The following day we headed out to Bravicea, a village 2 hours away from the capital to join a church which was to be our base for the week of ministry; there were mixed emotions and nerves at this point from the team but we already felt like we had known each other for more than the three days we had been together, with so much morale and positivity going around!

From this base we went out to deliver food parcels and do home visits to vulnerable members of the community in the villages of Bravicea, Schinoasa and Hoginesti. The home visits were a very challenging part of the trip for many of the group as they opened our eyes to the extremely poor conditions that most of the people in these villages were living in.

In the winter in Moldova, people often use only one or two rooms in their houses in order to stay warm and keep the house heated during the freezing months. This presented a challenge when we tried to fit a good 15 people into one bedroom (and some funny pictures too!), but these spaces were also where we had the opportunity to spread hope, hear people’s stories, speak words of truth over people from the Bible, pray for healing and salvations. During the week the team saw 10 healings and 12 salvations…how amazing is that! This was such an encouragement to us as looked at our own communities and ministries back in the UK.

As well as home visits we also participated in church services, youth services and kids clubs where we shared testimonies and a word, did games and activities and prayed for the churches and their members. This was such a fun way to get involved with the communities as we could see how God was working and pulling people together for his common good.

We were blessed with amazing accommodation and food for the whole trip; the OM centre and the church in Bravicea were incredible examples of how to be hospitable. One of the main things we saw from this trip was how generous the people of Moldova are as they continuously wanted to serve us and extend generosity and hospitality to us. For example, a lady in her 80’s who was so filled with joy ensured that all 11 of us were seated in her bedroom before she sat on a tiny stool with us! As well as this, an inspiring group of ladies from the village cooked for us all three times a day everyday to ensure we were prepared to go out and do ministry; they not only served us but loved on us too. One girl on the trip turned 15 mid-week and as the UK leaders frantically rushed out to a local shop to find a cake, they returned to plates of ice cream, baskets of chocolates and biscuits, fizzy pop and TWO gigantic homemade cakes! A definitive picture of love and generosity from such humble women.

One of the biggest encouragements from this trip was seeing young people from three groups across the UK (plus a couple ‘nomads’ and an American!) come together under one name; Reign Ministries UK, without really knowing each other but with one heart and purpose; to love the people of Moldova, to love God and connect the two together. As a leader on this trip, I found it inspiring watching these young people join with one vision and an endless stream of passion to join in God’s mission for a week in a country that most of them had never been to. They served, the stepped out, they showed great faith and most of all they never stopped loving. They never stopped loving Moldova, they never stopped loving each other and they never stopped loving God. Their love just grew

I have tried to summarise this trip in several ways, yet the only way I seem to find most fitting is with this statement that we focused on in our devotions during the week; it became the heart beat for our ministry and will stick with us as we continue to serve God back home.

 

‘I am deeply loved by God, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, powerfully equipped, totally accepted and complete in Christ.’

 

As this sunk into our hearts it spread out into our ministry and my prayer is that it continues to do that here in the UK.

If you, or a young person you know feels they want to step out in seeing God work across Europe, to be inspired and to become part of a team family, then definitely consider a trip to Moldova with Reign Ministries UK! Our Doncaster team hope to return next year, if not sooner! Get in touch with Reign Ministries UK or myself if you want to know more.”

 

Welcome to our new series ‘Friends of Reign’ where we’ll share the latest stories from our students, teachers, staff members and more. Discover the heart of what we desire, what drives us and how we aim to strive for God’s best in every young person we encounter.

“I think the thing about young people that gets me passionate about working with them is my own story. Growing up, I never really had anyone around like a youth worker or someone influential in my life that I could look up and say ‘yeah, this is someone that I admire or want to be like’. I think that drives me because I wish I had that when I was growing up so that makes me passionate to be that for young people. To be someone they look up to, someone who is there for them and someone they can journey with. That’s the main reason I want to mentor and help young people but when I was at university I began to see the world through God’s eyes. Many of the people I was around were just completely lost. We have different values and different ways that we lived and I just felt desperate to show them Jesus. I wanted them to know God.”
– Tilly, London, UK