Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rethinking Big Events

Two years ago when I began leading the junior high ministry at RMCC, I was in the office barely a week when we embarked on a huge road trip from Phoenix to Six Flags Magic Mountain. We had four huge tour busses and around 150 junior high students. It was big.

Two years later, we're embarking on the same trip. And I have the smallest number of junior highers attending than any other event or retreat I've been a part of here at RMCC.

Now, I'll be the first to agree that it's not about numbers. But this is such a significant shift that it's caused me to wonder why so few students aren't excited about a big event. Was it my communication? Was it the economy and financial issues? Was it the timing on the calendar? Was it the intended purpose of the event (outreach and inviting non-churched friends)?

It may be a combination of all those things, but I believe there's something beneath the surface: big crazy ministry events aren't all that attractive any more, especially when compared to genuine community. Some of the girls were commenting to a small group leader how they'd feel more comfortable bringing their friends to church and their small group, not to a trip to Magic Mountain. They feel like the youth group context would be safer and more welcoming than an elaborate road trip.

Small is the new big isn't anything new; people have been promoting that for years. But it's always interesting to see how concepts play out in a real-life setting.

And if you think about it, be praying for the Maywards as we embark on this not-so-big trip today through Saturday.

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