Like most people, I love this time of the year, partly because two of my favorite youth clubs happen during the holidays. The first club is for thanksgiving. We set up a long table in the middle of our youth room and have a pot luck thanksgiving-style meal together. We started this a few years ago and I basically told our high school students that I would provide the turkey and mashed potatoes, everything else was on them to bring. I think the first year we had turkey, mashed potatoes and then twenty different desserts. But since that first year it has become a club that our students look forward to and have now started cooking their own family recipes and bringing them. We hold hands as we bless the meal and sit and eat as a family would. “pass the turkey and, whatever that is, please.” Then we go around the table and share what we are thankful for. I typically go first to set the tone, but the students (well, most of the students) take it very seriously and truly share what they are thankful for.
The second club is our “Dock the Holidays” club (our youth group is called the Dock). We have a neighborhood around us that takes pride in everyone going full Griswold with Christmas lights during the Christmas season. The city is actually in the middle of widening the road to help with the traffic this causes around the neighborhood. I borrow a trailer from a member of our church, fill it with hay and Christmas lights, load it up with students once we get there and drive around looking at the lights, blasting Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate and throwing out candy canes. We also use this time to get all decked out in our ugly Christmas sweaters.
Other times throughout the year we have clubs where the Lord shows up and students lives are changed and those moments are by far my favorite and why I love youth ministry. But there is something special to me about these two clubs that offer our students that community, that family that some of them don’t have at home. The Lord shows up in this way, too.