Angela Hamrick

Back to Life Teen: 5 Kickoff Ideas for Your Youth Group

New clothes. New notebooks. Sharpened number 2 pencils. College football. It’s back to school time, and for many of us, back to Life Nights.

Launching Life Teen each fall was like a fresh start for our ministry. There would be a new class of freshmen and a new class of Core Members. I wanted our first night to have a strong start. What does strong look like, though? Does it mean relevant? Bigger and better? Free food or quality free food? What about shiny and attractive?

While all these things may help attract teens, as we begin another year, let’s keep our true goal at the forefront. As one principal at a local high school liked to quote, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

The movement of Life Teen is about bringing teens to Jesus.

So, as you plan to kick-off another year, be sure that whatever you are doing is going to help teens encounter Christ. Be excellent in the things that matter.

All that said, you probably have a number of kick-off nights sitting in Spotlights or Curriculum Guides in your office. While there are some Life Nights that were written specifically for kicking off a new year, many times I found the first night of a catechetical semester was the perfect way for my parish to start. If you are still in need of ideas, though, I’ve dug into the Life Teen vaults to bring you a list of kick-off Life Nights that might help you launch in the right direction:

1. Are You Cereal?

This is written as a social night, not specifically as a kick-off night, but it’s a great way to help your teens to bond as small groups. Plus, cereal is tasty, relevant, and budget friendly. Download here.

2. Back to Basics

This kick-off night is themed around a basic training boot camp. If you and your youth are happy to be active (think: army crawl and water games), this might be a great night. Consider donating all the food used in activities to those who are hungry. Download here.

3. Office Olympics

This night probably hit its peak when The Office sitcom was on-air and popular. If it was also an Olympic year, it was like jackpot. However, this night has some great activities and ideas. Your creative Core Team can probably tweak it to make it a gold medal winning kick off. Download here.

4. Parking-Lot-Palooza

This night is perfect if you have a tailgating or cookout community. This night could also easily be turned into a family gathering. Download here.

5. The Quest Begins

If your youth are into skits, this night is a great choice, especially if your youth also have a thing for The Princess Bride. This night is specifically written as a kick-off night; consider ending it with the “Armor of God” video. Download here.

For more ideas on how to kick-off well, read the article 3, 2, 1, Kickoff!!! in Spotlight 17.

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Angela Hamrick

About the Author

I only first went to youth group in high school because my mother made me. Little did I know that the Lord's plan for my life would be directly related to that one Wednesday evening. I don't eat bananas, seafood, or the white sauce that comes with chips and salsa.