We are stronger now because we attended, and we love our new relationships with CIY. The ministry kills it as far as knowing the preteen demographic and how to meet them where they are. So much in fact, I was taking mental notes the whole time to implement these four winning factors into our ministry back home.
1. We partner with CIY.
One thing I loved about our first conference was it so easy as a pastor to just focus on getting students there. The adult training is so good and helped us be more intentional in our small groups. The app was a great resource, and the “Convos” tool within that for small group time was so streamline in the preaching, focus and included all of the kids.
2. We show great video content.
We loved how CIY showed great, age-appropriate videos that engaged specifically the preteen audience. The “Promises” video actually fell right in line with our series we were doing back home. The SuperStart experience showed us how valuable video content is when packaged with a great speaker because the kids got the message.
3. We lean into a simple phrase.
The simple, clear message at SuperStart this year was for preteens to trust God and hold tightly to His promises. When they can discover the hope of Jesus, it changes everything … It’s a Game Changer. In our youth ministry, we’re thinking through how short, simple phrases will impact our curriculum. We want our students to lean into an impactful phrase and walk out with full understanding of it.
4. We add a tangible element.
The Game Changer Cards were a huge hit with our group. It was something tangible for our kinesthetic learners and was very helpful. The kids still talk about them and love them. Our group bought extras for our prize box and gifts for first-time youth group attendees.
It was a great weekend and we’re very excited to go back next year. Our volunteers were encouraged, and I feel like CIY modeled well what I can do as a pastor. It makes us all the more excited to attend our next CIY experience – which will be MIX – CIY’s summer conference for middle schoolers.
Mike Standish is the student pastor with Grace Church in Orlando, Florida.