At the Orange Washington, DC Tour Stop last week, I went to the Refining Environments: Students seminar led by Jeff Brodie. These are my notes:
The key question in creating an environment is to ask the question, “What do I want them to know and to do when they leave?”
The Prelude (setting the tone for the experience):
- This communicates that we thought about students before they go there
- Every student comes to group with some sort of wall/barriers up
- It is our job to remove those walls…that is why the prelude is huge
- Is your social media presence current? Moms check Facebook, Students check Instagram
- When students arrive, do they know where they are going, what to do?
- Every leader should be connecting with students making them feel accepted
- Music should be playing in the background when students arrive…not too loud, but not too softly either
- Get outside opinion…this ties in to a post I did a few weeks ago
- Do volunteers know what they are doing and what the goal for the night is? Do they know their roles?
- Keep reminding leaders why they do what they do.
Social (providing time for fun and interaction):
- Shared moments and common memories create connection
- Question: how do you create these moments?
- Have fun where there is an element of connection with others
Transitions (moving smoothly from one thing to another):
- Think through how you will transition from 1 thing to another
- Videos can help with transitions
- Well done ones give momentum to the night, bad ones kill momentum
Worship (inviting people to respond to God):
- Its more about understanding your students than understanding God
- Look at who they are and where they are at with Christ when deciding what songs to play
- Help worship leaders know what they are going to say/sing
- Are the songs you are singing easy to engage?
- What are other types of worship you can do?
- Only do worship when you can do it well
Story (communicate God’s Truth in engaging ways):
- the Communicator’s primary goal is to invite the students int a discussion, not a into a decision
- Communicators need to warm up the group for a discussion
- You don’t have to resolve anything, send them off to small groups
- 80% of a good talk is preparation
- 3 reasons to tell the story…1. so they can see something, 2. so they can care for something ,3. so they can hope for something
- Its not a goal to have the students like you, the Communicator
- Mix it up a little…video communication is ok
Group (create a safe place to connect):
- Where the message takes root or grow wings (inspires students to do something)
- Plan ahead
- Small Group leaders are pastors and processors
- Refine your small group questions
Home (prompting action int he home and community):
- What you do once a week will have more impact if it is repeated during the week
- Leverage influence at the home
By not refining your environment, you are missing an opportunity to make an influence