You have heard the old saying many times, “Only 50 percent of confirmands will be active in the church after Confirmation.” Now, maybe your church doesn’t even get 50 percent or maybe you do better than that figure. No matter where your church fits in that percentage, we would all probably agree that we could and should get more confirmands active in the church and in high school youth ministry.
Servin’ Lovin’ Praisin’: Kidnapping the Eighth Graders
Today I want to offer an idea that can help get your newly confirmed youth interested in high school youth ministry. For many years we have done an eighth grade kidnapping. The idea is that on a high school youth group night, our high school youth gather at the church. We then go to each of our confirmand’s houses and “kidnap” them. Of course, their parents are notified ahead of time that we are coming, but they are told to keep it a secret from their child. After all the kids have been kidnapped, we bring them back to the church for a youth group celebration full of pizza, soda, games, and a devotion. This is a great opportunity for the eighth graders to get to know the high school youth and a great opportunity for them to see what our high school youth group is all about.
The last parish I served at was a lot smaller. We would have between 8-12 confirmands so it was a lot simpler to plan. The concern there was it was a suburban area so many times the distances between houses took up a great amount of time. At my current congregation, we have many more confirmands (20-30) but usually the driving distance between houses is shorter. In either case, the key to a successful pick up is communication between you and the parents and a “divide and conquer” mentality. If you divide up routes with other adult volunteer drivers that will help. I have also found that renting a fifteen-passenger van is beneficial because not only can you give more kids rides, but the fellowship between the youth is better and that’s even before you get back to church for youth group!
Whether it’s kidnapping the youth or some other activity, it’s important to try to draw the eighth graders and their parents in right away so that they can see how exciting and important high school youth ministry is!
Published June 2011