Rocks, paints, brushes, footballs, can jam, little Debbie snacks, marshmallows, chocolate bars, grand crackers, chickens, wood, newspapers and fire, it is a great combination especially when you throw in some soda (pop), water and a group of senior high students and caring adults.
The scene was set 3 summers ago, when a couple who are friends and awesome people felt led to purchase (save) their families farm. A farm (with an outhouse) that has a hundred year history of being in the same family! The patriarch of the family passed away and it appeared to be slipping out of their family hands. The purchase was made successfully, over the next few years the little farmhouse began to take on a new look. The couple added to their house, resided the entire house, moved the outhouse. Yeah moment of silence the outhouse was later struck by a falling tree limb and became future fire wood a sad sad day for me. The fire pit was put in place along with some chickens (and coop). The family was ready to begin hosting youth, family and other events at the farm. I am sure grandpa would be excited and proud.
Fast forward to the event…. Students arrived with excitement, leaders arrived with excitement…. the fire was stoked, the tables had coverings (it was the wife’s choice to use them to cover the mess) and games set up to be played.
A simple announcement and brief history lesson was given and the night was in full action. Students played, laughed and painted, while the adults intermingled with them and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
The night came to and end. Students were picked up, some drove home and others helped clean up. Everyone in attendance left with a full stomach, painted rock (if they chose to paint one) and memories of fun, fellowship and Jesus moments.
We (the home owners, my daughter and I) cleaned up the paint, stowed the left over goodies and reflected on the night. It was a simply but powerful night. The homeowners hosted an awesome night. The students enjoyed some good old fashion hang time. The adults (all who are leaders in the Student Ministries) were able to relax and connect with students. It was an amazing night for sure.
As I review the night a couple lessons peculated to the surface….
1. Communication is so important… people need to be invited, directions of travel, supplies purchased.
2. Fellowship is important. People are so busy planning a variety of activities and hang time so everyone can enjoy.
3. Follow up is vital… Make sure you thank people for attending, helping, serving and providing for an awesome event.
4. Look to grow… make a few notes that will enable you to host and run a better more effective event in the future
5. Pray often… sometimes we forget to pray in the planning moments, or after the event. But prayer is important before, during and after… Give God the praise he deserves.
6. Allow room for students to be students, they like to laugh and play, also allow your student leaders the chance to just be students. Don’t assign them jobs or tasks.
I am so thankful for a community and people who are willing to open up their farm and lives to share Jesus Love through their gifts and lives.