Blog/Culture

5 Tips for Running a Successful Life Night

Picture this. Your Life Night is about to begin; a parent taps you on the shoulder to ask you a question, you see two teens head down the hallway to use the restroom, you can’t find the microphone, and there is mac and cheese on the ground from dinner. While you answer the parents’ question, you send a Core member to tell the kids in the bathroom that Life Night is about to begin, you try to remember where you left the microphone, and you’re on your hands and knees picking up the Kraft mess.

We’ve all been there. Everything seems to happen at the worst times and all at once. Though we cannot always prevent the poorly timed questions and spilled dinners, we can prepare for Life Nights so that the food on the ground doesn’t seem as stressful. Below are key elements to have a successful Life Night.

Consistency

Consistency is key. Be consistent with when and where you have Life Nights. This helps limit confusion with both teens and parents. Whether you have Life Nights every week or twice a month, have them on the same night, same location, and time. Consistency in Life Nights will provide a constant for teens.

Transitions

Everyone has a pet peeve. Mine are poor transitions. Whether at a concert, the theater, or any live production, transitions can make or break the event. Nothing can ruin the moment better with a delay of a video playing or awkward silence between two songs. The same goes for Life Nights. Make sure to run through the entire night beforehand. This may require going through every moment and movement during the night. Make sure all videos and songs are pre-downloaded and work. Double-check that the lights are all working, the equipment is all on and functioning. Have a game plan in place for who is transitioning between the gather, proclaim, break, and send. Every moment matters, especially when your audience has a limited attention span.

Relevant Content

When you are home and watching TV, scrolling through social media, or browsing the internet, you typically skip through content that is not important or relevant to you. Teens are the same way. If something isn’t relevant to them, they won’t listen. Keep content relevant to what the teens are experiencing. This doesn’t mean that every night has to involve a Tik Tok dance, but it does mean that you may need to explain why church teaching is relevant or why a topic should matter to them. For example, during a Life Night about vocations, not all teens may be actively discerning the priesthood, religious life, or marriage. By emphasizing our universal call to holiness as our primary vocation, the teens are able to walk away knowing what God is currently asking them to do. He asks them to understand that no matter what specific vocation He calls them to, they must first offer themselves as a gift back to the Father. This is something they can actively work on every day.

Adequate Small Group time

We’ve all been there; Life Night started late, and the game took too long, so something has to get cut. Because small groups are typically towards the end of the night, they are usually the victim and get their time reduced. To help avoid this, make sure to schedule ample time for small groups. You probably need to schedule more time than you think, around 40 minutes. This gives time for transitions, time for the teens to settle in, and for closing prayer.

Prayer

This is the most important thing you do. I always “bookend” my Life Nights in prayer. Start the night in prayer and end the night in prayer. But do not limit prayer to the night of. Begin praying days and weeks before the night begins. Ask your Core team, teen leaders, and parents to pray too. There is no such thing as too much prayer!

At times, things will happen at Life Nights that are out of your control. The less we focus on the things we can’t control, and the more we focus on the things we can, the more room we give God to work. When planning and executing Life Nights, always remember your “why.” Why do you have Life Night? To lead teens closer to Christ. Remembering this will help us have a successful night.

About the Author

Kelly Simpson

Kelly is the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Ann's in Marietta, Georgia. She attended the University of Alabama for two years and finished her undergrad at Georgia State. Upon graduation, she joined the St. Ann Life Teen Core team. There she fell in love with Christ and Youth Ministry. She's now been working at St. Ann’s for over nine years and is passionate about leading teens closer to Christ. Her love language is sarcasm and in her free time, you can find her cheering on the Crimson Tide and drinking coffee.

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