We just finished another incredible year of our weekend teaching series called You Own the Weekend. Students from various high schools planned and executed our weekend service. The heartbeat is two-fold: 1) get students involved in the weekend service and serving in a ministry, and 2) make sure an invitation of some sort hits every student from that school that week. It has been one of the highlights of our student ministry for several years running – thought I would share some takeaways coming off the series:

Students bring their friends and family to something they helped pull off. In short, there’s a direct connection between student ownership and friendship evangelism.Every wonder why your core kids aren’t bringing their friends to church? Maybe it is because they had nothing to do with the creation of the service! When students build it, they will come. So many stories in our youth ministry now start with “well, I first came to You Own the Weekend” or “I trusted in Jesus during the series.” Really incredible stuff! It has becoming commonplace to hear someone say “I was brought by…” or “I wanted to see my friend…” We always emphasize friendship evangelism to our entry-level program, and I know it does happen on a regular basis. But this blew the normal response away.

There are all sorts of gifts waiting to be discovered.
 One of the favorite moments of the series was when a student who attends every week got up and shared his testimony. There are star kids who were born and raised to take the stage and teach and I’m super proud of them as pastors. But I’m also excited about the invisible students who showed up during the series. Unexpected people pitched in, decorated or took the stage to share in the message. This series served as a great reminder that some of your best pastors are probably already sitting in youth group. So many gifts, just under the surface waiting to be revealed.

Students should own every weekend.
 Here’s an obvious ministry-changing takeaway – so … why doesn’t this happen every week? To some degree, there’s a special magic to You Own the Weekend that just can’t happen week in and week out – but I want to see this momentum spread through every series we do. I want student teachers, student editors, students pastoring, student emcees, student testimonies and more every weekend!

This is a game changer for us! Give You Own the Weekend a shot next year in your youth group, too!