This weekend marks one of the first times we had a service solely dedicated to a message on AIDS. It was a powerful night, a “inbetween-series” message that coincided with World AIDS Day next weekend and Saddleback’s upcoming conference Race Against Time. The underlying theme was on care and compassion from the life of Jesus, but the application was directly to the AIDS community.

We didn’t go for the typical night – we marked hands with a red, blue or black “X” when students entered, didn’t play any games and even had a live testimony of someone living with AIDS. Kind of random on Saturday night and way too long, so we’ve made some significant tweaks to the service so Sunday should be strong.

  • The Red X represents someone with AIDS
  • The Blue X represents someone with AIDS who doesn’t know it yet
  • The Black X represents someone who is safe … for now

The students responded to the message by coming forward and writing their names on a burlap banner that was stung along the front. Many wrote messages, like “I care” or “I will become informed” and I think it’s something that we will hang somewhere as a reminder of what our student ministry is doing for the sick in our world.

Here’s the order of service this week:

Countdown video
Welcome from HS Pastor – preview next series
Cover Song – U2’s Where the Streets Have No Names – video in background from recent trip to Africa
Jared – Welcome, preview of service
8,000 die a day AIDS Video (student-made … and it’s better then the adult-made ones)
Josh – Obstacles that keep you from Making a Difference and Point #1
AIDS Myths Video
Jared – AIDS quiz
Josh – Point #2
Testimony Introduction (live and video)
Testimony – Living with AIDS
Josh – Point #3
Worship Leader – Song “Comfortable” + 2 worship songs
During song … students come forward and sign burlap banner
Jared – Practical action steps to take this week and finish Point #3
U2 reprise

This marks the first time I’ve ever talked to students about AIDS. My heart has a lot of growing to do in this area for sure. My prayer is this is something we can turn into some kind of “service in a box” so other student ministries can talk about compassion and AIDS as well.