Want a fun and creative way to ring in the New Year that’s a little unexpected? Tired of planning fun outreach events and having very few people actually bring friends to hear the good news? Want a way to challenge your students? If you answered yes to any of these questions try a lock-in at your church the night before New Year’s Eve. We called it a New Year’s Eve Eve Celebration. The great thing is most students don’t have plans, are on break from school and will bring friends (including friends that don’t know Jesus) to this event. We had a well attended fun night because of these factors.
We started the night off with some fun games and snacks. Then we asked everyone to grab a pillow and sit in a circle with us as we transitioned into a large group devotional in which we focused on the past year. We started with a few big news stories, and then asked them to think about their own year and things that had happened unexpectedly to them personally. We allowed the opportunity to share the good and bad highlights from the year, and transitioned into the gospel by saying that God gives us all the opportunity for a fresh start when we begin a relationship with Him.
We also offered a challenge for the believing students to make a fresh start this year, a kind of “resolution” to spend more time every day with Jesus. We made available free copies of a devotional book for teens. (For ideas, check out Dare 2 Share’s teen devotionals.)
We found our students had a lot of free time on their hands over break and it was a great time to begin a new habit with God.
Just before midnight we passed out horns, party hats, noisemakers, and did a traditional countdown celebration and then shouted “Happy New Year’s Eve” and made up our own lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” (since none of us knew the real ones). The next morning we sent everyone home with an invitation to join us for our next youth group, which was the start of a new challenge with great prizes based on points the teams won based on attendance of themselves and friends.