Wednesday, July 27, 2011
SWAG - New High School Gathering
Yes, we're starting a new gathering for high school students. And yes it's called SWAG. No, it may not be the name you or I would have chosen but the students chose it and seem to love it.
There will be a teaching team involved so I decided to gather some thoughts and values to get our speakers on the same page. Here's what I sent them.
Hey SWAG speakers! Thanks for using your giftedness to present truth to high school students. Here are a few thoughts to consider as you begin your prep.
1. We want to encourage and challenge the hearts of our students who follow Jesus, but also communicate as if there are many students in the room who don’t understand and embrace the gospel. We can’t assume they know anything about the Bible or the gospel. As believing students walk away our desire is that they would want to expose their searching friends to SWAG.
2. Our hope is that the communication will be interactive. We’re setting up ways for the students to text questions. Normally we hope to have a short question and answer time following each talk. Don’t worry, we’ll filter the questions but be ready to answer and be willing to say, “that’s a great question, I have no idea”. We’re not there to “know it all”.
3. We want to be creative. Creativity usually takes time to develop and pull together. As speakers let’s try to get way ahead of the game so those juices can flow! You don’t have to be creative alone, our producer, Joel Gwartney is going to be a great asset to the creativity.
4. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but vulnerability is so crucial. As speakers we’re not up with all the answers, we’re on a journey seeking to understand and embrace what it means to follow Jesus. When appropriate jump at the opportunity to share personal struggle and doubt. As you do, students will see you as a real person not just an old person.
5. Let’s use our Bibles. Although there will be many students who don’t believe the Bible, it’s still true that God’s Word is powerful. We’re not avoiding truth, simply presenting it in a humble / whimsical fashion.
6. Let’s be gospel centered. I know, that can mean so many things. Here’s the deal, students don’t need more rules and encouragement to simply be better. What they need is the life transforming work of Jesus. If there is practical application in your talk make sure you focus on the example and power of Jesus doing it in and through students, not simply asking them to “try harder”. It’s the gospel that changes lives, not pure effort.
7. Have fun! Speaking at SWAG should be a blast, but let’s keep it to less than 25 minutes. So don’t’ have too much fun!
Again, thanks so much for being a part. We are eagerly expecting that God is going to use you to impact the hearts of high school students.