Sleepovers Are Cool

Last Friday night we hosted a laser tag sleepover for the preteens at our church.  It was a hit!  Tons came and they all had a blast!  Myself and other leaders still haven’t quite recovered, but we’re almost there.  Takes a bit longer for us to bounce back!

I think having sleepovers are important when doing preteen ministry for a couple of reasons. 

First, relationships are built quickly.  Our leaders feel more connected to preteens and preteens feel more connected to each other.  I am excited about how that will change the dynamics of our midweek service this week.  My guess is that preteens will open up more during small group, be more willing to ask questions about God and begin to seek out prayer from friends/leaders about stuff going on their lives.  The amount of relationship building that goes on in an average sleepover equates to about 3 months of typical programming.  Developmentally, preteens crave this type of experience because they are now becoming more relational by nature.  Want to quickly create community within your group?  Host a sleepover!

Second, sleepovers are a great entry point into your ministry.  Yeah, you’re going to have some parents apprehensive about sending their preteen to a sleepover, especially if they’re new to your ministry.  But you’ll still have a good number of newcomers show up.  It is a fun and non-threatening event for your preteens to invite their friends to.  Their friends will be excited about coming!  Send a post card afterwards to all newcomers inviting them to your weekly preteen gathering and keep them on the mailing list for future events.  Over time, you’ll begin to see those who show up at sleepovers/events begin to plug into midweek or Sunday.

Think your ministry is too big for a sleepover?  Think again.  I’ve done them successfully with over 100 kids and have heard others have up to 250.  You just need to be more on the ball and have all your ducks in a row when you have more show up. 

There is more risk involved when doing an overnighter.  You’re more open to injuries and accidents.  You might get cranky late at night and yell at some preteens.  Some might not show up because parents don’t like the idea of a sleepover.  But the risks are worth it!  Building community quickly and having a really attractive entry point are worth it.  Be safe and think of every potential hazard beforehand.  Then, relax and have fun!

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