Things I learned from our recent all-nighter

It's been seven years since I last uttered the words, "all-nighter." After my first, as a volunteer, I asked if we could do one every month because of the great connections made with our young people. After my first, as a youth pastor several months later, I never wanted to do one again. Here's why:

  • They are hard to staff.
  • They invite drama.
  • They can be dangerous...mostly for the church building. 
  • They are hard on the youth pastor. 
However, I realized that connecting with the high schoolers in my new position is HUGE so it warmed me up to the idea of 'winning them over.' Also, Reading Jeanee Mayo's Thriving Youth groups made me see the value in it. Also, if a 60 year old can do it regularly, I really have no excuse. So I took what I new from my previous experience and tried to come up with an all night experience that would harness the benifits and minimize the cost. Here's what I learned:
  • Having this one at a leaders house was great! We met at the church and drove out to her place an hour away. It was almost like having two locations for our event. 
  • Cheap was good. The guys brought drinks and girls brought snacks. 
  • Guys really open up after 4:30 AM. My head hit the pillow in my tent and I asked God if I should try to push through. Then I heard the guys start to talk about 'real stuff.' I received a HUGE supernatural energy boost and am so grateful for the time spent with those guys. 
  • I took the night shift and some of our youth workers went home, or went to sleep. Except one poor guy who had to work at SEVEN!!! Some time after 4:30 AM he gave up and just drove to work. 
  • I made sure I wasn't preaching this Sunday. I literally have no clue how I wound up in bed. I just woke up and went to church. After a all night Friday/Saturday. Sunday came quick! Things were ready to go ahead of time.
  • Next time I need to do a better job of communicating these things: What to bring, what we will do (exactly) so our leaders can know, and clean up delegations. We were late because it took so long to clean up. 
This one went so well, I'm planning another for spring break. It's gonna be great!

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