Episode 074

πŸŽ… The Ultimate (and FREE!) Youth Ministry Christmas Party Guide


December 5th, 2023

48 mins 45 secs

Your Host

About this Episode


πŸ“… "1 Month Done for You Social Media Posting Tool"

πŸŽ… "The Ultimate (and FREE!) Christmas Party Gude"
GUIDE: https://hybrid-ministry-40060036.hubspotpagebuilder.com/christmas-party-run-sheet
PRACTICAL YM TIPS: https://www.youtube.com/@practicalyouthministrytips


πŸ‘‹ Welcome to the ultimate Youth Ministry Christmas Party Guide! In this video, we are here to help you spread joy and jingle bells with our fantastic party ideas, all while staying within your budget because it's completely FREE! πŸŽ…πŸŽ‰πŸ””

πŸ”— In this special collaboration episode we are working together with Erik "w/a K" Williams and his YouTube Channel "Practical Youth Minsitry Tips." Because two are better than one, we put our heads together and created the Ultimate Christmas party!

Go Follow Erik's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@practicalyouthministrytips


πŸ“… "1 Month Done for You Social Media Posting Tool"

😨 "Have I already Ruined my TikTok Account?"

πŸ“Ή "Adobe Premiere Pro Presets for Animating Layers"

Some of the below links are affilate links in which we do recieve a small commission based on your purchase or use of products





YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@clasonnick
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hybridministry/
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@clasonnick

Website: https://www.hybridministry.xyz


πŸŽ… "The Ultimate (and FREE!) Christmas Party Gude"
GUIDE: https://hybrid-ministry-40060036.hubspotpagebuilder.com/christmas-party-run-sheet
PRACTICAL YM TIPS: https://www.youtube.com/@practicalyouthministrytips

//Full YouTube Video




00:00-01:10 Intro
01:10-04:34 Christmas Music before or After Thanksgiving?
04:34- 14:16 Setting up the atmosphere for maximum Student Ministry Impact
14:16-20:06 The Best Time to Do a Giveaway!
20:06-24:31 A FREE Game (link in description!)
24:31-28:09 Minute to Win It Christmas Games
28:09-31:07 When should you do active games in the scope of a youth ministry program?
31:0-7-37:47 The Best Youth Ministry White Elephant
37:47-40:38 The Controversial Decision of Including a Message during an Outreach Event
40:38-42:59 Another FREE Giveaway of Nick’s Best Selling Game!
42:59-47:06 Wrap Up the Christmas Party with a bang!

47:06-48:44 Go Follow Erik!

Try Transcribing for Yourself at Rev.Com

Nick Clason (00:00):
What is up Friends In this episode, myself and a friend of mine, Eric with AK linked to his YouTube channel down below in the description, did a collaborative episode where we both put together a programming guide as well as a bunch of free resources. So in the link in the description will be a 90 minute Christmas Youth Ministry program event. Go grab it, go use it, whatever elements of it you can. We got graphics, we got games, we got the full run sheet, we got sidekick files from download, youth ministry, whatever you need. But don't forget, listen, the whole goal of this is I want you to have all the things that you need to make an amazing Christmas event. After this, we are going to dive into a little bit more of a explainer episode where we talk through the vision and the strategy and the reasons why we set the events up the way that we do. Make sure you like, make sure you subscribe. Hit the notification bell so that you know about other episodes like this that are going to drop. We're also, no doubt going to offer tons of free stuff. Don't forget, and as always, stay hybrid. Enjoy the episode.

Nick Clason (01:10):
Well, what's up everybody? Welcome to this kind of collaborative show. I'm Nick Clayson, this is Eric, and we wanted to give you guys a completely done for you Christmas event and so we're going to talk through that, but before we do, we got to get really important business out of the way. Eric, what is the best Christmas movie in your estimation?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (01:33):
So I love Christmas and I'm nothing Christmas before the day after Thanksgiving guy,

Nick Clason (01:40):
You're a holiday purist.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (01:42):
We battle about that because I'm like, Thanksgiving needs its time, right? Because I think it takes away some of the specialness that that's why Christmas songs, it's like a month and a few days. So the first movie we watch, it used to be Miracle on 34th Street, but now the first movie we watch is Elf.

Nick Clason (02:00):
Okay. Yeah.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (02:02):
Sometimes after Thanksgiving dinner, but usually in the morning after we watch the Macy's Day Thanksgiving parade.

Nick Clason (02:08):
Did you know that Elf is turning 20 this year?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (02:11):
Yes. I just saw that. I'm like 20 years Actually when I saw that post I was like, I got to look that up. It was 2003.

Nick Clason (02:19):
I'm so old man. I was in middle school. I was in middle school.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (02:23):
I couldn't believe it.

Nick Clason (02:24):
Yeah, wild times.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (02:25):
Eight years maybe.

Nick Clason (02:28):
Yeah, elf. Yeah, elf was also a fave for sure, but one that my family always watched on Christmas Eve was jingle all the way. So the Turbo Man one, I just think it's so funny Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's a little niche and people don't get it and vibe with me as much on it, but I think it's hilarious. I think The Postman is super funny and in my family our stuff's already up. We've decorated day after Halloween, we were on it. We're already watching our little family Christmas movies, so we're the

Erik "w/a k" Williams (03:05):
Opposite of you. I joke California's against a law to play Christmas music before the day after Thanksgiving. People, are you serious? And then I just leave it. I don't answer.

Nick Clason (03:13):
Yeah, I look it up. People link in the show notes. Well, hey, we both each wherever you are. If you're on Eric's platform, mine, whatever, we have a free download and we got a few resources in there, a few graphics and also just a here's a Christmas event for you. So if you're anything like me, you maybe are like, oh snap Christmas is coming and it's time to get an event on the calendar. You don't need to think this is done for you. Literally plug and play everything from games, icebreakers, messages. But what we wanted to do in this episode was talk through a little bit, not just like here's the what, but a little bit more of the why. So we're going to put the run sheet, at least I will on screen so you guys can see it. But as we walk through it, let's just chat through the strategy. Why is this thing there? Why is that thing, whatever? So Eric, you took the first kind of rough draft of this, so why don't you share your philosophy of why things are set up the way they're set up on this?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (04:16):
Yeah, no, that's great. So I love having something to give me a guardrail of the here's what we're doing and then giving all of the, anybody who's involved in running the event give a copy of the run sheet so that everybody knows who's doing what and on there it says people, we don't have names on there. That's for you to put in there. We'll leave those things blank so you can place in who's doing what for each of those things. Then when the time comes for somebody to be up, they're ready. And one of the things I think is really important, the person who is the host for the specific thing should also have somebody who brings out whether it's the table with the game on it or the prizes or whatever it is, so that they don't have to worry about that all they're doing is worrying about their job of running that segment of the evening. And I think one of the

Nick Clason (05:12):
Things, lemme stop you right there on that. Do you have volunteers do that? Do you have people as a member of the production team, like I'm talking Carrie, the supplies and props out to the table. How have you navigated that in your time of being a youth pastor?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (05:29):
So a couple of different ways. One for sure volunteers. We do a volunteer meeting every month and we do three things in this. This is like side note, but we do encouragement, we do training and we do planning. And so the encouragement's usually wrapped around a meal. Then the training is whatever the topic is that we want to help them to equip them to be better at volunteers and then planning. So when we do the planning for the Christmas party, we will talk about all of the things that we're going to do. That's where we brainstorm ideas, we put that together, that's where we decide who's going to be the host for the game and then who's bringing the table out. I love doing minute to win it games. So there's somebody who needs to come and bring that table out and then take it off. So I've had volunteers do it, we've had student leadership students do that, and then in those times where there's been a production team, I give that to whoever's overproduction to take care of worrying about those things. So the people who are doing the actual segment just worry about their part.

Nick Clason (06:36):
Yeah, that's good. So in practicality, you may have your Christmas or your December meeting, I'm sorry, earlier right than two, three weeks earlier. Do people remember that? Do you have another touch base night of how does that work?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (06:53):
Yeah, so we'll have a touch base. Usually it'll be, we typically will do our midweek is where we do our event. So on Sunday we'll do a 15 minute connect after church, Hey, here's a touch base, be there. I try to have all of volunteers in hour early because students tend to show up about a half hour before an event starts. Even though we say doors open at this time, they're there at least a half hour early

Nick Clason (07:19):
Volunteers and you're always kids locked out, right?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (07:20):
Exactly. Try to have them ready beforehand and we do a quick, okay, here's our queue, here's our queue, here's our queue. This is where all the things are. I've laid them all out for them and some volunteers aren't working and have the ability to come in at any time of day, grab those leaders and say, Hey, can you come in four hours early and help me set up all the tables? All the everything. So

Nick Clason (07:47):
Yeah, love it. So then let's dive into it then. So right off the bat we have the element is pre-service. We need some Spotify playlists, so we got that in there clickable. You guys can go ahead and grab it. Tell me what you're trying to create in this environment. What are we looking for here?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (08:07):
So in this spot, what I want is for it to feel Christmassy, right? Like build excitement. There's Christmas music playing in the background. Sometimes on the screens I'll have for the earlier portion of the pre-service, I'll have a Christmas movie. Now I'm really careful with Christmas movies or any movies for that matter because I show something that maybe I'm not showing the moment that there is something that could tend to be inappropriate or whatever.

Nick Clason (08:39):

Erik "w/a k" Williams (08:39):
I'm really careful because students will go home and go, Hey, we watch this at church, can we watch it at home? And then they watch it at home and there's this moment I'm like, oh, I didn't even think about that moment. So I'm really careful, but sometimes I have that in the background and then I love doing a hot cocoa bar during pre-session and not during the event. I mean they can go back, but the event is so packed with stuff like taking a 20 minute break to go create hot cocoa, feels like I've got all these things I want to do, but now we're doing this. So that kind of builds this atmosphere of like, okay, not only is there music, there's a movie on the background, but I can make hot cocoa and I've got all sorts of fun stuff that chocolate spoons and whipped cream and sprinkles and all that stuff. I think it builds something to the feel of what that night's going to be and I think building an environment, a feeling to an environment is important.

Nick Clason (09:40):
One of my favorite hacks to steal from the name of your show is I like doing a pre-roll that has announcements and this is for Christmas party. I made just something a little bit different, but just on an ongoing regular basis and as opposed to a lot of times you'll see you can go on DYM and get millions of five minute countdowns. I don't like playing a five minute countdown. What I actually like to do is to just take a five minute timer and put it over top of my looping announcements because at our church we do that in big service where a five minute countdown comes on, all the looping announcements now are gone. So only people that showed up early enough to see them, they're the people that already know what's going on anyway. It's the people that are walking in late or as it's about to start that still need it. So that's one of my favorite pre-service hacks, pre-service countdowns, but you can do whatever you guys want. Like we said, there's a million different options out there. DYM you can grab for just a few bucks, Christmas countdowns, whatever. So anything else before we get to our welcome and our host on stage and just talking through what we want out of them,

Erik "w/a k" Williams (10:54):
We can see that on the run sheet under people like greeters, check in, first time guest team, put your friendliest people. I think this should be for every time you meet, put your friendliest people at the doors, right? Students and adults, get them there. High fiving students, I think that's really important that they're smiling, they're dressed in their Christmas gear and it's because when somebody comes for the first time, they're not necessarily mentally going through a checklist, but without even knowing it, they're going through a checklist. Do I like what I'm seeing? Do I feel invited? Do I feel welcome? Does it feel fun? And if I had a volunteer one time actually, I was volunteering at this church and they had a volunteer that was like Mr. Grumpy Pants, super nice guy, discipleship, all that, but for front he'd be sarcastic like, oh, glad you finally came back. I'm like, you don't want that guy at the front, put that guy back, have him sell snacks or whatever. But yeah,

Nick Clason (12:01):
That's not the

Erik "w/a k" Williams (12:01):
Guy. But then the first time guest team, having somebody that's getting their information, this is for another episode, but giving them a gift bag at the end of the night that has some of your information in there or whatever and is charge of follow-up. Their role is to make that first time guest. If they're not coming with a friend, somebody they just showed up, they get them connected to somebody in their grade. I think that's super, super important. Again, it's all about environment, making an environment that's friendly and welcoming. Atmosphere.

Nick Clason (12:37):
Yeah, I mean just listen, think about it. If you go to someone's house a couple of weeks ago we went to a neighbor's house for Halloween before trick or treating and they weren't ready. They're getting stuff cooked up in the kitchen and creating everything for the gathering of people. That's one environment versus I was just telling you before we hit record, we're in a summit. Our church has a bunch of church planters, so they bring people from all across the world here one time a year and that's going on right now on the other side of our campus. And every time I've walked in there, they've had a gift bag for me or this giant box of swag that I just walked over here with. They thought about us. They thought about the fact that we were going to be there. So compare Halloween when it's kind of frantic and the house is still kind of messy and they're getting ready versus a gift bag and people there at the doors to greet you. Those are both real things and real parties that happened, but one makes you feel like a million bucks and one makes you feel like you're mildly inconvenient for being there. So you know how that typically

Erik "w/a k" Williams (13:53):
Feels. Typically when you invite somebody into your home, you're greeting them at the door and then you're engaged in conversation during the whole time you're together and you greet them at the door, you see them out. You actually often will go outside and wave to them as they drive away. I think we should take that and employ that into our ministries.

Nick Clason (14:13):
Yeah. Yeah. Hospitality a hundred percent. So all right, sweet. So have awesome greeters crush it. Also, like you said, this is another episode for another day, but capture people's information and do something about it. Follow up with them, have a gift bag, send 'em a postcard, send 'em a text, whatever the case might be, but have some sort of intentional follow up strategy. Again, we won't dive into that in the Christmas episode, so now we're at the welcome. What are you envisioning as you put this run sheet together happening at the welcome of this Christmas?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (14:51):
So at the welcome, again, you want to put friendly faces, enthusiastic people, whether it's you or I like having, if you have the ability, if you have the leadership, if you get enough people to have one guy and one girl leading, just something about that balance I think is really good. And being able to feed off each other instead of just being one person. It can't happen all the time, I get that. But if you have the ability, even if it's a student that's being a counterpart, I think is really important. And then immediately do a giveaway and DYM, if you're DYM person and you have sidekick, you can also get sidekicks separately if you don't want to pay the full 25 bucks a month or whatever it is.

Nick Clason (15:37):
But which side note, neither of us get any sort of kickback from this, but it is worth it. It is.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (15:44):
Somehow they're like, yeah, we don't do affiliate programs. They're like, okay, it's worth asking. Yeah, we don't get anything but their sidekick, they have this name generator where you plug into names of students as they check in, you get their names and then you put it and it'll go through, you'll see your name and then you just have somebody yell, stop, and then they click stop and that person wins. You can also do it with raffle if you want to where you have two of the same number, they keep one, you put one in the bucket or whatever. That works as well. But I like the idea of giving something away in the first few minutes because

Nick Clason (16:18):
It's like off the top,

Erik "w/a k" Williams (16:20):
I can win something right now. And those who came late miss out on some of that stuff and they're like, oh, maybe I'll think about the future,

Nick Clason (16:28):
Which, here's the hack, right? So in our context, I had the lady who oversees our database, which is what's a LinkedIn with our check-in system. So she created a search for me. So anytime anyone checks in within the last day, it'll give me their name. So as opposed, right to me, getting a full mailing list of all of our students and putting their names in People Picker, then it's like, oh, that guy's not here. He didn't come. Right? That's kind of a wmp wmp moment. When you get an actual dynamic list, which most check-in systems, whether you're using CCB or the Rock or Rome or whatever, will have some way for you to run a report that you can get an actual dynamic list of the students there or just grab a super volunteer who takes the spreadsheet. But if you're doing it off the top, like you said Eric, you got to think through that ahead of time.

Nick Clason (17:26):
Who's going to grab this sheet? How many minutes before it actually starts? If it's a few minutes before it starts, you're still probably going to miss a few kids who are checking in after you input the names or whatever. But being able to produce that right off the top, I think also shows a level of just polish and professionalism and also like, Hey, we thought about you being here. We got a plan to give something away and it's right now and look at how we were able to get it in this computer, which the kids don't think about it, but if it doesn't work or if it's janky or if you're waiting until the end because you're waiting for all the names, they may notice that they're probably not going to notice like, wow, how'd they get all these names in here? Kids, kids don't usually pay attention to stuff like that, but it does communicate something. It's

Erik "w/a k" Williams (18:10):
Funny you say that. They don't really pay attention to that, but when it's missing, when parents pick up their kids, they ask two questions, how was it tonight? And did you have fun? Yeah. Now if they're coming from a Sunday morning or a service, it's like, how was it and what'd you learn? But the fun part, they're going to talk about whether they have fun. I saw my name, I didn't win, but they may actually talk about that. I know that I've watched Doug and Josh from Download Youth Ministry have done giveaways live on screen, and I've seen my name come up across because mine stands out. I always put with AK Eric with AK in there, but we see our names even if it's just it's super fast. Here's another hack. If you don't want to download that, if you don't want to pay for that wheel of names, dot com is a freebie now it's got some advertisements around it or whatever, but it's just a website and you can plug in people's names and you can shuffle it and all that stuff. It's free. And I've used that a few times over the years as well. Super, super simple and really easy.

Nick Clason (19:25):
Yeah, something about hype, something about fun and something about giveaway, whatever it is. The first five minutes, we're keeping it light. We're letting 'em know we thought about 'em and now we're moving on into actual stuff, actual content. Is there anything else we missed with the welcome before we move

Erik "w/a k" Williams (19:43):
On? If you've got an announcement you want to hit, I would do that at the end of the time as well. So that's where they'll remember it, but you want to invite them. I love inviting people from a party to a party like, Hey, it's next month or fall, winter retreats coming, it's in January, whatever. Give those cards out at the end, but talk about it in the front end. So then we're jumping into our first game,

Nick Clason (20:09):

Erik "w/a k" Williams (20:10):
You've got some games you're giving free to our viewers today.

Nick Clason (20:15):
Yeah, absolutely. So two different games. I'm going to be giving away both of them on DYM for a few bucks, but for you, if you click the link in the download free, free for you, whichever one of our videos you're clicking on this first one here is called Who or What is on the screen. So think catchphrase, right? It's literally like there's a clue and a timer and you have to get it figured out. You can do this however many different ways you want. You can pull up a contestant, which if you wanted to do name picker again to grab a few contestants, you can do that. Sometimes I like to let a game, another game, create my contestants. So I might do some sort of trivia game or first person to answer this question, first person to bring me this thing because they do that, they're a contestant or whatever.

Nick Clason (21:05):
You can get a contestant on stage. You can also just in our environment, we do tables. I'm a huge fan of round tables, and so that would be a way that you could play this game where every table you're playing this game, and so anyway, counts down 3, 2, 1, boom. Something shows up on the screen and you got to countdown timer and one person has to try and guess what is on the screen, who or what is on the screen? That's the whole point of the game. And here's a little pro tip. If it's getting boring or if it's getting, people are getting it quickly, you can kind of build in. If you use pro presenter, you can make the time go quicker. So you can play that 1.5 or two times speed to increase the difficulty as you get to the end, which is another one of my favorite ways to build a game, start it off with a couple softballs, and then at the end crank up the difficulty so that it's borderline impossible. I hate when you get to the end of the game and everyone got all 10 questions or is super boring, super easy. So I'm always trying to go from easy to difficult. So one way to even take it up, another level is in your pre-programming or in putting in the computer, you can make the speed go quicker, make it more challenging, make it more difficult. The last few questions. So

Nick Clason (22:24):
Super fun game.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (22:24):
There's a number of ways I like the idea of giving away a prize, and it could be to one student. If you're bringing a couple of people up front and the person who gets the most, I also like what you said, having tables and having that at each table. You can make it simple. Then if they get it right, they get a candy cane

Nick Clason (22:42):

Erik "w/a k" Williams (22:43):
But if you're just having a few upfront, there's a number of ways I use a spin that wheel thing for giveaways from Sidekick on DYM, or you can also use the wheel of names. There's a great resource on YM 360 that it's the claw machine and it grabs. You can get students' heads, but you can also do prizes. Yeah, it's awesome.

Nick Clason (23:08):

Erik "w/a k" Williams (23:09):
There's lots of ways you can give away prizes, but if it is at tables, you can just do can canes, and that's cheap,

Nick Clason (23:14):
All kinds of different ways to adapt it, but it's a Christmas based kind of guessing game, and the strategy behind it is let's get kids laughing, let's get kids interacting. Let's not make it about what's upfront, or even if it is, it's fun upfront, not pay attention upfront. Get these kids, and I heard someone once say, fun is the currency of teenagers, so let's lock into that and just create some fun moments. And then beyond that, I would say too, Nick,

Erik "w/a k" Williams (23:46):
Oh, go ahead. Kind of a pro tip. If it feels like it's dragging, you don't have to do all of the questions.

Nick Clason (23:53):
Yes, bro. I can't tell you the last time I did all of the questions. In any game, I am out of that thing faster than you can think. And it's not speed, right? I'm not done with it in two minutes. If you got good hosts, they're feeling it out. They're playing off the crowd, they're pulling people up, they're kicking people off, and they can get through five questions in 10, 15 minutes as opposed to just, all right, next one. All right, next one. All right, next one. That's very rote. That's very boring. So you got to know how to make the screen game kind of come to life.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (24:27):

Erik "w/a k" Williams (24:29):
Alright, next on the list, we put down minute to win it games, and if you don't know what that is, just go on YouTube and search minute to win it. Christmas games, you're going to get a bevy of games. I mean one of my favorites is where you, I forget the name of it, but you take a tissue box, pull out all the tissues, and then you put jingle bells inside, you put bells inside of it and then poke a hole to use a, what's the word for Christmas wrap? But you put a ribbon, thank you. Oh yeah,

Nick Clason (25:03):
Yeah. Use

Erik "w/a k" Williams (25:04):
Ribbon as the rope that goes around, you tie it around your waist and then it's shaking. You're just kind of jumping and shaking, trying first want to get the jingle bells out of their box wins.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (25:14):
So those kind of games you can also download on YouTube. You can download the explainer videos or you can make your own videos, but the ones that are don't double the efforts don't go way out. But if you want to and you want your leaders, your volunteers, whatever, to put together an explainer video that's super short and quick, great. And you don't have to have the videos, but that is a simple, just go download them and be things. And I would do three. Sometimes I mix them throughout the night. Okay, we're going to do another minute to win it. Video or game.

Nick Clason (25:50):
Yeah, so you could even look at this run sheet and so it says 15 minutes minute to win it game. You could do a minute to win it game, get the winner and then let them play who or what is on the screen. And that's how we're saying you can weave this in. You don't have to do it exactly as written. Eric, how are you getting videos off of YouTube? What's your hack for that? We all need to figure that out.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (26:16):
Yeah, I've used a lot of different websites over the years and the thing that's been most frustrating as I've searched for websites is usually some Russian thing that ends up having pictures or videos that I don't want in my eyes. And your pastor walks in going, what are you doing? I'm just downloading a YouTube

Nick Clason (26:38):
Video. I'm getting ready for the Christmas party.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (26:42):
So I found this app, it's called four K Downloader and it's free. There's a paid version. I don't know what the paid version does for you, but I did discover that it has a download limit. Maybe that's what it is on the free version per day, but I want to say it's like 50 50 downloads per day. I was downloading songs for songs that I already own but couldn't use through the iPad app that I had for our Halloween event fall festival event. Anyhow, basically you copy the link and then you click the plus button inside a four K downloader and then it says, do you want to download it at 10 87 23 60? I don't know why you would download it at 360, but maybe you want to, but you can also extract audio, just straight audio and which is what I did for our fall festival event. But then it gives you, there's no watermarks or anything, so it's easy. And I don't know what the advertisement like it's for upgrade and I think that's the only advertisement on the little box that you get.

Nick Clason (27:51):
Well, we'll put the link to that in the show notes if you want to go grab that. It's always a good hack. We're always trying to figure out how to get videos into our presentation softwares. So at this point now, if you look at the run sheet, we go from a couple of stager screen-based type games to an active game. So what is your Eric philosophy in going from seated games to an active game?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (28:13):
So that's great question. If you're just constantly doing screen games, it's all screen games. That means everybody's sitting most of the time and maybe now you can use screen games to be active. This is a hack that I love doing with trivia games. So trivia games has typically four answers. You put them in corners, answer A is in one corner, answer B is another corner, C and D, and then they have to move to that corner. They maybe give them five seconds or 10 seconds. You can drop that, the countdown or whatever onto it, but they have to be in their spot, no standing one foot one the other.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (28:58):
And then if you're wrong, you sit down. I love that version of the game. It makes it go quicker. You typically don't do all the questions, but the idea of some watching, not every student wants to play. Some just want to sit and watch. And I've come to a place where I don't force students to play games because everybody's not me. And so I brought, I want to be up. Yeah, take me. We were just at this couple's weekend away and there was a comedy show. We thought it was a murder mystery, but it was a comedy show, but they invited people up on stage to participate in this game and I was like, hands up. That's not everybody. My wife's not going up there. I know tons of students who are not going to raise their hands and quite frankly don't want to go do the active stuff, and that's okay. And I remind my volunteers, we're not forcing students to play games if they just want to sit and watch and engage, they might actually still be having fun. But I think having a variety of types of games I think is really important. Getting them moving, getting them active. It helps the brain to go, oh, something new, something new, something new. I'm not sitting bored and zoning out.

Nick Clason (30:12):
Yeah, I remember one time I had a student say, because we did a lot of screen games and just this era that we were in, I was in I guess, and she was like, I don't have fun coming to church. We do a lot of either or games. I don't have fun coming to church and just walking to one side of the room or the other. I want to play dodgeball and throw a ball at your head. That's what this girl was saying to this girl, right? Because you often think like, oh, the girl's name man, I want to play the active games. This girl is like, no, I want to do something. So I always want to try and tap into that too for students because a lot of times we maybe default to something thinking that they don't want to do the active and get sweaty game and that just might not be the case. So this is a good time, especially in this scope to divvy it up, right? We've been sitting now for 25, 30 minutes, let's get 'em moving. So it's great. Then we're moving to a white elephant gift exchange. So how are you, I guess another conversation, communication. Are we communicating from the get-go that this is a white elephant gift exchange that they have to bring that? Absolutely. What about kids who don't have one? How do you account for all that

Erik "w/a k" Williams (31:20):
Type of stuff? Yeah, so all promotions, cards, texts, Instagram videos, any promotion is going to include white elephant gift exchange. Now, I learned on the office, they called it Yankee Swap, but I've never called it that, but I make that almost the central thing to the event and make it the big deal, and I am like, don't go out and spend 2050 bucks at the store. Find something in your garage or your closet. Make it funny. Make it something that somebody would be surprised that they got that, but there's also going to be those in there that people want to steal, right? Because oh, I really wanted that, or somebody else is like, you wanted that? Are you kidding me? But that also because I know some students are going to show up because they were invited or they forgot or whatever and they didn't know there was a white elephant gift exchange. I got a bunch of extras wrapped ready to go based on how many gifts are under the tree and how many students we have in the room.

Nick Clason (32:27):
Yep, that's great. I was actually just thinking how many of us as youth pastors have a closet full of junk that we have a supply for thing that we have used before are thinking to ourselves, we will use again one day. I mean right now I'm looking at a University of Texas blanket that we bought over a year ago. I don't know why I have that in here. I'd give it to someone, right? That's the whole point. You can kind of go shopping for your students in your youth closet and have some wet elephant gifts sitting. There's always going to be people who forget. So it's great. Love it. How do you play then?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (33:02):
I think I've had a couple of issues where we've had too many students and it's just going to take forever. So if that's the case, you kind of know you can have a rough guess as to how many students are going to show up to an event based on the history. Our Christmas event this past year was the biggest thing we'd done since I got there. So I'm glad I planned ahead for more than what I was thinking that was normally coming. Yeah, that's great. But I've had a guy's Christmas tree and a girl's Christmas tree. If you're a larger ministry, do it with small groups and if there's student's obviously going to show up that are visitors a first time guests, they don't have a small group leader, but go with a student that they came with. So maybe you have your volunteers who are leading small groups, go put your gift if you know it's with somebody, if you're just showing up and you're not with anybody, just choose somebody that you can go to and that's where you'll do your white health and gift exchange.

Nick Clason (34:09):
Yeah, that's good. And you got to probably think through and account for that piece too. At the welcome, as people are coming in, they're going to be walking with gifts, especially guests. You're going to want to be capturing their information, but you also, if they didn't know about the white elephant gif, don't make 'em feel awkward. Have something for 'em, all that type of stuff.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (34:27):
Nick, I'm just literally just thinking this, I need to lock this down. I'll have to watch this video back because I've always told them to put their white elephant gift by the tree right away. But you said something, I'm like, have them hold onto it until you start the event and maybe there's a certain point then, okay, this is how many students we've got. It's going to be better to do all one tree or guys and girls, or let's do small groups. We've prepared for whatever it is in the moment. And then you have them at one point maybe right after the welcome or whatever put

Nick Clason (35:03):
Their, yeah, you can adjust. I was telling, I have a resident, he's a year long resident. I was telling him a story. I used to be a youth pastor and I didn't know if I would have 15 kids show up or four. And so I was always having to think on two tracks of any game I planned. How will this game go if there's 15 kids in the room, how will this game go if there's four kids in the room? And so that really helped me early on, come up with good contingency plans and the ability to adapt and pivot on the fly. You know what I'm saying? And so that's great. You can prep for all sorts of things, but then in the moment you can feel it out and you've done this before, so what's going to work best? So be prepared, but also be flexible at the same time.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (35:50):
So that's great. There's one other thing I want to add to this game that changed the game for me because you have them like, well, should I steal or should I, hold on. There's that. That's the piece I think that takes the longest the

Nick Clason (36:08):

Erik "w/a k" Williams (36:09):
Yeah. I was at Kohl's and I think it was the day of our event and it changed how I did the what? Elephant gift exchange. Nice. I found this dye that had different things on it and we'll put a link in the show notes, but it was like keep trade or steal and trade. I'm forgetting one word, but I think trade was with something that's under the tree. So they get a gift and then they roll the dye or they roll the dye first, whatever, but everybody rolled the dye, so you might have something, but the one I had, I can't find anywhere else. So the link that I have is just the keep trader steal one had was passed to the person three down from you or something like that. So added another element, but that kept things going. Everybody got a chance to roll and it was like you didn't have control over and make sure the rules are listed out ahead of time. If your rule is something's stolen two times and it's frozen, and the last person who goes gets to steal, even if it's frozen, make those rules ahead of time because somebody's going to get angry if they think you're making up the rules as you go.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (37:30):

Nick Clason (37:30):
The last thing you want in an event like this is for a kid to leave angry. You want it to be fun, especially, you probably want to have an outreach flare to it. You don't want that kid to leave mad. So help yourself out, have those rules up posted. So all right, now we're moving into a message. So talk about your philosophy of having a message in an outreach event. I know some people be like, no, no message. Just fun. What are you thinking with something like this?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (37:59):
I used to have the thought process of let's just have them have a fun experience at church and then they'll come back because they had that fun experience.

Nick Clason (38:09):
I was like, they'll be so captivated by the fun. They got to come back

Erik "w/a k" Williams (38:13):
Because a lot of people like their mentality about church if they don't go to church is like, it's not good. It's not fun, it's boring. Why would I want to be there? And then they show up and they have a good time. They're like, oh, that's the hook. But I've had since, and this is just my personal philosophy, since I've seen lots of students who didn't come back and I'm like, I had the chance to tell them about Jesus and I didn't. And I'm not saying it's wrong to not do it, but for me, my personal philosophy, I've got a handful of students in this place that may not come to church ever again. If I can tell them about Jesus, I

Nick Clason (38:48):
Want to do that, why wouldn't I? Yeah, absolutely. It's great. So message one that you've done before, include it in here, grab it, adapt it, contextualize it, make it yours. You gave it 10 minutes. And then we're also going to include some response cards, and so they're blank response cards. You may even have some yourself. Use those if that works. If not, grab these and then we made enough space on there. You can just drop your logo on them so that it doesn't look like something you downloaded off the internet. Make 'em custom making mirrors. We want you to win in your context. That's the whole goal. So message, anything I'm leaving on the table message or response card wise that you feel like is worth talking about?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (39:33):
I think on the response card, be ready. Have your volunteers ready to hand 'em out to everybody as well as maybe those golf pencils that are cheap, like bulk.

Nick Clason (39:40):
Yeah, that's good.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (39:40):
And have, even if they've been coming forever, have everybody fill one out because one of the things on there says, I said yes to Jesus or made a decision for Christ tonight for the first time. I've already made this decision. Nobody feels uncomfortable filling out that paper, filling it out, and you're going to capture some who maybe didn't raise their hands or however you do it. I think that's really important.

Nick Clason (40:05):
Yeah, I like having just something on there even too. It's like, thanks for this event so everyone can fill something out and not be like, yeah, I wasn't ready to fill anything out. Then of course, I've had the kid, the church kid, their dad's on staff and they're like, I got nothing out of this event. Thanks, man.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (40:26):
Did you have fun?

Nick Clason (40:28):
All right, so then now we're going to pivot. We're almost done. So we got one more game. This is another game, including one of my bestsellers. It's called Emoji Phraseology Christmas edition. It's Christmas movies, Christmas songs, Christmas phrases spelled out from emojis. All the emojis come in at you animated. So it's fun, it's upbeat. It's one of my favorites. You can play it however you want. You can do contestants, you can do keep track of your answers at your table. You can just do it for fun. There's really no wrong way to do it. It's just have fun with it. And I also included, if you run out of time, one of my favorite ways to use it is on social media. So I included the social media version as well. So whether you want to include this in your run sheet or not is one of my favorite ways to hybridize and keep your ministry going on beyond just your program moments. So you can include the vertical graphics on your social media as well, but it's just a fun, the whole point of it is to laugh and to be goofy with emojis.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (41:31):
And I'm just telling you, Nick, it's so well done. For those of you watching right now, this should easily be a $25 game because it's got vertical video. It's got vertical. I'm doing this for vertical, vertical, vertical, vertical videos, vertical stills, landscape videos and stills and so many different ways you can do, I think there's a countdown video included with it, right?

Nick Clason (41:55):
Yeah. If you want to just put it on, you don't want to play it, but you just want something fun for people to pay attention to as they go. The

Erik "w/a k" Williams (42:03):
Graphics are amazing. Animation's amazing. It's so good, so, so good this morning myself, and it was like, oh, this is good.

Nick Clason (42:12):
Another next level thing I've done with it is I've given a phone with just the folder of the stills to a student, and then I walk around and I film him as he asks people to guess the emojis. And so then I, I'm watching, it's almost, it's like taskmaster, like Mr. B style. You can take that and make it like TikTok and you can edit. I've used my actual source files with the animations, but I've also gotten lazy and just taken the video and then just use the TikTok editor and put the emojis on the screen so that the people watching it see the emojis that the person's trying to guess. So that's another next level way. I got literally every season you could imagine of this game over at DYM. So I'll drop a few links to those in the show notes, but use this one for the Christmas party. It's one of my faves. And now we're at the finish line. We're ready to wrap it up. So you have wrap up giveaway. Let's talk just a minute. What's your thought process in that? What are you trying to do with the last five minutes

Erik "w/a k" Williams (43:12):
Here? Yeah, so coming out of the message, I think it was important to do something fun. Again. Sometimes you feel like, oh, it's over now, but it's not over. So that's intentional. The message being short is intentional. Doing that game and then just a final, like we were talking about, when you're welcomed into a home, people walk you out. It's the same kind of feel like, hey, it's the end of the night. That's where you want to hit your announcements again. And then you hand out cards as they walk out, if you've got an event or camp or whatever coming up that you can give to them. Maybe it's your calendar. Maybe you've created a calendar for the January through March or whatever. Give something in their hands. Maybe it's the first time guests get the bag as they walk out, but this is the wrap up announce. Thank them for coming. Make them know that you are really glad that they were there. And then maybe you've got a big giveaway. This is a great time to do that. Big giveaway. It's kind of the buildup of the night, even though the central part is kind the white elephant, white elephant

Nick Clason (44:17):
Gift exchange.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (44:19):
But if you get a big prize you want to give away, you can also use that in your promotion. The end of the night. This is the last we're going to do. We're going to give

Nick Clason (44:26):
Away air pods or an Xbox. I mean, even if it's something cheaper, like a $25 Chick-fil-A gift card

Erik "w/a k" Williams (44:33):
Can never go wrong with Chick-fil-A and for those of you who live away from that, I'm sorry.

Nick Clason (44:38):
That's rough. Yeah, another hack gift card. Amazon people love Amazon gift card. It's basically like money. You can get everything on Amazon. So we wrapped

Erik "w/a k" Williams (44:47):
It up. Then I do a prayer and thank it from coming. And then I have kind of the welcome team greeters standing at the door, high fiving as they go out and handing out cards.

Nick Clason (44:58):
That's great. That's great. You can always throw a twist in here too. If you wanted to do a ugly Christmas sweater version of this, give away a prize for the ugliest Christmas sweater, all kinds of twists. You could also make it dress up. I had a church I worked at that they told me, they're like, this is a hill. We will fight, bleed, and die on, but we will do a dress up event for Christmas. And so it was a gala, bro. I wore a tie and I hated it, but it was always our number one most highly attended event for the year. So I was like, I can't argue this, man. If this is what you guys are going to bring your friends to, great. Well, we will do a gala. So

Erik "w/a k" Williams (45:36):
Can another hack two would be plan four or five extra games.

Nick Clason (45:43):
Yeah, have 'em in your back pocket.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (45:45):
Yeah, you never know. And be ready to cut stuff too. We made this for a 90 minute event. Maybe you have a two hour event, maybe your white elephant gift exchange was done in 10 minutes and you're like, oh, man, we got lots. Always have extra games. And let your leaders who are leading those games know that they may or may not play the game and not to feel like,

Nick Clason (46:11):
Yeah, that's good.

Nick Clason (46:13):
And I would just say our program, we allot 90 minutes, but we would probably shave some of this so it's not all in the auditorium the whole time. We have a game room and stuff like that. Kids like to go play nine square and eat at the cafe and those types of things. And so we may program it for closer to 60 and then give ourselves 30 minutes, a few minutes on the front side and then the rest of that on the backside. So these are a bunch of ideas. You can certainly plug and play and just about every asset that you'll need is available in the download. If not, take it, tweak it, adapt it, spread it out over all of December, whatever you choose to do. But our goal is that Christmas is a busy time for churches and youth pastors. So we want to help out, give you something in this kind of fun mashup, collab episodes. So any parting final words, Eric, as we go?

Erik "w/a k" Williams (47:05):
Yeah, I would say for if you're watching on my channel, if you have not subscribed to Nick, Nick, Nick, like I said earlier in the beginning, this hybrid ministry concept of what are we doing here and online, moving back and forth with those things is so good, much younger than me. So smart with technology in ways that I'm still, I've been trying to learn most of my life, but I'm trying to catch up to his stuff is so good. So Nick, I just appreciate what you're doing. So we'll have the link on there, click subscribe, and you're not going to be disappointed with the stuff that he's putting out.

Nick Clason (47:44):
And listen, same back to you. And listen, also, apologies, I think I just subscribed to you for the first time this morning. So I was like, why can I find him in my subscriptions tab? So apologies, that's on me. But yeah, Eric's stuff, I see all your stuff. I just apparently wasn't subscribed to it. So now I am. You should be too Great practical stuff. And this probably isn't the end of partnerships together, so we're just getting this ball rolling.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (48:12):
If you've got a game that you're like, this is a killer game for us that we do every year, it just hits, would you put that in the comments below? I always want to learn more stuff. I I'm about steal, steal, steal, steal, grab whatever I can to add to what I'm doing. We'd love that.

Nick Clason (48:31):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So man, Eric, appreciate your time. Everyone else, as you're downloading this blessings on you. Hope you have an amazing Christmas party with it and we we'll talk next time.

Erik "w/a k" Williams (48:43):
See ya!