BLACK LIGHT NITE

Wacky Wednesday


by Aaron Strawn/ August 17, 2016

I want so desperately to take all the credit for this idea…but my conscience…maybe if we look at it from a different angle…nah…ok…

*MOVIE TRAILER GUY VOICE*

The post you are about to read was not entirely an original idea. Reading this post does, however, include you in the foreseen lawsuit, and you are absolutely responsible for all monies and damages to come.

All right, now that that’s out of the way, here’s my favorite kidmin annual event! Several years ago we were trying to come up with a way to launch into the fall. We wanted to do something fun on a Wednesday night. I remember when I was in Junior High, my youth pastor put black tarp all over the gym walls and windows, and hung black lights everywhere. He then gave us all highlighters and said, “go crazy.” We did. It was a blast. So I thought, how can we do this with kids because you can't say “go crazy” to kids or…well, if you're reading this, you know why. 

Here was the plan. The room had fluorescent light tubes in the light fixtures. So I went to Lowe’s and bought around 45 black light tubes. (BTW, they are expensive, but they lasted me 5 years. So the first year you do it, budget a couple hundred bucks for lights). Then we replaced all the lights with the black light tubes. This took a couple of trips back to Lowe’s cause I originally didn't buy enough lights. You want the room to GLOW when they are all on.

Then we bought a bunch of glow-in-the-dark stuff, like stars, globes, cubes, pool noodles—all sorts of things to decorate the room. We hung stuff on the ceiling, threw the stars on the floor, and oh, pipe cleaners work great too! We also went to the local newspaper office and asked to have some of their unused paper rolls. We took these and taped them all over the walls.

We promoted this night for weeks as Wacky Wednesday. We told all the kids to wear a white t-shirt and pants or shorts that they didn't mind ruining. On the night of, we shortened the night to an hour for 2 reasons: 1) It’s kind of a crazy night, and around the 60-minute mark you’re getting close to accidents starting to happen; 2) The kids are going to need about 30 minutes to scrub. Why you ask? Because we give them all highlighters. They write on the paper walls, on themselves, on each other, and it’s a total blast.

I can literally see you right now shaking your head, thinking, this is crazy, I would never do this. But wait, I have rules of course!

  1. Ask someone first before you write on them.
  2. Don’t draw on the floor, open walls, or furniture.
  3. Don’t shake the highlighters. (We learned that in year 2)

 

See? We thought of everything. The music is blasting, kids are having so much fun, the leaders are smiling, it’s the best. Kids invited their friends, and each year the numbers always went up. At the end of the night, we brought them all together and promoted the Wednesday night ministry. We always saw a spike in attendance the following Wednesday, and it became the highlight (wink) of the summer.

For me, I like doing events on ministry nights that let everyone have fun but give a little taste of what it’s like to attend church. If you have any questions about the night, feel free to tweet me via my lawyer…jk…

Aaron Strawn

@aastrwn