Home > Church Growth, The Family, Worship > Churches seek younger people for New Year’s Eve events

Churches seek younger people for New Year’s Eve events

31 December 2009

From The Columbus Dispatch, where there is more:

The “Watch Night” tradition is believed to date from the late 1860s and commemorates Dec. 31, 1862, when slaves across the nation came together in churches to wait for daybreak and the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law.

Nowadays, traditional Watch Night services typically start between 7 and 10 p.m. and end by midnight. Worship is similar to Sunday services and might end with prayer and communion.

But Mount Olivet and a number of other local churches plan revamped services as a way to keep the interest of their younger members.

The Young Adult Jam will immediately follow the Watch Night service and include food and both Christian and secular R&B music. The get-together is a first for Mount Olivet, which is on the East Side, and Johnson expects that it will last until 2 or 3 a.m.

It’s often hard for young Christians to find things to do and come together and have a good time, he said.

Like Lemon, Pastor Paul Gabriel of Columbus Baptist Temple recalls being bored when he was younger and had to spend New Year’s Eve with his grandparents while his parents went out.

Now, his congregation comes together to ring in the New Year, not with a church service, but with a movie and game night.

“It avoids splitting up the family on New Year’s Eve,” Gabriel said. “Instead, we give them something to do together as a whole and spend quality time.”

The Northeast Side church will show the film The Ultimate Gift, which is about the inheritance a grandfather leaves his selfish grandson, at 8 p.m., so older members of the congregation can get home before midnight.

At midnight, the congregation will ring in 2010, watching on two 10-foot screens in the church’s auditorium as the ball drops in New York City’s Times Square.

Attendance at Columbus Baptist’s New Year’s Eve celebration has grown over the years, and Gabriel expects 150 to 175 tonight.

The Watch Night service at Family Missionary Baptist Church on the Southeast Side will have a strong emphasis on its younger members, opening with a discussion of issues – such as gun violence and teen pregnancy – that many young people know all too well, said Pastor Frederick LaMarr.

“You often hear young folks say, ‘I don’t want to go to church,’ so you have to have something for them,” he said.

The service at Family Missionary will include performances by the church’s youth drill team and drum line, as well as a poetry slam.

“The young people are the next generation coming,” LaMarr said. “It’s up to us to grow them and make sure they’re prepared.

The “Watch Night” tradition is believed to date from the late 1860s and commemorates Dec. 31, 1862, when slaves across the nation came together in churches to wait for daybreak and the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law.

Nowadays, traditional Watch Night services typically start between 7 and 10 p.m. and end by midnight. Worship is similar to Sunday services and might end with prayer and communion.

But Mount Olivet and a number of other local churches plan revamped services as a way to keep the interest of their younger members.

The Young Adult Jam will immediately follow the Watch Night service and include food and both Christian and secular R&B music. The get-together is a first for Mount Olivet, which is on the East Side, and Johnson expects that it will last until 2 or 3 a.m.

It’s often hard for young Christians to find things to do and come together and have a good time, he said.

Like Lemon, Pastor Paul Gabriel of Columbus Baptist Temple recalls being bored when he was younger and had to spend New Year’s Eve with his grandparents while his parents went out.

Now, his congregation comes together to ring in the New Year, not with a church service, but with a movie and game night.

“It avoids splitting up the family on New Year’s Eve,” Gabriel said. “Instead, we give them something to do together as a whole and spend quality time.”

The Northeast Side church will show the film The Ultimate Gift, which is about the inheritance a grandfather leaves his selfish grandson, at 8 p.m., so older members of the congregation can get home before midnight.

At midnight, the congregation will ring in 2010, watching on two 10-foot screens in the church’s auditorium as the ball drops in New York City’s Times Square.

Attendance at Columbus Baptist’s New Year’s Eve celebration has grown over the years, and Gabriel expects 150 to 175 tonight.

The Watch Night service at Family Missionary Baptist Church on the Southeast Side will have a strong emphasis on its younger members, opening with a discussion of issues – such as gun violence and teen pregnancy – that many young people know all too well, said Pastor Frederick LaMarr.

“You often hear young folks say, ‘I don’t want to go to church,’ so you have to have something for them,” he said.

The service at Family Missionary will include performances by the church’s youth drill team and drum line, as well as a poetry slam.

“The young people are the next generation coming,” LaMarr said. “It’s up to us to grow them and make sure they’re prepared.

Not a bad idea.  What is your parish doing for families on New Years Eve? 

Also, do any of you have special evenings set aside for families?  In the non-Episcopal parish I attended as a teenager, Wednesday night was set aside for families.  A hearty meal was served and afterwards the parents and their kids broke out into their respective bible study groups.  I realize that this type of thing might not be feasible for one parish to do on its own, but what about two or three working in tandem?

Also – what about doing this type of thing in tandem with non-Episcopal parishes that can be trusted?

(Just a thought…) 

(Okay, it was more than one..)   😉

– Elder

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