How To Host A 5th Quarter
Where Can Teens Go After The Big Game?
I have been doing 5th Quarter events since I started in youth ministry. If you are new to youth ministry or if you are wondering what a 5th quarter event is, let me explain. A 5th Quarter is a practical outreach to teenagers that any church can do.The event can keep kids, of all walks of life and faith, off the streets on Friday night, any maybe keep them out of trouble or an accident. It is a great way for your church to show God's love to the teenagers of your community.
I have done all kinds of things to attract students to the after the game event, some of them were successes and others, not so much. I hope that mapping out my process will help younger youth pastors pull off a successful event and maybe offer veteran youth pastors a few new ideas for future events. In the end, those who create these events, stay up way past the game, and our bedtime, to the early morning to love on kids who do not know Christ and maybe have nowhere else to go but into trouble. For those us who want to reach teenagers after the game, our battle cry is simply: Game On!
Five Post Game Event Names - What's In A Name? It Depends If You Want Kids To Come or Not.
Choosing a name that rolls off the tongue and spreads like wild fire only helps your event. Sure, you could call it "The After The Game Event", but who wants to come to that? Try a few of these or add your own.
- The End Zone
- The Blitz
- The Locker Room
- The Red Zone
Great Books For Youth Ministry Outreach - You'll Never Get Tackled For Lack of Ideas
Come With Me ... - On My Pre-5th Quarter Walk Through
Eight Elements You Need To Launch A Successful Fifth Quarter
Location, Budget, Staffing, A Draw, Speaker, Welcome Station, Follow Up
#1 Start With Why
This is a big question. It won't matter what you do or how you do it unless you why you are doing it. Why is this question so important? The "Why" applies to all the elements in this list. See below.
Why Ask Why? - No Kidding, This Is An Important Question
- If you answer the "why" question, it makes it easier and more compelling to share it with your church board who controls your budget.
- Solving "why" helps you sell the event to potential people you want involved as leaders.
- Answering "why" tells you who your target audience is and will help you plan your food, prizes, and even location. Think it though. Who are you trying to reach and why? Resolve that, and the planning takes care of itself.
Decide where your 5th Quarter will be. Many churches have it in their church gym but that does not have to be the only place you can host it. Consider hosting it at a YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, or Rec Center. Kids will come to your church, but the set up is intensive. A neutral spot may draw more kids because it is a neutral spot.
Rivals: A Three Week Sports Themed Outreach - Use This Outreach To Build Up To Your 5th Quarter or As Something To Invite Students To In Weeks To Come
Setting a budget for a 5th Quarter is not as difficult as it sounds. Once you decide on why you are doing it and the location you can begin to dress it up. Here is a simple breakdown of one of my events:
1 Inflatable Bouncing Boxing ($250)
20 Pizzas from Little Caesars (one slice per student) ($5/pie plus tax = $110)
Prizes (5 itunes cards $10/each)
I try to keep the event cost between $500 and $700.
I am usually the guest speaker if I am hosting the event alone. If I did the event with a network of youth groups we took turns speaking for the season. We had a comedian come one year and at the time he was pretty well known in Christian circles. He was kind of like a Christian Carrot Top, back when he was funny. Anyway, things turned ugly when the comedian went to long the kids started heckling him. My expectations for speakers? Share the gospel, keep it simple and keep it short.
#5 Have A Draw
What's the draw? Inflatables? Famous Athlete Speaker? Prizes? Good prizes draw kids. It's that simple. The chance to win a decent prize for just showing up and hanging out is a pretty good deal. Before you give away the prizes, shut everything down and gather everyone in. I do this because it is easier to segue into any announcements or contests. Afterwards introduce our speaker.
Ten Great Give Away Ideas
First generation tech gifts, like IPads, are the high end of give aways, but if you want to catch their attention, sometimes you need a "wow" factor.
- Food Gift Cards
- Itune Cards
- Junk from a thrifts store- No lie, give away an old lamp or even a couch. These are not the grand prizes, but they are fun to give away.
- Hi Tech Gifts like IPads and cell phones- They are pricey but kids will come to win it.
- Online Gifts- XBox Credits, like a Gold Card subscription or credits for gamers to buy things, are the new currency.
- Cool gift certificates to the mall or Zappos
- A Car- yes , a car. Buy a used one for $500 and give it away. In this economy, you will be loved!
- Gift Certificate to Game Stop or Game Fly
- Nerf Stuff for middle school. Cool and relevant toys are still hip and fun.
- Walmart or Mall Gift Cards. This is a safe choice because kids can buy what they want.
# 6 Welcome Station
The most important items on this table are the registration cards. The cards act as your way to give away prizes, they register to win. The key items to include on the card are: name, cell #, school, and a place where kids can check if they want to find out about more of your youth events. Registration is key to following up after these events, if you desire to. A welcome station is your first best chance to greet students and make a good impression. Make it bold, colorful, and attractive.
# 7 Food and Decorations
There are all kinds of ways to feed your guests. The easiest food is pizza. Our local Little Cesar's Pizza offers me a two for one deal , so I get two pizzas for $7. On average I order 20 pizzas and I ask people in church and youth to bring chips and sodas. I have also had a man on our team cook hot dogs. Sam's sells 50 hot dogs for about $20.00. Don't be afraid to ask for donations or deals from fast food places. If they know it is for the school they are usually very helpful.
# 8 Follow Up
Follow Up starts before the event ever happens. If you want to keep a connection to these kids and later attract them your youth program, plan that next event now. When that event is planned, make up flyers and hand them out as students leave the event. Don't promote your event, until you have pulled off a great event. The quality o the event you provide, will lead students to believe you provide quality youth programs every week.