The Win in Black Light Dodgeball!
Gateway Students’ recently hosted a dodgeball tournament, but not just any dodgeball tournament, a black light dodgeball tournament. That’s right, we shut off the lights and used dodgeballs, court lines, shirts, and anything else we could find that glows under a black light and created a whole black light dodgeball event! We even had the Doza Rizen food truck and Pelican’s Sno Balls here. It was awesome!
Why black light dodgeball though, what was the point? Honestly, there is nothing special or remotely spiritual about dodgeball. Except when that ball is flying towards you it may improve your prayer life! The point was really about creating an event at our church that was easy for our students to invite their friends to. For many of our students their friends have little interest in church and some of them are even resistant. So, it was important to us to create an event at our church where we focused on fun and conversations.
Now, with this student outreach event we relied solely on students to do the outreach. And our students did awesome! A majority of the teams only had 1-2 Gateway students on their team and the rest were either not from our church or unchurched. We had over 100 students and 20 volunteers serve the night of the tournament, and a majority of those students were guests!
The win was that students invited their friends to church and their friends had a positive experience! The reason why that is such a win is because now when our students invite their friends to another one of our events, or one of our large group times, their friend will associate Gateway with a positive memory. We know this because we received positive feedback. We had two guys ask us to let them know the next time we were getting together to do anything. We had one girl tell us that she had previously attended a church, but she had never had fun at church before. Another girl text our student who invited her and thanked her for inviting her to dodgeball. Just hearing one of these stories would be awesome, but the fact that there was so much positive feedback is a win.
This event would not have been possible without a staff that supports our student ministry. The student ministry staff that worked so hard on videos, planning, and details. Our volunteers who gave up time to have conversations with students, helped run the event, AND helped clean up!