UPDATE: This post references an email sent out with 3 pre-service station ideas. You can see the email here.

Tuesday Trends is a weekly post that covers, in brief, emerging movements, innovations, or strategies that you can integrate, tweak, or ponder as you organize your program.


I’ve recently had conversations with a youth pastor of a multi-site church over programming. This particular leader works for a church whose campuses have mid-range to large sized attendance. The central team for the church writes and distributes all of the content to their leaders in the field so that they can experience meticulously cultivated content and programming.

Recently, they have begun to setup stations prior to service where students can participate in small games, exercises and conversations. These pre-service stations are manned by volunteers who help students engage. They leverage the relational energy of having fun and connecting with students as they participate.

On an average night they may have 4 to 5 stations. They’re pretty low key and labor intensive. One station may be something as simple as a cup on a table where kids are challenged to throw a ball into the cup from 10 yards out. Another station may offer students pens and paper to submit any questions they’ve ever wondered about and want someone to answer.

With this pre-service programming the student ministry moves students into the main gathering and eliminates their games from the experience. On the front end of the program they recognize kids who were recorded with the highest game scores from the stations and hand out prizes quickly before moving to announcements, worship, and the teaching. With the questions that have been submitted they pick one question to answer from the group the following week in that same station.

This idea has wings and helps ease the large group experience pressure that the leaders feel in creating a purposed moment. The stations may have large group games and volunteer games like the ones on the Stash so the resources are still deployed but the groups are smaller in participation.

This is worth noting especially if you have a very large group.

In fact, in our weekly newsletter I’ll be serving up pre-service ideas just like this that you can begin to use.

Subscribe here.



  1. chadswanzy October 17, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    i like that. nice.

  2. jerry white October 17, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    We’ve done this with paper airplane stations. They pick their paper at one (different shapes/colors), make it at another, decorate it at another and then in big service we have them throw them at a trash can on stage all at the same time. Whoever’s makes it in wins.
    This has sparked some great conversation with our team. Great ideas!

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